The Next Step
Bumping up the intensity in a fitness routine by Stew Smith
By Stew Smith
Once someone has made the decision to start a regular workout regimen, they reach a point when they need or want to push themselves further. But how do you know when the time has come to make a change to your fitness routine? And when is it OK to increase the intensity of the workout without also increasing the risk of injuring yourself?
Basically, when things get too easy for you and you believe that you are not feeling the benefits of the workout as you did earlier, it may be time to make it tougher. Since you have created a stable fitness routine over a few months, your body is getting accustomed to the activity. You need to spice up the workout in order to keep yourself interested and to make your body work harder to meet new challenges. That can mean varying the order of the workout, adding new exercises or changing the workout altogether.
Increasing the intensity of a workout can be as simple as going a little longer — try doing your routine for another 10-20 minutes to boost your metabolism. If time is an issue and you want to keep your workout to under 30 minutes, use heavier dumbbells or add more repetitions per set. The same goes for calisthenics — add more repetitions per set. You can even try to upgrade from walking to jogging — however I would stay away from jogging if you are still 30 or more pounds overweight. Doing 10-20 minutes of weights or calisthenics, then walking for 10-15 minutes is a great way to burn fat, build muscle, and feel great all day.
You can also build up your fitness level with 5 minute bursts of activity throughout the day. A quick walk, a superset of pushups and crunches, and some dumbbell lifting for a few sets when you can fit it into your schedule are all great ways to achieve the cumulative effect of exercise.
For instance, first thing in the morning, before you start your day, do crunches, stretch and walk. Then, when you stop again for food or fuel, walk around for 5-
10 minutes and stretch. When you reach a destination for loading or off-loading either assist with that effort or take another walk/jog or add a few sets of pushups and crunches during that time. These quick bursts of activity will also help you stay awake and give you that second wind you need if you still have more driving to do. At the end of the day, take a few minutes to walk and stretch before sleeping. Getting fit is an ongoing process. After taking those first steps, you need to keep pushing yourself to the next level. Add time, repetitions, weight or new exercises like running, biking or swimming to really charge up the metabolism and get more energy and health benefits.
Wake Up With Crunches
Here is a great Wake Up Workout you can do while still in bed. Simply set your alarm a few minutes earlier than normal. Once your eyes open, gently lift your shoulders off the bed and perform a crunch exercise. Repeat this for 10-20 repetitions and then change it up and add in 10-20 more repetitions of Left Elbow to Right knee crunches and then switch sides. Try a few Reverse Crunches where you lift your hips off the bed or floor.
Then roll over and stretch your stomach and perform a pushup and get out of bed. This is a great way to wake up — and it eases the transition from sleep to exercising. Now you are ready to roll and do a few minutes of walking, slow jogging, more stretching or calisthenics and dumbbell lifting. Getting this workout done first thing in the morning will make the rest of your day more productive. You will also have less need for caffeine to stay awake in the morning. Caffeinated drinks are fine in moderation, but water is 10 times better for you in building a smart maintenance plan for better health and longevity.
Benefits seen after 1-3 months of regular workouts
• More energy
• Better mood
• High blood pressure lowered
• Weight and inches reduced
• Improved sleep
• Improved circulation in all vital areas of the body, including those that involve your sex life.