Below is a short list of strength and fitness hacks to help you not only increase your fitness levels, but also to help build fitness-related habits for this upcoming year.
Measure and Record. This could be as simple as maintaining a notebook with your daily weight, or as complicated as a function-filled excel spreadsheet. Regardless, recording your successes (and even failures) helps you maintain your progress for the long-term. Avoiding measuring because your weight goes up, or your lifts goes down should not be an acceptable practice. This is needed to maintain motivation, and show you where your biggest opportunities lie. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Incorporate fitness periodically throughout your day – Not a gym rat? No problem. One of the tricks that I use is incorporating fitness into sedentary portions of my day. For example, promise yourself to complete 10-20 push-ups or sit-ups at every commercial break. Are you a gamer? Punish every loss or kill with a given number of body squats. The same can be done when watching sporting events. As a touchdown celebration, or a touchdown allowed “penalty” incorporate a certain fitness activity for your given sports-related trigger.
Compete – This one may not be for everyone, but I have found my biggest motivator is always competition. If this is the same for you, find someone that is of similar fitness levels and has similar goals, and create fitness milestones which to race towards. If competition isn’t your motivator, try instead to partner with someone simply to keep you accountable to your goals.
Join a league or start a physical hobby – A lot of people simply hate the idea for working out for working-out-sake. However, this excuse sometimes keeps them from doing anything physical at all. If this sounds like you, consider joining an adult sports team or finding a physically active hobby. Personally I use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as my non-gym fitness outlet, but my friends enjoy basketball leagues, yoga, running clubs, etc. If you’re stumped for ideas…simply go to Groupon and look at their seemingly infinite number of discounted fitness group activities.
Focus on one thing at a time – Trying to take on a new diet and a new fitness routine at the same time can be extremely overwhelming. I recommend focusing on only one when you first start crafting and undertaking your fitness goals. In all honesty, I would focus on diet over fitness when first starting. A poor diet will make even the most intense exercise regimen less effective. Focus on getting your diet inline, before you start taking on a fitness overhaul. This will minimize frustration, and increase the effectiveness of your future workouts. Remember, your fitness timelines are personal, and more importantly lifelong. Set yourself up for success, even if it takes a little longer than you’d like in the beginning.
I found some awesome videos online of unassuming looking people performing awesome acts of functional strength. I’ve embedded the YouTube clips below. Enjoy! I feel a functional strength rabbit hole sneaking up on me…
Awesome Chair Strength Demo
Awesome rock/wall climber strength examples and training
Ironically going to the gym can actually increase your wakefulness. And as others have said it becomes a routine, and just talking yourself into going is the hardest part. Once your there and do almost anything it’s usually easy going.
From personal experience when I have had extended breaks from the gym for trips or injuries it does take a fair amount of time to combat not wanting to go…
Here’s what I’ve found..
Week 1-2, you hate going and it’s a battle.
Week 3-4, it’s not a pain at all, just a matter of fitting it in your schedule.
Week 4 onward…it feels crummy when you miss a day.
The only problem is the reverse of this trend is much quicker…divide these times by two and read the results backwards…honestly though..hate it for two weeks but do it – and you’re golden.
I just found an awesome book on the Russian and East German psychological training methods for their athletes. It was written in the mid 80s and was called Red Gold. Haven’t looked to see if it’s on amazon… But there was some cool ideas/tactics listed. I am still interested in learning a lot more about this topic though.
Another trick that my friends and I have used to stay motivated to workout this past season, was to send Google calendar invites with the proposed workouts for the week. This tactic held us more accountable to working out with eachother, and allowed us to fit in mutually agreeable workout times at the beginning of each week. We didn’t have to memorize the other people’s schedule, we just consulted our calendar.
An added benefit to the the calendar method, is that you set up proscribed times during your week to workout. I’ve found with informal workout times (ex: whenever I get time after work/school) I always schedule over this time when new events pop up throughout the week. Working out should be a high priority in your week — not something that is simply “nice” to do. Working out needs to have equal weight as your work meetings, classes, work, etc. Set these times aside in your week the same as you would for any other event.
One trick that I’ve found that helps me stay motivated to go lifting early in the mornings is to have a shaker bottle pre-made by my bedside of a pre-workout supplement.
Examples of pre-workout supplements that I’ve used are:
Because these products have a moderate amount of caffeine (about a fourth of a venti Starbucks coffee) I get the immediate “lift” I need to jumpstart my morning workout, without it negatively impacting me (making me jittery) on an empty stomach.
Full disclosure: I HATE early morning lifts with a passion, but sometimes my schedule only allows for an early workout. This is the only way for me to trick myself into actually going.
We’ve been able to justify our new video game addiction (Call of Duty), by creating a workout punishment for losing…It’s a very simple game. But it sucks. Cause we (aka: Brian) are not good at Call of Duty.
Every Loss = 25 push-ups
Every negative ratio of Kills/Deaths = 25 pushups.
Ex: If you lose the game, and got killed more times than you killed…guess what…you’re doing 50 pushups.