I realized that since I've started this extended plateau in the 220's that my exercise has gotten stale, and doesn't challenge me as much. Last night I didn't want to go to the gym. I've been tired this week, and I only wanted to go home and relax. Here's the thing I realized, if I go to the gym and phone it in, I'm only hurting myself. (Um, duh, Sara.) My work out has to count to make a difference, and also to allow me to eat more! That's the whole whole point! Oh, and healthy lungs and heart and stuff. If I show up and just go through the motions while my mind is at home in the kitchen, then I am not doing myself any favors. And that afterglow never manifests itself as "Well, that was a waste of time!". In order to kick my own tush, I looked up how to maximize my efforts so that when I leave the gym I feel spent and as though I really didn't waste my time there. Here are some tricks to get the most out of your workout when you really don't want to be there.
Maximize your cardio calorie burning effort!
- Jumping rope - this kills me, absolutely kills me. On average, this burns 684 calories an hour. (The heavier you are, the more you can burn!) If you can jump rope for an hour, you are a superstar, and little crazy. But what if you do it for 2 minutes in between lifting weights?
- Stationary cycling, moderate effort - on average, this burns at least 556 calories an hour, again, the more you weigh, the more you can burn. When I take my cycling class, I literally fill up the little hand towel with sweat - so, so, gross! But it burns so good!
- Rowing machine - on average, this burns at least 530 calories an hour, for someone under 200 pounds. This machine is kicking my tush, and I don't have the strength to sustain a lengthy workout on it yet, but I'm working on it!
- Elliptical trainer - on average, can burn up to a whopping 800 calories an hour! When I first started working out, I could barely do 10 minutes, now I can go 40 and feel good. Keeping the resistance increased has helped me a lot too.
Maximize weight lifting
- My fantastic trainer at the YMCA told me a secret once. She said that if you were really in a hurry, you could do a slow burn weight lifting routine. Whatever weights you're lifting, do so slowly, to decrease the natural momentum, and increase the tension time on the muscle. But be careful and don't hurt yourself, she also added. Choose and appropriate weight.
This way, if I only want to spend 50 minutes at the gym - 20 minutes on cardio, 10 minutes stretching, and 20 minutes weights, I can choose the most challenging exercises. Or, make up a little circuit training routine, where I do some cardio exercise, some body weight exercises, some weight lifting, then sprinkle in some jump rope inbetween reps. All the while I have my pouty face on, and then later I can pat myself on the back, and remind myself, it isn't that hard, is it?