Tired of going to the gym three days a week and doing the same thing over and over? Has your progress slowed or completely stopped all together? It’s sounds about that time to take things to the next level. Here's five tips to get you back on track to hitting a whole new peak of fitness.
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1. Change your diet
One thing that a lot people struggle with is nutrition. Whether you're trying to lose weight, gain weight, get ripped, or otherwise change your body image, more often than not, your diet program needs to be assessed. Popular options for diets include going gluten-free (like Novak Djokovic, tennis champion), the Paleo diet, the bodybuilding diet, and calorie-restriction diets. Respectively, these diets can help improve digestion, nutrient absorbtion, weight loss, and muscle-building, but the effectiveness is unique to each individual. To decide which diet is best for you, a combination of talking to a nutritionist, allergist, and experimentation with the diets is the safest and smartest way to go about getting started.
2. Start a journal
Often times when deciding where to go next with a fitness program, it can be difficult to decide what to do on each day. Chest and biceps, back and legs, total body - there are so many options of “splits,” or how to divide up your training to see the best results. Often times decisions are made haphazardly and without any real plan in mind. One of the best ways to hold yourself accountable is to start a journal. Before setting foot in the gym each day, write down what you want to do, keeping in mind the goal you have set for yourself, whether it be to get bigger, get stronger, lose weight, etc. Write them down in the order you want to do them in and take note of rest time, super-setting or anything else that might affect your workout.
3. Hire a trainer
A trainer can be a fitness enthusiast’s greatest ally. It's another set of eyes to check form, a boost extra motivation to get the last rep, and an educated brain that can keep your journal for you and make sure you reach your goals. Also, when paying someone for a time slot, it helps hold you accountable.
When selecting a trainer, it's important to ask the right questions and to look for the accredited certifications. Generally speaking, a college degree in kinesiology or exercise science is the best credential to look for, but the next best thing is a CSCS (certified strength and conditioning specialist) from the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Association). Make sure the certification - no matter what it is - is current, ask why the trainer became a trainer, and make sure they explain why you're doing a particular exercise. If they don't meet these requirements, keep looking.
4. Sign up for an event
Having a deadline for a fitness goal is a great way to keep up the intensity of training and motivate yourself to get to the gym each day. Another is to get involved with fitness-related events, such as running races, obstacle races, charity sporting events, and bodybuilding/physique shows. A few important things to consider when registering for an event are when the event is happening, what the event will require (fitness-wise), and if it aligns with your goals. It's critical to have ample time allocated for preparation.
5. Take up a new sport
Taking up a new sport can be a great way to increase the intensity of any fitness regimen. Adding a day or two of competitive, skill-based exercise can help shed those last two pounds and reignite motivation. For example, Muay Thai training has been shown to burn up to 1200 calories in a single class! Not only that, but take one look at a Muay Thai fighter’s body and it’s easy to see that taking up a sport can really supplement a strength training regimen in many ways.