There’s nothing more frustrating than dropping hours on hours at the gym, pounding treadmill rubber, or banging out 1000’s of crunches and getting absolutely NOTHING to show for it. Like, not even a single ab. I’ve been there. It’s a bottomless pit of suck.
Don’t worry — it’s fixable. You just need to do a little workout reconstruction.
Everybody struggles when they first start. Most people do about a billion things wrong and spin their wheels voraciously in circles until anything changes. Hell, most of the people I talk to and work with still have major issues to correct, despite having a multi-year relationship with fitness. I still lapse and do things wrong.
Mistakes are expected. And that’s because working out is hard. Like really hard, and not just by default based on the amount of sweat you’re manufacturing.
Working out is an acquired skill—an exciting new world founded on complex science—that takes time to fully understand, and longer to master. It’s packed with complicated little nuances and intricacies, the smallest of which can derail a routine or empower it to completely reinvent a physique. Everything from squat depth and foot positioning, to cardio type and intensity, to the types of exercises you’re doing on a regular basis all severely impact results.
And that’s why lackluster results are so common. There’s so much noise about what you should be doing, that the most impactful tactics get watered down. The internet doesn’t help either. Misinformation—especially in a fitness context—is epidemic. Let’s simplify.
Powerful training boils down to the interplay between two main factors:
- Effectiveness. Is your training working over time? Are your workouts focusing on the right things?
- Efficiency. Are your workouts pumping out an optimal yield from the time you’re putting in? In other words, are you maximizing your time? Most people can barely squeeze in 30 minutes/day to exercise intensely — maximizing muscular breakdown, hormone levels, calorie burn, and metabolic shifts in that time are all critical.
OPTIMIZE. We’ve loaded up 14 fitness tips to workout smarter, maximize your results, and avoid the inevitable frustration that comes with (perceived) hard work, sans the results.
Stop wasting your time doing the wrong things.
14 Fitness Tips To Workout SMARTER And Maximize Your Results
1. Intensity, Intensity, Intensity
Infuse a little intensity into EVERY workout. It’s mandatory.
Whether it’s vigorous lifting, HIIT cardio, spinning, or interval training, uber-intense activities elicit a response known as EPOC, or Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (aka afterburn).
Think of EPOC as oxygen debt. Your body needs oxygen to produce ATP and creatine phosphate, two cellular forms of energy that power everything from cell function to muscle contractions. It also uses oxygen to replenish the energy stores in muscle cells, known as glycogen. All of that stored energy is burned (to varying degrees) when you lift weights, sprint, jump, or run for distance.
You can’t perform without it.
After a ridiculously intense workout, the body needs extra oxygen to recover and return to a pre-exercise resting state. To catch up, it increases the rate at which it consumes oxygen (VO2) — that process increases metabolism, calorie burn, and fat-burning ability for up to 48 hours post-workout. It also gradually increases VO2Max, or the max amount of oxygen that your body can use during exercise, which improves cardiovascular fitness and exercise performance.
Translated: You’ll burn significantly more calories during your workout AND you’ll burn more calories when you’re at work, watching TV, sleeping, or out for drinks.
↑ intensity = ↑ EPOC.
Spike your heart rate during every workout. Lift HEAVY. Do compound exercises. Use kettlebells. Slash rest. And absolutely follow #2.
2. Stop Doing Distance Cardio
Unless you’re training for a marathon or long-duration event, or have an infatuation with scenic runs, distance cardio isn’t optimal for body reconstruction. Or performance enhancement. Stop it.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) is the most efficient form of cardio and one of the quickest ways to incinerate fat. One study found that HIIT produces TWICE the fat loss in half the time. It’s that potent.
Instead of banging away on an elliptical for an hour straight—and inevitably going insane from the monotony—sprint it up and throw down for 25.
You’ll see better results, faster, especially because HIIT tends to preserve muscle mass better than steady state cardio does (glycogen, your stored carbs, are the primary energy source; not amino acids). A lot of that comes from a heavy EPOC effect. Additionally, it’s an exceptional way to boost overall health and cardiovascular fitness. HIIT builds power and acceleration, helps improve blood pressure and insulin sensitivity, and increases VO2Max, which subsequently benefits endurance running.
Need a workout? We’ve got 5 killer HIIT protocols teed up.