Sneaky workout tips

Melissa Ironside
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Sure, you'd like to lose a few kilos and tone up those wobbly bits, but between work, family, study, friends and housework, who has time right? Well, there is a way you can get healthy and fit without having to spend hours at the gym.

It's all about being smart about the way you workout and fitting in a few sneaky exercises when you can. It's also about eating healthily but practically, so you're not chasing down a soy, lemon and honey tea with linseed toast at 7am when you're dropping the kids off at school. Here's how...

Sneaky workout tips

When you fail to plan you plan to fail. Trying to haphazardly fit your workouts in around your life will lead to fitness coming in last place to everything else. You need to re-organise your routine. Three 20-minute sessions a week is the ideal workout schedule so find time to do it when you can, by:

  • Utilising the weekend: instead of giving your time away to everyone else, save 40 minutes for yourself and go for a swim or do a yoga class.
  • Making household chores count: if you have to do them anyway you may as well make the most of them. Mopping the floor, scrubbing the bathtub, or washing the car at a pace fast enough to get your heart pumping counts as exercise. Raking and hoeing also strengthens your arms and back, and digging in the garden works your arms and legs.
  • Enrolling others in your goal: instead of meeting a friend for a coffee, go for a walk or a swim. Not only will you kill two birds with one stone, but working out with your friends will make sure you actually do it!
  • Being active while running errands: when you go to the shopping centre, park towards the back of the lot and walk the extra distance. Also, take the stairs, and walk to your local shops.
  • Not beating yourself up: it's a universal fact that no matter how hard you try there will be times when you're just not able to go for that jog or do those weights because of other demands and that's fine. Don't berate yourself every time you miss a session because you'll just make yourself feel bad. Remember that it's what you do consistently over a long period of time, not what you do in spurts, that truly counts. Just make sure that you get back into it with 110 percent effort as soon as you can.

Smart workout tips

Working out is all very well and good but if you're not doing it properly, you could just be wasting your precious time. So, how can you make sure you use your time to your advantage and make every step and lift count? By taking note of these clever tricks:

  • Don't be a workout-aholic: many beginners train feverishly under the assumption that more is better, but you're much better off easing into the process. At first, your muscles aren't ready to do a lot more than they were doing before so to ensure your exercises have the desired effect start off slow and increase the amount every week.
  • Stretch: you're not going to be doing yourself any favours if you sprain an ankle and have to take two weeks off exercising, or if you're in so much pain that you can't walk the kids to school. Make sure to warm up and warm down properly for 10 minutes every time you exercise.
  • Include variety: the quickest way to get bored and stop training is to do the same thing over and over again. Your body also adapts to exercises very quickly so to make sure you're getting the full benefit of your effort, mix things up. Try workout DVDs, do different classes at the gym, and train with a variety of people.
  • Learn the proper techniques: there's no point slaving away on the rowing machine if you're not doing the exercises properly, it will only result in injury and a less efficient workout. Generally speaking you should feel tension when you're lifting weights but not strain or pain, and you should still be able to talk when you're doing cardio — not have a whole conversation, but certainly be able to respond to someone. The best thing to do is get a personal trainer to show you how to do the exercises, or check out a book or DVD. You could also try going with a friend who knows what they're doing for the first few times.

Change everyone's diet

The easiest way to eat healthy is to get everyone in your household onboard. Preparing yourself some chicken and salad while everyone else is eating sausages and mash will not only take more time, but it will make the temptation to eat junk food much worse.

The next time you hit the supermarket buy healthy for everyone so your fridge and pantry are stacked with good food. Take a few cooking classes, buy some healthy cookbooks and restrict take-outs to once a fortnight only. You'll be amazed at the difference healthy eating makes and everyone will thank you!

Getting fit, toned and healthy is not as hard or as scary as it seems if you just incorporate a few changes into your everyday life and make smart choices. Don't ever forget that every little bit of extra effort counts, so start today and get set to reap the benefits!

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