It’s only natural to experience plateaus along your fitness journey, so today I’m sharing 5 ways to advance your workouts. When we work out consistently, we build strength and endurance as our bodies become accustomed to our training. Sometimes, that means workouts stop feeling challenging and progress may come to a halt. If you’re experiencing this, then you need to try these 5 ways to advance your workouts, or as Ciara says, level up. ????
These fitness tips are brought to you in partnership with Walmart.com, where you can find tools to incorporate each of the tips I’m about to share with you. I’m really excited to share these tips because I believe that fitness should be accessible no matter where you live. While in New York, we are blessed with endless fitness studios and a variety of workout classes, that’s not the case in every city.
As I mentioned, our bodies become accustomed to the way we train over time. Think about the first time you did a new workout or movement (for example, yoga, or a push up). Over time, it naturally becomes easier as our bodies become accustomed to it and it “excites” the body less. A great way to keep your body guessing is to switch things up completely.
That could mean trying a completely new workout style or re-programming, and it could even be a fun recreational activity! For example, ice skating, rock climbing and acroyoga are great ways to stay active that challenge your body in completely new ways. I remember the first time I tried reformer pilates, my body felt pain in places I didn’t even know existed.
Another way to switch things up is to take advantage of props. Props can help you get deeper into specific movements and postures, with yoga being a great example. Using a yoga wheel allows you to practice backbending more deeply, with support while using a block can help you activate different muscles while in a triangle pose. Straps are another great way to give yourself extra stretch and depth in specific postures that you’re working towards.
In general, I recommend cross training for most individuals because very few sports are 100% balanced. For instance, running alone is great cardio, but lacks in its ability to increase your strength in lifting, or flexibility. In other words, keep an open mind and try something new!
This one seems like an obvious way to advance your workouts if you’re already weight training, but hear me out. Have you ever tried adding weight to your yoga practice, or pilates practice? How about adding resistance bands to your heavy leg days and compound lifts? It doesn’t even need to be much–believe me when I say that 3 pounds can make a world of difference. Oh, and so can upping your sets and reps.
In addition to adding “weight” to your workouts, resistance bands (tied around your legs) can help keep your alignment in check. You can also use them as a replacement for weights when traveling, and go high rep, as the weight is much lower.
And coming back to yoga with weights, imagine how much harder a handstand or standing split is with 3 pound ankle weights around each leg. Or how about a hot yoga flow with 8 pound dumbells? Brutal.
There is a limit to how much we can physically do, and how often we can work out. Sometimes if I’m increasing the intensity of my workouts, I find that I actually do more damage than good because I’ll need a lot more time to recover. I might have a heavy leg day, and then have to take a day or two completely off of movement because my legs feel like lead.
Through experiencing that, I found a love for recovery and speeding it up, too. While recovery doesn’t seem important when thinking about how to advance your workouts, it most definitely is. So how do you go from heavy leg day to yoga the next day, without experiencing excruciating pain while trying to downwards dog? You help your body recover.
You can take epsom salt baths, foam roll and take ice baths on the other hand and take advantage of technology like the Theragun. I was intimidated by the Theragun until my friend Alex used it on me after I overdid a leg day and needed to teach a yoga class the next. It’s like an instant deep tissue massage, but no masseuse required. Also, it kind of tickles at first, as you can probably tell by my face.
Other ways to recover quickly include adequate or additional sleep (surprise, surprise!), infrared sauna and cryotherapy. Bonus: check out these 5 stretches you can do at your desk. Don’t skip the post-workout stretch, friends!
Before you start your workout, you probably warm up to get your body ready, but do you activate your targeted muscle groups too? If not, you should add it to your routine because if you’re training with specific body parts or muscle groups in mind, it can actually maximize your results.
Activation movements are typically low impact movements and you can use your resistance bands for this purpose too. I personally include activation into my warm-up especially when working my lower body muscles. It’s as easy as crab walks with a band around your thighs, and clam shell movements (with or without band). Also, what’s with all the seafood references? ????
If you attend a workout class, or a yoga class specifically, you may notice that activation is programmed into your warm up. Fitness instructor swill typically keep in mind what the target muscle groups are, and as such, warm up and activate those groups prior.
We just can’t talk about fitness without talking about nutrition. We know that these things go hand in hand, and it goes beyond just nutrition, calories, or macronutrients. As you know, I’m not one to count calories or practice a number-based diet of any kind, but I do think about food as fuel. When you’re training, you should keep in mind what’s in the tank before you workout, and what you put into it afterwards. This is especially true if you’re looking to advance your workouts.
Are you re-fueling with food in an adequate amount of time after working out? Do you have enough fuel to reach the intensity of workout you’re looking for? Are you eating enough protein? But more importantly, because many diets these days vilify carbs, are you eating enough carbohydrates?
Just remember that no matter how hard you’re working, if you’re not mindful of what you’re eating it’s going to be quite hard to advance your workouts. You can also check out this blogpost highlighting some of my favourite health food products along with many vegan and superfood products at affordable prices, also at Walmart.com.
If you try any of these tips out, tag me on Instagram @veggiekins for a chance to be featured! As always, I love when you share your thoughts in the comments below.
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BY Remy • October 2, 2019
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Hi there, I’m Remy! Welcome to Veggiekins Blog, home to nourishing vegan + gluten-free recipes and tips to live your best balanced and holistic life. I’m a human on a mission to empower you to be well and be kind to your mind, body and soul with the healing power of plants.
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