Good morning! I hope you all had a lovely weekend
Mine was great…a good mix of fun, friends, and work, with a happy hour (which turned into a happy night) with friends on Friday and a relaxing day and dinner out with friends on Saturday. Then on Sunday, I took an all-day TRX suspension training course in Denver to get my TRX level 1training certification.
I already teach a TRX class, and use it for certain exercises while training clients (and myself,) so I figured why not?
It ended up being a LOT of fun stuffed into an 8 hour day. I learned a LOT, got a work out in, and really enjoyed the course, thanks to our instructor, Austin:
He was great! And thusly, so was the class. I definitely plan on writing a post on how the TRX Suspension Training Course in depth in the future
But today, I want to share with you some tips on how to change your workout to help you reach your weight loss goals. We’ve ALL heard or read an article or blog claiming they have the secrets on how to bust through a plateau, right? One of those answers is always, always something similar to this:
Change up your workout! If you’ve been running for a while, try zumba! If you walk all of the time, try swimming instead! Try adding in some strength training!
And it just simply isn’t as easy as that. Today, I want to take that part of those stereotypical, abstract claims, and break it down into 6 specific ways you can change up your workout to get the results you want.
1. Focus on the eccentric contractions
A lot of times, I’ll see people lifting in the gym, say, doing an inverted row on the TRX. They’re form looks great. Their feet are at a good angle, and everything looks great, except….they aren’t focusing at ALL on the eccentric contraction. Focus on the eccentric contraction by:
Using the muscle group to extend at the joint instead of just letting gravity or the weight pull the joint to extension. For example, when doing a row, use the back muscle to slowly (a count of 3) return the weight to an extended position, instead of letting the weight pull arm straight.
2. Add ladders to your workouts
Ladders are a quick and dirty way to get in a kick-butt workout. What are ladders?
Performing 2 (usually) exercises in a manner of counting reps going down, up, or both. So, let’s say we’re doing goblet squats and push ups. And let’s say we’re starting at 1, and going UP the ladder. You’d do 1 goblet squat and 1 push up. Then 2 of each, then 3, and 4, and so on, until you reach your determined stopping point. However, my favorite way of doing ladders is meeting in the middle, so you’re not doing a crazy amount of one exercise, and moving on to doing a crazy amount of another exercise. So it’ll look like this:
1 Goblet squat/10 push ups
2 Goblet squats/9 push ups
3 Goblet squats/8 push ups
4 Goblet squats/7 push ups
…and so on, until you meet in the middle, or until you pass one another, and are finally doing 10 goblet squats and 1 push up.
3. Let lifting be your cardio
I’m a big fan of lifting heavy. I looove doing 4-5 reps of dead lifts 4-5 times. Same with squats. However, a lot of the time, I’ll follow that up with 5-7 exercises, that are still compound, multi-joint exercises, that aren’t super heavy – metabolic resistance training. Say, 3-5 sets of each exercise being 8-10 reps. This type of training, along with little rest time in between, facilitates fat loss by keeping the heart rate high the entire time, while still building muscle. Here’s an example of a circuit I’ve been loving lately:
1a. Weighted rear-foot elevated split squats
1b. Push ups
1c. Kettlebell swings
1d. Bent over dumbbell row
1e. Goblet squats
1f. Pallof press
(mind you, this doesn’t – but can – have to be your only form of cardio. you can also do sprints, plate/sled pushes, plyo work, walk, etc.)
4. Lift heavier weights
Yes, this is the opposite of what I said in #3, but lifting heavy weights can have a cardio effect and increase VO2 max. But more importantly, it can give you something to work on and be proud of in the gym. It can take the sole focus away from losing fat, which is refreshing, if that’s the only thing you think you accomplish while in the gym. Start working toward increasing your deadlift. See if you can achieve a dead hang chin up or pull up in a few months. Make it FUN!
5. Focus on larger muscle groups
I feel like this almost doesn’t need to be said, but if fat loss is the goal, stop doing tricep extensions and bicep curls and start doing exercises that are going to work more than one muscle group at a time. Not to mention, burn major calories! Think squats, push ups, chin ups, rows, deadlifts, overhead presses, and variations of those exercises.
I’m not saying that isolation exercises are useless, but if fat loss is your goal, stick with compound exercises, or place the accessory lifts at the end of your workout.
6. Rest and Recover
I used to think every workout needed to be done at an ALL OUT intensity, and “recovery” magically happened on the one day I took off from exercise. Now, thankfully I know that not all workouts have to be intense, and more than one day off from intense exercise is more than OK, it’s preferred! I recover in the form of gentle yoga, walking my dog, and being horizontal on my couch
7. Don’t think of any of the above as a way to achieve your fat loss goals
Haha, say what?? I’m being sort of cheeky here, but stop thinking about training for fat loss! When you’re in the gym, your main focus should be on improving performance, whether it’s getting faster at sprints, breaking 5 chin ups, completing 15 push ups in a row, or whatever you’re doing. I touched on this on #4, but set goals in the gym that are completely unrelated to fat loss. By focusing on improving your performance in the gym, you’ll naturally make strides in achieving your fat loss goals. The rest of that is what you’re doing the other 23 hours of the day when you’re not in the gym.
What do you do when it’s time to change up your workout?
ps – don’t forget to enter my 34 Degrees Flatbread Crisps giveaway!