I’ve found that spending five or six days a week at the gym, for two or three hours each day, throws me into the category some refer to as “gym rats.” If I am a gym rat, then a gym rat I will remain because over the past three years I have lost over 100 pounds and kept it off, in part, through my gym rituals.
You can’t spend that much time at the gym and not pick up a few tips and tricks to physical fitness and weight loss along the way, and I would like to share a few with you.
Gym Tip #1 – Vary your routine
Above, I referred to my visits to the gym as routine. The trips to the gym are routine, as much a part of my daily routine as brushing my teeth or combing my hair. When I get to the gym, however, I have learned that I benefit much more from a varied routine than a repetitive workout.
The idea is not new, it is referred to as muscle confusion. It simply means that by varying your workout routine and intensity you keep your muscles sort of guessing and working harder. If, for example, you go to the gym every day and hop on the treadmill, perhaps you need to spend a few days on an elliptical or stair climber. Do something that will shock your body, work different muscle groups, and change up the routine for your own interest.
The same is true for weight lifting and other aerobic activities. Variety is the spice of life, but it is also the way to spice up your workout, push your body to perform at peak efficiency, and keep things interesting.
Gym Tip #2 – Energy bars and energy drinks are not the devil.
A lot of people, in and out of the gym, slam the use of energy drinks and energy bars. You certainly shouldn’t live on energy products. They are designed as tools to help maximize your workout, not replace meals or add extra calories to your diet. It is appropriate, if you find an energy bar or energy drink helps fuel your workout, to consume one.
The key is to remember to use energy products in moderation and use them to fuel your workout when you are exerting a significant amount of energy over an extended period of time. If your workout lasts less than an hour, then you probably don’t need an energy product. Energy bars and drinks, in that case, may add more calories than you will burn in your workout, sabotaging your weight loss efforts.
I prefer low calorie, low carb energy drinks to help fuel my workout. They are basically a blast of caffeine to boost my energy level while I am at the gym. Even these must be consumed in moderation. You may find yourself jittery and nervous throughout the day if you consume highly caffeinated drinks, and certainly do not consume more than the daily recommended amount (consult product packaging).
Gym Tip #3 – Get out of the gym every once and a while.
Gym rats love the feel of the gym, it is like home away from home, but too much time inside the gym can dull your senses and your muscles. As a part of your commitment to break up your gym routine make sure to get outside and enjoy physical activities. This should be easier and more fun as you find yourself getting in shape inside the gym.
The idea is simply to expand your ideas about health and fitness beyond the gym. Enjoy a variety of outdoor physical activities. This will help you continue toward your health and fitness goals and enjoy a little variety. Grab a bike and enjoy biking local trails, or go for a jog in your neighborhood, but branch out beyond that consider going horseback riding, kayaking, or zip lining to get the most enjoyment out of your physical activities.