How to Use Fitness Challenges to Overcome Weight Loss Plateaus
Even the best-laid plans can falter.
Weight-loss plateaus happen to virtually everyone who is trying to lose weight. At some point, you may well find that your own progress has stalled, even if you’re continuing to exercise and eat well. Such plateaus are extremely common and are no cause for despair.
All it takes to get your body over the hurdle is the right push. It’s not just about physiology, but also psychology. You may be experiencing a plateau because you have simply run out of the motivation required to reach your fitness goals.
This is also a very common experience and nothing to be ashamed of. Again, all you need is a jolt to get you going again. One of the best ways to jumpstart your fitness journey is with a fitness workout challenge.
A challenge with a strict time limit and structure, such as a 30-day challenge, is the ideal way to get things going again. Here are the very best fitness challenges to help you overcome your weight loss plateau.
30-Day Full Body Fitness Challenges
If you really need to feel the burn, then you need a full body custom workout plan to reignite every muscle in your body.
There are many effective ways to do this, but the most popular ones involve you dedicated each day of the week to a different body part, with one day off for rest.
So Monday would be your lower body day, Tuesday your upper body, Wednesday your cross-fit, and so on.
30-Day Cleanse Challenges
One sure-fire way to get your weight loss back on track is with a 30-day cleanse. There are countless ones to choose from, from paid programs like The Clean Program and ones you can easily do yourself, such as the Master Cleanse.
If you’re on a high-protein diet or are bulking up, certain types of cleanses are best avoided until you can gradually adjust your diet. Alternatively, there are a number of high-protein cleanses which will whip you into shape.
30-Day Ab Challenges
Sometimes the most effective workout challenges are those with a visible and tangible goal at the end. Telling yourself you want to get shredded within a month is a powerful visual motivator that will jump-start your weight loss journey in a heartbeat.
There are several highly-recommended ab challenges you can undertake without having to spend a single penny. Try the 30-day ab challenge app to start with, so you can game-if your weight loss and push yourself to the finish line.
30-Day Squat Challenges
This one is especially popular with the ladies, for good reason. Workout routines that make you look and feel good in a rapidly short period of time are few and far between.
The simplicity and ease of most squat challenges are a key part of their appeal and a great way to build up your motivation again.
Start off with just a few squats and keep building until you’re doing hundreds a day by the end on the month.
It takes more than fitness challenges to reach the finish line and achieve the body of your dreams. You need support, expertise, and discipline to ensure your body is the very best it can be.
If you want the support and information you need to reach the top, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today. We’re here to get you on track – your success is our mission.
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12 Brilliant Gym Tips For A More Efficient Workout
Do you think you’re wasting time at the gym? Efficient workouts equal fewer excuses. Here are some gym tips to help you trim the fat off your workout routine.
Do you workout regularly? If so, you’re already in an elite group.
According to new research, although more than 75% of people claim they want to get in shape and look great, only 31% actually make exercise a routine habit.
Yet, are you getting the most from your time at the gym? Do you leave with sweat dripping, adrenaline pumping and those exertion-fueled endorphins running in your veins? Or, are you still struggling to see the results you crave?
If it’s the latter, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re sharing 12 simple gym tips that can help you supercharge your workouts and bump up the ROI on that membership.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
1. Start with a Plan
You walk into the gym and take a long look around. There are treadmills on one wall, ellipticals on another and a giant weightlifting area. It’s inspiring. It’s exciting. It’s also incredibly overwhelming.
You spend more than a few minutes figuring out which area you want to visit first and which part of your workout you want to prioritize.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
If so, try planning out your next gym workout. Before you even get in the car and head out, jot down what you want to focus on, how long you want to spend there and in what order you’re going to tackle it all.
Doing so not only helps you stay organized and start your workout quicker. It also makes sure your heart rate doesn’t drop as you spend time perusing the options. One way to ensure you’re always ready to go? Have a backup plan ready in case the machines you want are full.
2. Shorten and Strengthen Your Workouts
It seems like simple logic: The longer you workout, the better you’ll look and feel, right?
If your usual gym session includes exercising for an hour or two at a slow, moderate pace, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Studies show that interval training, or working out in smaller, 10-30 minute bursts with rests in between, is more beneficial than marathon sweat sessions.
Why? You’ll increase your heart rate, build your endurance and maximize your speed when you focus on working your body to its top capacity. When you go for longer, something has to give and it’s usually your body’s performance.
So, the next time you’re looking at the indoor track and dreading that five-mile stretch you’ve been doing, try tackling one mile instead and see how much more powerful you feel.
High-Intensity Interval Training
A popular way to add shorter, more powerful workouts to your gym routine is to try high-intensity interval training or HIIT training. Put simply, this is the method of dividing your overall workout into blocks of intense exertion along with designated times for rest.
Focus on exercises that get your heart rate and lungs working to their top capacity, and sustain the movements for a few minutes at a time. Of course, if you have any cardio or health concerns, talk to your doctor before trying a HIIT routine. It is also recommended against for those just starting out in their fitness routine.
3. Add Protein
After an especially exhausting workout, your muscles need to rebuild themselves. This is true for both cardio-centric exercises as well as strength-building ones. To amplify the results you’ll see and improve your body’s ability to bounce back, it can be helpful to add an element of protein into your post-workout meal or snack.
A simple protein shake, made with either whey or soy, is a great way to recharge and refuel after your time at the gym. You can also find protein bars and other snacks that make refilling on the go both simple and quick.
While you sip or munch, you’ll be helping your body repair any damage it sustained during your workout. You’ll also give your immune system a boost, rebuild your stored glycogen, and regrow your muscles. It’s a simple trick that can cap off a great session and help you see results quicker.
4. Pump the Right Tunes
It might sound unimportant, but the idea that the right music can affect your workout is backed by science.
While there is no one-size-fits-all playlist that will make you magically grow those muscles you want, your best bet is to stick to jams that make you feel seriously inspired. From the soundtrack to Space Jam to Madonna, anything goes. One rule? If it puts you to sleep or makes you want to cry, save it for another time.
Instead, invest in a great pair of workout headphones and turn up the dial on those energy-infused rockers that make you want to holler, howl and show your strength. Start the playlist while you’re on the way to the gym and let that feeling follow you.
5. Do a Digital Detox
One surefire way to get less from your workout? Hop off the treadmill every five minutes to respond to that group chat, take a picture of your gear or post on social media.
Not only are you allowing your heart rate to fluctuate as you momentarily disengage, but you’re also losing that valuable mental focus. If you must have your phone on you, activate airplane or vibrate mode. Otherwise, leave it in the locker room.
6. Know Your Weights
You might be tempted to grab the heaviest weight at the gym to push yourself and look cool, but take a step back from those dumbells.
Using a too-heavy weight is just as ineffective as using one that’s too light. When you try to lift a boulder, chances are you can’t do many repetitions, if any at all. The ones you are able to manage are likely not executed properly.
On the other hand, a too-small weight isn’t activating your muscles effectively. The key is to find that sweet spot. Ideally, you want a weight that requires effort to lift and move but isn’t uncomfortable to curl.
It might take some trial and error but look for one that allows you to finish out your rep set. You want to challenged and struggling just a bit on the last few reps, but not throughout.
7. Journal Your Workouts
Just as a dieter monitors what he or she eats, if you want to get the most from your gym exercises, it’s helpful to write down your progress.
Keep track of when you exercised, what you did and how you felt. You might keep your notes in an old-fashioned notebook or on a fitness app. Either way, be specific. Note how many reps you did, what weights you used and any other important details.
When you go back the next time, take a look at your notes and see where you can push yourself a little. Add a few more reps, use a slightly heavier weight or incorporate a new machine you haven’t used yet.
8. Focus on Compound Movements
Wondering what to do at the gym? Your best bet is to find exercises that pull double or triple duty.
Known as compound movements, these are ones that work for more than one muscle group at a time and at least two of your joints. While there is a time and place for bicep curls and other routines that laser-focus on one area, compound workouts are a great way to maximize your time.
As you do these moves, you’ll build muscle mass, exert more energy, and burn more calories. Not sure where to start? Try a simple lunge or squat. Or, take that bicep curl a step further and flow into a shoulder press.
9. Find an Exercise You Love
It sounds simple, but one of our best workout tips is to find a workout routine you actually enjoy doing. If you aren’t passionate about something, your initial enthusiasm will only take you so far. After that, you’re just going through the motions, often to no avail.
Our interests and goals change over time, so don’t be afraid to reexamine your routine every so often to make sure it’s still enjoyable.
Whether you love running, biking, hiking, lifting or anything in between, find a workout that brings you alive both physically and mentally. That’s the only way to ensure you stick with it in the long run.
Still, need a little motivation to summit that mountain ahead of you? Try reaching out to a personal challenge coach who can encourage you to push ahead on your fitness journey.
10. Fine-Tune Your Form
All the repetitions in the world won’t give you results if you’re not doing them correctly. While it’s fine to add on more weight as you grow stronger, make sure you’re not sacrificing your form as you do so.
This is where a personal trainer can be valuable. Work with one at your gym to make sure you’re performing each exercise the right way. Doing so can help you prevent injury and safely engage all the muscles you’re supposed to be working.
While you’re still learning, stick with a lighter weight and focus on maneuvering it before you build up to a higher level.
11. Train Your Brain
Exercise is as much about mental strength as it is about physical. To this end, it’s helpful to focus your mind on each part of your workout as you’re going through it. Think about the muscles you’re activating, your posture, and the form you’re trying to maintain.
As you do so, you’ll automatically become more invested in the routine rather than just going through the motions. If you find yourself spacing out, talking with others around you or watching the television screen too often, take a break to re-center.
12. Get More Rest
If you think your muscles are working during your workout, you should see them afterward. As your body repairs itself from the exertion and strain you put on it, this is a valuable and important time in your fitness regimen.
If you’re pushing through back-to-back workouts without resting in between sessions, you’re denying your body that vital time. It’s no wonder, then, that you haven’t seen the immediate results you’re looking for. As your muscle fibers are put to the test, they develop small tears that must heal to grow.
Moreover, the next time you visit the gym, you’re not only sleep-deprived and sloppy, but you’re also setting yourself up for injury.
Though it might be against your nature to indulge in rest, it’s essential that you do so. If you suffer from insomnia or have a difficult time falling and staying asleep, it’s worth a call to your doctor to address any underlying health conditions that might be attributed to the issue.
Ace Your Next Workout With These Gym Tips
We all want to make the best use of our time at the gym. It’s why we make the trek up there, gear up and carve out space in our schedule to sweat. Yet, it’s frustrating to think that you can put so much into your workout and still feel dissatisfied with the results.
That’s where we come in.
Our team of coaches is dedicated to making sure you don’t run through your next workout aimlessly. We’ll work one-on-one with you to help you define, refine and achieve your fitness goals. From the foods you eat to the routines you perform, we understand that great health is a lifestyle, not a fad.
If you’re just getting started, our nine-week challenge is a great place to begin. You’ll transform your physique from the inside out, learn valuable gym tips and amaze yourself in the process. In the meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions. Your transformation is our motivation!
Cardio For Weight Loss: 6 Crucial Facts To Keep In Mind
If you’re just establishing your exercise routine, here are some crucial facts about cardio for weight loss. Keep them in mind when developing your routine.
If you immediately turned to cardio when you started trying to lose weight, you’re not alone. When it comes to weight loss, it seems like most people associate the treadmill or the track with their path to a smaller waistline.
Cardio is definitely an important part of any workout routine, but there are some important things to keep in mind if you want to use cardio for weight loss. You have to make sure that you plan your workouts effectively to get the maximum benefit.
When you’re developing your routine, keep these six crucial facts in mind. They’ll help you get the results you want!
1. You Can’t Just Do Cardio
This first fact might seem like a weird choice to start off with. After all, isn’t the whole post about using cardio for weight loss?
Here’s the thing, though — if you want to lose weight in a healthy way, you can’t have a workout routine that’s 100% cardio. You’re going to need to incorporate strength training into your schedule if you really want to see results.
Strength training helps to build muscle mass, which will help you out down the line by speeding up your metabolism and burning additional fat. Basically, the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn on a regular basis.
If you’re only doing cardio, on the other hand, you won’t just be burning fat — you’ll be burning muscle, too. The last thing you want to do is to burn what will help you lose weight.
If you really want to go all in for both your strength training and your cardio, we recommend putting those workouts on separate days. (Think cardio on Monday, strength training on Tuesday.) If you really want to do both on the same day, though, do your strength training before your cardio. Strength training uses more energy, so you’ll need to be at 100% before you start.
2. You Don’t Have To Stay In The Fat-Burning Zone
We’ve all fallen victim to that pesky little display on the treadmill, or checked our Fitbits religiously to make sure that we’re in the golden “fat burn” zone. What does that even mean, anyway?
It’s easy to believe that you won’t burn any fat unless your heart rate is in that magic zone. That’s not completely true, though.
The name for the zone is a little misleading. It’s not that you’ll only burn fat in that zone, it’s that a larger percentage of the calories burned comes from fat. You’ll still be burning fat in the cardio or peak zones.
What’s most important isn’t the percentage of burned calories that come from fat. If you’re going to pay attention to one of the numbers lighting up your screen, it should be total calories burned. The number of calories you burn is way more important when it comes to the big picture.
And speaking of the number of calories you burn…
3. You Don’t Have To Burn 500 Calories
We can understand where this number came from. It’s a nice, round number, it sounds like a lot, and people feel accomplished when they can say that they burned 500 calories over the course of their workouts.
What’s problematic, though, is when people think that they have to burn 500 calories for their workouts to have any effect. Depending on the type of workout you’re doing, your cardio workouts can burn fewer than 500 calories and still be great for you.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT), for example, is a series of high-intensity workouts done in short bursts. You might not burn 500 calories during your thirty-minute workout, but you’ll keep burning calories at a higher rate for hours after you leave the gym.
4. Your Workouts Don’t Need To Be Long
When you think of cardio, do you think of long runs that take a ton of time out of your day? There’s a common misconception that your cardio has to be long, slow and steady to mean anything.
Even if you don’t have an hour to spare for your workout, go for a HIIT workout instead. The quick workout will still get your heart rate up, burn calories, and give you the cardio training that you need.
People who swear by the treadmill can still get the benefit of a shorter workout. Doing shorter sessions at a higher intensity will help you get more out of your workout in less time.
5. You Should Snack Before Your Workout
There are lots of runners who enjoy waking up early in the morning and going for a run first thing. That’s a great way to start your day…as long as you eat something before you head out the door.
When you’re in a calorie-burning mindset, it’s easy to think that to burn more calories, you shouldn’t eat before you workout. If you don’t eat ahead of time, your body has to burn off the fat that’s already on your body for energy, right?
Nope, not for cardio. Your body needs something to fuel it, and it will turn to the carbs and fat in your muscles, not the fat in your fat cells.
We’re not saying to eat a full meal and then go for a run — just eat a light snack to give your body something to work with.
6. You Still Have To Eat Right
Speaking of eating, you still have to have a proper diet if you’re planning on using cardio to lose weight. Just running an extra mile every time you opt for a cookie instead of a carrot stick won’t really help you out.
If your diet is still poor, doing lots of cardio will only do so much. Nourish your body with the right foods for the workouts you’re doing. For example, you incorporate a lot of strength training into your routine, make sure you eat enough protein.
Cardio combined with eating well can help you sculpt your body into the shape you want to see.
Use Cardio For Weight Loss Effectively
If you keep these crucial facts about cardio for weight loss in mind, you’ll be able to see better results. Make the most of your workouts and use your cardio effectively. Your body will thank you.
Need a little bit of an extra push? Register for our Body Transformation Challenge to take your body to the next level.
No More Fitness Chores: How To Enjoy Working Out For Lasting Health
Do you actually love exercise? Probably not, and you’re not alone. Most don’t know how to enjoy working out. Here’s the secret to loving workouts for life.
Do you hate working out?
Your genes might be to blame! Studies have shown that there are some people who are genetically predisposed to hating exercise. That might help to explain why only about 20 percent of Americans meet the federal government’s recommendations for physical activity.
But you can’t put all the blame on genetics when it comes to America’s exercise problem. There are also lots of people out there who don’t have fun while exercising simply because they haven’t taken the time to learn how to enjoy working out.
If you’re one of these people, you could be missing out on all the potential benefits of establishing a regular exercise routine. You could also be cutting years off your life and skipping the chance to make yourself a more physically fit person over time.
Here are 11 tips that’ll help you snap out of it and embrace working out.
Set Fitness Goals for Yourself From the Beginning
Most people know they should get more exercise than they do. So every now and then, they’ll sign up for a gym membership and start going to the gym every day after work. Or they’ll get into the habit of going for a walk or a run at the park.
There is (obviously!) nothing wrong with trying to make a commitment to working out. But you’re going to have a heck of a time keeping up with the commitment if you don’t have any goals in mind before you begin.
Is your goal to:
- Lose the extra 20 pounds you’ve been carrying around for a few years now?
- Build up your upper body strength and core so that you don’t have back problems anymore?
- Run five miles every few days to break a sweat and break out of the monotony of spending all day in an office?
Setting goals is arguably the most important part of starting a successful workout routine. Goals will keep you on track and help you avoid running into a wall at some point when your initial motivation runs out.
It’s also important to set new goals for yourself along the way. Once you’ve lost weight, gotten stronger, and run five miles, you should push yourself to set and meet other goals. You’ll find out how to enjoy working out by taking this approach to exercise.
Start Slow and Avoid Trying to Hit All Your Goals at Once
The biggest mistake people make when they first start working out is that they often try to accomplish all the goals they set for themselves at once.
They want to lose 20 pounds in a week so they spend three hours in the gym every day. They want to be able to improve their bench press by 50 pounds after just a few workouts so they work their muscles to the point of sheer exhaustion every time they’re lifting. They want to run five miles so they run each and every day for a few weeks.
If you haven’t worked out regularly in a long time, you could put your body at real risk by overdoing it at the beginning. Your muscles and the other parts of your body aren’t ready for workouts this intense.
You’re also going to expend all your mental energy if you aren’t careful. You might reach your goals, but you could also burn out in the process and stop working out once you do. That’ll be counterproductive and won’t allow you to develop lifelong workout habits.
Start off slow instead and ease your way into working out. It’ll be better for your mind and body and motivate you to continue coming back for more.
Find Someone Who Wants to Work Out With You on a Regular Basis
If you know that you struggle to motivate yourself to go to the gym or the park to work out, it might be a good idea for you to put out feelers and find a workout buddy.
Studies have suggested that those who work out with someone else tend to work out more often and have better workouts. This is especially true when people find workout buddies who are capable of providing them with emotional support.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you just want to choose anyone to be your workout buddy. In some cases, your workout buddy might actually end up dragging you down if you have to do all the heavy lifting as far as emotional support is concerned.
Before you agree to work out regularly with a person, make sure they’re as committed to exercising as you are. Make sure they want to do similar workouts to you as well.
By teaming up with someone else, you can make it easier to get motivated to go to the gym and swap workout stories with someone who can relate to you. It’ll make working out more enjoyable for both of you and make it feel more fun.
Experiment With Different Workout Routines (and Switch Up Your Routine Regularly!)
When you first start working out on a regular basis, you’re likely going to fall into some kind of routine. Whether you’re lifting weights, running, or doing some other activity, you’re going to find yourself doing the same exercises all the time.
It’s OK to do this for a little while, but you should try to switch up your routine from time to time. It can help you:
- Steer clear of overworking certain muscles
- Strengthen muscles you’re not using now
- Breakthrough a weight loss goal you’ve been struggling to reach
- Inject some life back into your workouts
- Prevent you from simply going through the motions and not giving it your all
It’s also not a bad idea to try out different workout routines that you might not normally think to do.
For example, if you’re someone who spends a lot of time lifting weights, why not try a yoga class on for size? It could provide you with benefits like the flexibility that will help you during your regular workouts.
Or if you’re someone who spends a lot of time running, sign up for an intramural sport. It’ll build up your teamwork skills while allowing you to stay active in a different environment.
The key is to switch up your exercise routines to keep them feeling fresh. You’ll be a lot more motivated to go work out when you don’t know exactly what’s going to happen when you do.
Keep a Workout Journal
It can be difficult to see the strides you’re making when you work out on a day-to-day basis. Others around you might see that you’re looking more fit, but you yourself might not notice your improvements.
Keep track of the progress you’re making by starting a workout journal, ideally when you first start working out. Write down the different exercises you do during each workout, the number of reps you complete, and more.
This will give you something to reference back to whenever you’re feeling like your workouts aren’t making a difference. You’ll be able to see proof that your workouts are paying off and turning you into a person who is substantially more fit.
Incorporate Music and Podcasts into Your Workouts
Does it feel like there’s more music being released these days than ever before?
You’re not just imagining things! People are listening to more new music today than in years past and struggling to keep up with all of it.
If you find yourself caught in this predicament, working out is a great way to give yourself the time you need to catch up on new music. You can give the latest Lil Wayne album a spin or see what the new Twenty One Pilots record is all about.
Working out is also a great way to enjoy all the best podcasts the world has to offer. Just imagine how much more motivated you’ll be to go work out when you know you have a great podcast waiting for you.
Try Not to Focus Too Much on How Much Weight You’re Losing (or Not Losing!)
If one of your goals when it comes to working out is to lose weight, listen up. You will lose weight when you work out regularly…but it might not always happen as quickly as you want it to.
Everyone loses weight at a different rate. Some people can work out for a week and drop 10 pounds, while others can work out for a month and lose two pounds.
With this in mind, you shouldn’t make losing weight your only motivating factor. Otherwise, you could end up quitting just when you’re about to make a big breakthrough simply because you aren’t patient enough.
Focus on enjoying working out and getting better at exercising as opposed to using the scale as a barometer for how well your workouts are going.
Use Your Workouts to Reduce Any Stress You’re Feeling
It’s safe to say that just about everyone in America is stressed out to some degree right now. A 2017 study found that people are stressed out over everything from health care and the economy to crime and terrorist attacks.
Rather than allowing whatever stress you feel to gnaw at you, why not use it for good? Teach yourself to reduce your stress levels by working out and eliminating a lot of your biggest stresses.
You’ll find that you think more clearly and process stress better after a great workout. You’ll also have a more positive outlook on your life and everything in it when exercise is a major part of your life.
That alone should be enough to inspire you to continue working out over and over again once you start doing it regularly.
Reward Yourself Every Now and Then
There are a lot of sacrifices that are going to come along with working out on a regular basis.
You’re obviously going to be giving up a lot of your time to work out. You’re also going to be giving up money for gym memberships, workout gear, and more. You might even decide to start eating healthier to hit more of your fitness goals.
This is all great! And before long, it won’t even feel like you’re sacrificing anymore. You’ll be gaining so much from working out that your sacrifices will feel small compared to what you’re getting in return.
But don’t forget to reward yourself every now and then for putting in the time, effort, and money to work out. Have an extra slice of cake every now and then or take a day off if you feel like your body could use it.
Avoid Being Too Hard on Yourself If You Miss a Workout or Two
Believe it or not, there’s going to come a time when you–yes, you!–are going to miss a workout and feel guilty about it. There is an anxiety that washes over a lot of people when they’re forced to miss a workout for whatever reason.
It’s easy to beat yourself up over it. Even if you had a completely reasonable excuse for skipping the gym or a run, you’re going to convince yourself otherwise and feel awful.
Don’t worry too much about it. The great thing about exercising is that it’s about more than one or two individual workouts. It’s about committing yourself to lead a healthier lifestyle and then sticking to it over the long haul.
Just don’t let one or two missed workouts turn into one or two months of not working out. It can be tough to get back on the right track once you veer off it. So get back in the gym as soon as you can and continue living your best life.
Enroll Yourself in a Fitness Challenge
Have you tried everything else and found that you still can’t seem to muster up the strength to work out? A fitness challenge might be exactly what you need.
The 9-Week Challenge, in particular, can prove to be beneficial for those who don’t necessarily love to work out. In less than two months, you can totally transform your body by working with a fitness coach while still eating delicious food.
You’ll love the way you look and feel at the end of the challenge, and it’ll put a good foundation in place for you to continue to eat right and work out more than you did before.
Once You Know How to Enjoy Working Out, It Won’t Feel Like a Chore
It’s not as hard to learn how to enjoy working out as you might think. Even if you absolutely hate the idea of doing it now, you can transform yourself into a workout warrior in no time.
Start by setting some goals for yourself and easing your way into a routine. Then, try some different workouts and set up a workout journal, and before you know it, you’ll be a regular. It’ll turn out to be the best decision you’ve ever made.