Deciding to commit to an exercise regime is the first step to getting fit and healthy or losing some extra weight. While any type of physical activity is better than nothing, many people are unaware of what works best for their body and what will help them achieve the outcomes they’re hoping for. After all, getting results from exercise is as much about working smart as it is about working hard. With a bit of basic know-how and patience, you can easily up your workout game and know you’re being as efficient as possible when you put on your running shoes or hit the gym. Here’s how:

Get a Personal Trainer

Whether you don’t know your spin bike from your stair mill or are a seasoned gym rat, working with a personal trainer can do wonders for your fitness levels. The staff at a good personal training studio can teach you how to safely use equipment, prevent injuries and tailor an exercise and nutrition plan to your individual needs. Personal trainers can also help to push you to new levels in a safe, controlled environment, track your progress and keep you motivated to continue exercising.

Have a Plan

Before you start exercising, make sure you know exactly what’s in store for your session. If you’re going to the gym, make a mental list of all the equipment you plan on using and the amount of time you wish to spend on each machine. As well as adding time to your workout, being indecisive about what you need to do next will cause your heart rate to drop, which decreases the amount of calories you’re burning at that moment.

Try High-Intensity Interval Training

High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is when you complete short bursts of intensive exercise followed by recovery periods. The timeframe ranges anywhere from 20 to 90 seconds and can involve activities like sprinting, burpees, or push-ups. HIIT is one of the most effective ways of working out, especially for its cardiovascular and fat-loss benefits. Since you’re doing a lot of hard work in short bursts and maintaining your heart rate during rest periods, you’re packing a lot of efficiency into a shorter workout.

Get Enough Rest

While it’s essential to incorporate some exercise and movement into your everyday life, doing an intense daily workout will do you more harm than good. Giving yourself enough time to rest and recover is just as important as your workout itself, and when you fail to do so you’re putting your body at risk of injuries, fatigue, poor sleeping patterns and decreased performance among other things. Rest days give your body the chance to recover from intensive exercise and rebuild your tissues to grow back stronger.

Do Weight Training

Many people mistakenly believe that cardio is the most effective form of exercise. While going for a long run is undoubtedly good for you, resistance training helps you to build muscle and increase your metabolic rate. In fact, according to a study of 10,500 people by Harvard School of Public Health, the adults who spent 20 minutes a day doing weight training gained less abdominal fat over 12 years compared to those who did cardio for the same amount of time.

There’s a big difference between working out for the sake of it and exercising strategically. With the above tips in mind, you can craft a smart exercise regime that’ll have you (literally) kicking all your fitness goals in no time.

Incredible Planet Staff

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