Push the limits of your physical fitness to levels you never thought possible by training outside of your comfort zone. Change your routine regularly to maximize benefits, using a combination of low-intensity and high-intensity workouts such as yoga, kick boxing, distance running and High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). Set goals for yourself, including a new activity, such as a triathlon, marathon or adventure racing, or simply exercise longer and with greater intensity than before.
Things You'll Need
- Running shoes
- Heart rate monitor
- Exercise journal
- Fit test
- Weights or gym membership
- Yoga mat
- Nutrition log
Determine your current level of fitness by completing a fitness test. There are numerous tests available online. This will give you a baseline understanding of your fitness capabilities. You can design your own more advanced fitness test by timing a variety of exercises to see how many you can complete in 60 seconds. Some sample exercises include tuck jumps, push-ups, pull-ups, squats and power knees. Time yourself running a short and long distance, such as 100 meters and 1 mile.
Write down your results. By writing down what you have achieved you will be able to track your success and refine your goals down the road. A training journal is a great tool, regardless of your method of training, to look back on your progress.
Set a goal for yourself. Determine what you want to achieve, whether it is to run faster, longer or try a new workout. By setting a goal, you force yourself to move beyond your comfort zone and push yourself beyond your limits. Write this goal in your fitness journal. It is important that this goal be concrete, measurable and achievable.
Wear your heart rate monitor when you exercise. This will encourage accountability and will serve as a guide for when you need to push harder. A monitor can be a great motivator and accountability tool.
Determine your heart rate zones. Typically maximum heart rate is calculated by subtracting your age from 220 and then multiplying that number by 90 percent. To calculate your easy or temperate zone multiply by 60 to 70 percent, aerobic zone is typically 70 to 80 percent, anaerobic zone is 80 to 90 percent and your redline zone would be 90 to 100 percent. Spend the shortest amount of time in the last two zones.
Workout with a friend, preferably someone who is faster or stronger than you are. Push yourself to keep up with him but be mindful of your limitations; keep an eye on your heart rate.
Envision your goal. A great deal of why we don't succeed in surpassing our goals is psychological. Think positive during your exercise sessions. Remind yourself of your goal and your capacity to achieve it. When you start to falter during an exercise session, force yourself to think about completing your goal, how it will feel to succeed and what you need to do to get there.
Incorporate High Intensity Interval Training into your workout routine. HIIT involves incorporating short bursts of intense training alternated with periods of recovery, or lower intensity exercise. According to the Mayo Clinic, interval training has multiple benefits for those seeking to push themselves to new limits, including higher caloric expenditure with less time commitment, improved aerobic capacity and a decrease in muscle waste that lead to post-workout soreness. Plus, intervals keep workouts challenging and interesting.
Incorporate resistance training into your routine. Weight lifting gives your body the strength to achieve other goals. If you are able to train with a partner, increase the amount of weight you lift as you gain strength. Ensure that you are incorporating exercises that work every muscle group.
Practice yoga once a week. Yoga has many benefits, including promoting balance, self-awareness, strength and flexibility. Mindfulness techniques learned in yoga assist you in pushing yourself outside of the yoga studio by teaching you to focus on your goal.
Fuel your body. Ensure that you are eating enough calories to adequately sustain your activity level. In order to push your body physically, you need to give it energy. Do not cut calories. Log calories in and calories burned to ensure that you are eating enough to sustain yourself during intense workouts. If you are feeling tired during workouts, determine whether you are eating enough carbohydrates. There are a number of online sites that can help you log your exercise and nutritional needs, or log in your journal.
Complete another fit test a few months after beginning your workouts. This will help you track your improvements. If you have not made gains, revisit your logs to determine where you can make changes to your present routine.
- Interval Training: HIIT - High Intensity Interval Training
- Runners Web: Heart Rate Training Zone Calculator
- Shape Fit: Extreme Fitness - Intense Workouts & Exercises
- Mayo Clinic; Interval Training: Can it Boost Your Calorie-Burning Power?; 2010
- Oxygen Magazine; Ultimate Fit Test; Doris Montanera
- Yoga for Beginners Practical Guide: Yoga for Runners
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
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