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5 Ways To Switch Up Your Workout Routine To Lose More Weight

You’ve been working out a ton and are convinced this is going to be the week that the number on the scale is finally where you want it to be. And then… nope. Womp womp.

Put away that sad trombone — with a few simple changes to your normal routine, you can finally start to see results. In fact, changing it up is basically the secret sauce for making progress — whether you want to lose weight or just get strong AF.

“Your body adapts to your workout, so it’s important to tweak your normal routine so you continue to get the most out of it,” explains strength and conditioning specialist Noam Tamir. Here, some of his favourite ways to switch up your workout if your goal is weight loss.

1. Warm Up (But Really Tho) For Weight Loss

If you jump into your workout without prepping your body first, well, you’re a normal human being. But you won’t be able to perform as optimally (read: burn as many kilojoules), says Tamir — that’s why it’s crucial to begin with a good warm-up.

“Start with a couple of mobility moves, like hip-opener drills, ankle drills, leg swings and neck nods,” recommends Tamir. “All of these will help get the synovial fluid — the fluid inside of your joints — moving, which will help with your mobility overall.”

He also recommends paying some attention to your glutes, which are the biggest muscle in your body — and should be activated before any workout for max results. His activation moves of choice: single-leg bridges, lateral band walks and deadbugs. “If you do just a couple of these moves before you begin, your workout will be much more effective.”

2. Work Interval Training Into Your Cardio Routine

“Interval training helps you burn more kilojoules than you do when you’re exercising in a steady state,” explains Tamir. So if you’re a treadmill junkie, sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 30 — and keep alternating that routine. You can try a similar technique on a bike or an elliptical — basically while doing any form of cardio. “You’ll be working harder when you’re going faster, which will spike your heart rate, and ultimately help you get more from your workout overall,” says Tamir.

READ MORE: Here’s The Super-Simple Way To Count Kilojoules For Weight Loss

3. Focus On Compound Movements

Many of the machines at the gym target one specific muscle group, but if you’re focused on weight loss, your best bet for weight training is to opt for moves that use multiple muscle groups at once. “An example of this would be a squat versus a leg-extension machine,” explains Tamir. “You’re using more muscles overall, which ultimately means you’ll end up burning more kilojoules.”

4. Lift More Weight

Because — you guessed it — you’ll end up burning more kilojoules.“For your upper body, try increasing the weight you’re using by five to 10 percent each week,” says Tamir. “And for your lower body, increase the weight by 10 to 15 percent each week.”

So if you’re lifting five kilos, try increasing the weight by about about half a kilo for your upper body, and about one kilogram for your lower body (depending on the weights you have; it doesn’t have to be exact).

And if you currently do only bodyweight stuff, start using weights. “The key is to choose a weight where you’ll still be able to do your moves with clean form.” (Because going too big and getting injured definitely won’t help you get in better shape.)

READ MORE: 5 Weight Loss Rules From Nutritionists That You Should Break

5. Refuel And Rehydrate

“If you don’t do this, your body won’t get the optimal muscle gain from your workout, which will limit the amount of kilojoules you burn in the long run,” says Tami. In addition to drinking lots of water, he recommends having protein post-workout — something like chocolate milk is great.

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Burn More Kilojoules At The Gym — Without Doing Any Extra Exercise

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You’re doing your 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days, but the scale hasn’t budged in weeks. The solution? Don’t do more exercise – just change how you do it.

The amount of fat you burn during exercise is determined by your weight, age, gender and the amount of muscle mass you have, says Catherine Viljoen, a biokineticist at Virgin Active SA. So there’s no one-size-fits-all approach that’s guaranteed to work, but a few adjustments will go a long way.

Hit The HIIT

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a great way to jolt your metabolism into action. “By alternating between high- and low-intensity training, you burn more kilojoules,” explains Viljoen. “An example of a cardio interval would be one minute of step-ups or star jumps interspersed with two minutes of brisk walking. Ensure you build up a good sweat and increase your breathing and heart rate.”

Flex That Muscle

Another way to up your burn: introduce strength training. A kilo of muscle burns more energy than a kilo of fat, meaning muscular people typically have a higher resting metabolic rate. So if you’ve lost muscle mass as you dropped kilos, it’s time to start rebuilding.

Should You Eat Before Training?

According to Gina Fourie, who has a BSc in dietetics, postgraduate in dietetics and BSc medical honours in exercise science, you should only eat before a high-energy workout, not a medium one. If your workout’s going to be intense, you’ll need the extra energy to sustain you, but if you’re not pushing yourself to the edge of endurance, you don’t need the extra kilojoules – especially if you want to metabolise fat.

What About A Post-Workout Snack?

Recovering muscles need fuel and protein. Prepare a healthy meal or snack, such as a banana with a little peanut butter, to have straight after the workout – this will also prevent you from grabbing a takeaway on your way home.

5 Things I Never Knew About Bodytec That Totally Blew My Mind

1. EMS Doesn’t Actually Hurt

Electro muscle stimulation uses electric impulses to stimulate muscles while doing basic exercise moves. You’re kitted out in a special top and shorts, with a vest over that, a butt band, and arm and leg bands, all of which have electrodes attached to them. These electrodes send the electric impulses to your muscles. It all looks pretty “cyborg-ish” and sounds like it’s going to hurt, but all you feel is a “buzzy” feeling in your body. It’s weird at first, but not sore at all.

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2. A Session Takes Just 20 Mins A Week

EMS training claims to activate up to 90 percent of muscles at the same time. What does this mean? You’re maximising efficiency in your 20-minute training sesh. It’s pretty intese, so the Bodytec trainers don’t recommend more than this per week. Pretty great for all the time-strapped fitsters out there! Also bear in mind that EMS is supposed to be done in conjunction with other sports or exercise routines. The goal is to make you stronger and benefit exercise performance, so it’s defs not a stand-alone workout.

3. It Reaches Deep Into Your Muscles

Two days after a session it feels like I’ve worked out for four hours – it really does reach deep into your muscles. Because of the maximum stimulation, your muscles are getting a harder workout than you could achieve alone. Once you get used to the initial “buzzy” feeling, the electric impulse is ramped up slowly, increasing that stimulation, and working your muscles harder and harder. The more the impulse is ramped up in certain areas (they can do it to individual areas, while keeping others at lower intensity), the more you’ll feel it. My butt hurt like a bitch when they upped the butt impulses!

4. Easy Moves Become Insanely Hard To Do

The movements seem easy, but are a lot harder when you’re hooked up to electrodes! As you’re doing the moves – basic squats, lunges, standing crunches – you can almost feel the impulse pushing back as you extend, bend or clench your muscles. I’ve almost lost my balance a couple of times from the sheer strength of the impulse!

5. I Feel So Much Stronger Than I Thought I Would

I haven’t got a six-pack or rock-hard thinner thighs, but I do feel stronger. For example, I can stay in a pose for longer during yoga – and this may well be due to the Bodytec training.

4 Functional Moves That’ll Give You Next-Level Body Benefits

Here’s the thing about fitness: it’s not just about creating that December body. Picture 70-year-old you. Is she still running five kays, gardening and hiking? If your answer is yes – and it should be! – don’t eliminate functional moves from your regimen. Here are our faves.

1. Pull-Up

This is a beast of functionality, working your back, arms and core.

Do it right: Make sure you brace your core. “It’ll keep your midsection and spine in a single position, reducing the strain you put on your back,” says Cameron Coomer, physiotherapist at Celia Smith & Associates.

Go easy: “Perfecting the pull-up can take anywhere from a few months to years to achieve on your own,” says Emma Jooste, personal trainer and co-owner of Warrior Warehouse in Cape Town. Start basic with lat pulldowns and TRX rows three times a week. As you get stronger, loop a thick resistance band around the bar and step into it so it supports some of your weight.

Go hard: Already able to bang out a few reps? When you can do more than 10, hold a dumbbell between your feet.

Gear up: Go for snug-fitting gloves that provide grip without bulk or chafing.

maxed-gloves

Cash-strapped? Try these budget Maxed gym gloves (pictured), R140, MrP Sport. Flush? Check out the AT Gym gloves by Puma Performance, R399 at Zando.

2. Box Jump

Trying to hit your max heart rate? Ditch the treadmill and go for box jumps: “They build muscle and are good for power development,” says Gareth Corbett, co-owner of Switch Playground, where box jumps are a staple. In one jump, you’ll shape your butt, thighs and calves, plus build explosive power that’ll help you hit a ParkRun PB.

Do it right: Corbett sees box jumps being butchered all the time, which can cause injury to your back and knees. Make sure you lift off with both feet and jump evenly, landing softly on the box, he says.

Go easy: First-timer? Get a lower box. “Boxes come in sets of three, so go for the lowest,” says Corbett. If you’re not ready to jump up, try stepping up, squat on the box, then step down and squat again.

Go hard: If you’re hard core, try the one-legged jump – push off and land on one leg, step down, then swap legs. It isolates the leg muscles, so you’ll burn more ’joules per jump. Not ready? Add a weight to a two-legged jump.

Gear up: For explosive moves, you want a flat-soled shoe. “Any trainer is perfect,” says Corbett. “What you don’t want is a running shoe. The sole is high while the forefoot is low, so you’re off balance. Flat-soled shoes give you more stability.”

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Check out these budget Interval Gym And Studio Trainers, R400 at MrP Sport.

3. Stability-Ball Pikes

Stability ball pikes are great for targeting the deepest recesses of your lazy core. But they’re also ace for strengthening and stretching your hamstrings and lower back, says Corbett. Your shoulders get in on the action too. In fact, from your triceps to lats and butt, your whole body will be on fire.

Do it right: Bad form could injure your back. Make sure your hips don’t sink and remember to brace your core. Roll the ball over your feet to your toes, leading with your abs and squeezing your glutes.

Go easy: “Core strength is essential, so loads of abdominal work will aid in the process,” says Corbett. Start with planks on the ground, then with your feet on the ball and finally practice jackknives – from a plank with feet on the ball, tuck your knees into your chest.

Go hard: Try adding a push-up before the pike.

Gear up: Worried about flashing your boobs? Stick to a form-flattering top that supports movement.

mrp-sport-vest

These seamless knit racerback vests are snug, and budget-friendly at R70, MrP Sport.

4. Squat

Squats build that bootay, but they also strengthen your legs and core. Plus, stronger glutes (muscles in your butt cheeks) help you run faster and reduce your injury risk.

Do it right: One sure sign you’re squatting, but won’t make gains is if your knees are over your toes. Make sure your upper back is straight – not drooping forward – and that knee-to-toe alignment should fall into place, says Jooste. Another sign you’re doing it wrong? Not squeezing your glutes on your way back up.

Go easy: If you’re new, try squatting slowly without weights, watching yourself in the mirror to check your form. Injured? Opt for donkey kicks or bridges instead.

Go hard: “Do a combination of squats and lunges and implement variations,” says Jooste. Try a complex of squat jumps, Bulgarian-split squats and jumping lunges to really up that burn.

Gear up: Can’t help but notice the plumber’s crack in front of you and hoping you’re not giving the entire gym an eyeful? Look for tights with a high, broad waistband and fabric that doesn’t turn sheer when it stretches or darken with sweat.

movepretty-leggings

Our pick? Movepretty The Zia high-waisted pocket leggings, R899 at Zando. The pocket for your iPod or smartphone is everything!

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