Committed to living a fit life but aren’t sure where to start? We get you. Fitness can be intimidating when you feel like you don’t know what you’re doing. The great thing about fitness, however, is that there is a set of golden rules that, when applied personally; make great building blocks to reach your ultimate goal. You can make great strides towards success as long as you keep these fitness rules in mind at all times. Without further ado, check out our golden rules of fitness for a fitter and heart-healthy life.
This one goes without saying and it’s probably the most well-known fitness rule known to all whether you’re a fitness enthusiast or not: stay hydrated. When it comes to fitness, nothing is more crucial than making sure you are drinking enough water daily. This is especially important when you start working out because you’ll be sweating a ton in the gym. For example, did you know that just an hour of exercise can cost your body up to a liter or more of water? If you don’t replenish this, you run the risk of huge energy loss and dehydration. Not to mention the fact that a lack of water also makes you more susceptible to muscle cramps. Apart from the recommended 8 glasses of water a day, we recommend drinking a glass 20 minutes before exercising and another glass of water for every 15 minutes of additional exercise if you’re exercising for more than an hour.
Make Sure to Warm-Up Before a Workout and Stretch After
Many people head to the gym, pump some iron or run their hearts out, pack up and then head home, unaware that they’ve completely forgotten two crucial things: warming up and cooling down. Sure, they don’t necessarily contribute to building muscle or walking away with massive gains, but they do play a very important role – preventing injury. Warm-ups help to loosen your joints and increase your heart rate slowly so that your body is prepared for the intensity that’s about to come. Warming up can also help enhance your workout performance because it increases blood flow and oxygen to your muscle groups. Dynamic warm=ups are the best to incorporate because they improve range of motion, muscular performance and body awareness. In the same way, stretching after your workout will help your body to reset after the rigorous exercise you’ve just put it through. It also helps your mobility and will improve your range of motion.
Make Time for Cardio
Some people hate cardio, some people love it, but at the end of the day, nothing changes the fact that cardio is a necessary part of your life. Getting regular cardiovascular training in is necessary for promoting greater heart health, stronger lungs as well as increased bone density, which is it’s crucial for adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate cardiovascular activity in every week. If you need to save on time, then go for 75 minutes of vigorous cardio per week like high-intensity interval training or circuit training. For those of you who aren’t fans of cardio, remember that cardio doesn’t always mean a boring hour on the treadmill or the elliptical. It could mean a fun and engaging Body Combat class or a 60-minute spinning class with your favorite friends. Mix it up a bit to prevent boredom! Also, remember to try and fit your cardio minutes in anywhere between 3 to 5 times a week.
No ladies, lifting weights won’t make you bulky. On the contrary lifting weights will help you burn fat and slim down! This is why fitness gurus, licensed trainers and savvy fitness buffs always find a healthy balance between cardio and weight training. While cardio boosts your cardiovascular health, developing lean muscle mass helps you burn of your stubborn fat and incinerate more calories as your metabolism increases. To put things into perspective, 1 pound of lean muscle can burn up to 10 calories per day. On the other hand, a pound of fat will only burn 3 calories a day at most.
Put a Premium on Protein
While it’s definitely important to get your exercise in and to develop a workout routine that will help you meet your goals, nutrition is an incredibly important aspect of fitness that you need to pay attention to. With that being said, there’s no better way to fuel and power through your workouts than with a healthy dose of protein in your regular diet. As many of us know, protein is one of the major building blocks of our muscles, so consuming healthy amounts of protein won’t just help you get energized, it will help the post-workout recovery process as well. If you’re not sure how much protein you should be eating, one easy rule of thumb to remember is to eat about a gram of protein for every pound of your body weight. It’s also important for you to try and get protein in at key moments of your day such. For example, it’s a fantastic idea to down a post-workout protein smoothie round 15 to 20 minutes after the conclusion of your gym session.
Track Your Progress
If you’ve already got your routine down on pat, the next step is to start tracking your progress. This can be done in several ways, but it’s always great to have regular statistics you track. For example, mile-time is a great number to track if you want to observe the progress you’re making endurance-wise. It’s also a fantastic number to keep an eye on if you’re tracking the improvements in your cardiovascular health. You should also track how often you work out and what you’re doing in those workouts so that you can figure out if you need to start increasing intensity or mixing up your exercises. It also goes without saying that you should be tracking your body measurement index, weight loss and the number of inches you’re trimming down on a monthly basis.