Friday, 15 June 2012

Maximise your time in the gym

I see so many people wasting expensive gym membership and going nowhere.  With a few simple changes to the exercises you do and the way you do them, you can make better use of your time in the gym.

Although these machines and exercises do have their place, the are so often misused or abused that they should just be avoided and replaced with things that use your time better.

1     The cross trainer.
       For the simple reason that people generally don't work hard enough.  Having a little chat with your friend means you are not nearly out of breath.  The by-product of the aerobic energy system is water (sweat) heat and carbon dioxide (breathlessness).  Sweat is the best cardio!  Also people seem to think that cardio is the best way to lose weight.  You will get better results by mixing in a lot more resistance work - lift weights!

Do this instead:
The rower.  You get a full body workout from this machine.  make sure you do it with good form and that you make enough effort.  You should be out of breath, hot and sweating after 3 minutes, if you aren't, you are just not working hard enough to make any difference.

2     Any machine apart from the pulley machine.
       For the simple reason that you could do the same exercise and get way more benefit with free-weights.  When you use free weights (dumb bells, barbells, kettle bells and medicine balls) you have to use other muscles, including your abs, to assist the muscles you are exercising.  When you use machines, you isolate those muscles and get less benefit.

Do this instead:
Use free weights - bar bell squats and dumb bell lunges for your legs.  Dumb bell or bar bell chest press and standing dumb bell or bar bell bicep curls.  Dumb bell kickbacks.  Press ups.  Dumb bell flys.  Planks.  Dumb bell Dragan presses and shoulder presses.

3     The treadmill
       You really need to do more than an hour's cardio to see much benefit and if you want to go for a run, go outside and get a vitamin D hit too.  I see lots of people holding onto the bar at the front of the treadmill as well, especially when walking or running on an incline.  This doesn't mirror real life and is therefore no longer a functional exercise.

Do this instead:
Go for a long run outside.  Use the treadmill for interval training and make sure you don't hold onto the bar at the front.

4     Pointless weights
       You may have heard that you should do low weights, high reps for weight loss and muscle endurance.  Personally, it's a waste of time on two levels.  One: it takes a lot of time.  Two: you get quicker and better results from low reps high weights.  Men and women.  

Do this instead:
Uplevel your weights!  Push yourself and make sure you are lifting heavy enough.  If you aren't doing more than your muscles are normally used to doing you will see no progression.  If you are looking to increase muscle or tone up, choose a weight you can lift no more than 8 times before muscle failure and do this for three sets with a 30 second rest between sets.  Or, if you are really looking to lose fat, try Tabata style training and do 6 sets of 20 second work, 10 second rest, with lighter weights.

Bear in mind that NONE of this will make any difference if you haven't addressed your nutrition!

Gym membership is expensive, don't waste your time and money on exercises that make little difference - change up and see the benefit within weeks!

Krish x


1 comment:

  1. Great post. Im content that i do all the stuff you've recommended already so that makes me happy!