Saturday, August 1, 2015

10 Ways to Hack Your Fitness! (Maximize Your Exercise VALUE part 2)

          We used to call ‘em fitness tips but now the latest trend is to call them fitness hacks, and I desire to be a trend follower.  I suppose there is something more to a hack:  If something is going to be a labeled a hack then it had better be some sort of game-changing, time-saving short cut.  So significant in fact that it should almost feel like you’re cheating.  Well, I can’t promise you anything quite that mind-blowing here, but I have compiled a pretty worthy list of my favorite fitness hacks, which will definitely save you time and get you results.  While those who know me, know I am an advocate of making fitness part of a holistic lifestyle, and that I am not into trendy, fad diets or one-size-fits all approaches, there is nothing wrong with optimizing or streamlining your training in order to maximize exercise value.  Training smarter and not just harder, should always be a welcome strategy.  Of course there really are no shortcuts or miracles, but there are some hacks.  Some of them so simple they should be common sense, while others hopefully are new ideas to you.  In no particular order:

1.  Train using full-body, functional movements.  Skip the isolation exercises unless you’re rehabbing an injury or bringing up a weak body part.  Isolation exercises should be left to Bodybuilders, Physique athletes, and Fitness models, who are paid to look perfect and symmetrical.  While you no doubt want to look good, your primary goals should be mobility, health, longevity and perhaps athletic performance.  Full-body, functional exercises that synergistically involve multiple muscle groups accomplish all these goals in the shortest amount of time.  Exercises like burpees, pull-ups, push-ups, squats, lunges, planks and box-jumps.  It’s amazing what a nice physique these movements will produce inherently.

      2.  Train at high intensity most of the time.  High intensity training, maximizes your exercise value, giving you the most bang for your buck, in the least amount of time.  It also triggers a lot of post-exercise, metabolism-boosting, pro-hormone affects, lasting hours afterwards.  You can increase your intensity level by: reducing your rest duration between sets, using circuit-training principles where you alternate antagonistic muscle groups, increase load, increase reps, or any combination of the aforementioned.  If you desire to reach failure levels, then you must follow with a brief resting interval, usually performed using a 1:3 working-to-resting interval ratio, also known as high intensity interval training, (HIIT).