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(Contributed by Man Sports)
If the last few years fell short of motivating you into six pack abs, then you might benefit from a few fitness hack tools in 2020. They help remove the roadblocks between you and your fitness goal and optimize the effort you’re already giving. These fitness hacks are the foundation for success when setting out to achieve your fitness goals. Each fitness hack applied will give you a strong base to build a routine that will stay with you as you grow from a beginner to an expert in the gym.
Fitness Hack #1 – The Workout Journal
A foundation tool to become your best self is through the use of a workout journal or log. Tracking your workouts, logging the weight you used per set, how many reps you did, and additional notes about the lift that you feel will be important next time you hit that exercise in your routine. Tracking this data will assist you in determining your goals the following week. The journal is an ESSENTIAL TOOL for you to have in order to make sure you’re progressing.
Fitness Hack #2 – Warming Up
The goal of warming up is to prepare your body for the activity ahead. *Note – there are 2 different kinds of warm-ups, the “GENERAL” and the “SPECIFIC”. The “general” warm-up consists of movements that do not have a specific motion to the actual activity you’re about to perform i.e. doing jumping jacks while preparing for chest press. The “specific” warm-up mimics movements that are very close to the actual activity. I highly recommend completing a “general” warm-up before hitting a weight lifting workout. For example: complete a 5-minute treadmill jog to increase your heart rate and get your blood moving. Before each exercise, I recommend completing a “specific” warm-up like push-ups or bodyweight exercises before training bench press or squats.
Fitness Hack #3 – Form Dictates Effectiveness
Proper form during an exercise is probably the biggest issue for beginners and even experienced athletes. To0 often, we fall under the temptation of watching how others perform an exercise, or we are misinformed by some “bro” in the gym regarding the proper way to execute a lift. Improper form is the quickest path to injury and an ineffective workout. Although some might be doing it right, MOST are doing it wrong (harsh but true). Finding the proper form is right at your fingertips through Google, YouTube, or even a workout app. It is more important to execute 10 reps of a lighter weight with perfect form than 1 rep of ANY weight with improper form.
Fitness Hack #4 – Do You Speak A Fitness Dialect?
Some of us don’t understand certain descriptive terms used in the “fitness world” describing a routine or exercise. Below is a crash course on terminology associated within the fitness community.
REPETITIONS (REPS): The number of times an exercise is performed in a set.
SETS: The series of repetitions needed to complete the exercise example: 3 sets of 10 reps means that you will do 10 reps of the exercise on 3 separate occasions.
SUPERSET: Superset is a combination of 2 exercises performed back to back with no rest in between.
DROP-SET: After performing an exercise with a specific weight, you immediately decrease weight and perform the exercise again without resting. The most effective way to do a drop set is with a partner to eliminate the amount of rest in between sets.
NEUTRAL GRIP: Meaning your palms are facing each other. In this grip, your thumbs are pointing up. For example, a low pulley row using the traditional V-bar is an exercise that uses a neutral grip. Chest dips on parallel bars also use a neutral grip.
SUPINATED GRIP: Palms are facing up, commonly known as a reverse grip. In this grip, your thumbs are pointing outward and away from one another. For example, a close grip chin-up using a reverse grip (palms up) is an exercise that uses a supinated grip.
Fitness Hack #5 – Just Do It
The toughest part to working out is making the effort to step into the gym. Fitting regular exercise into your daily schedule may seem hard at first. But you can start slowly, and separate your exercise time into chunks. Even doing 10 minutes at a time is fine. You can work your way up to doing the recommended amount of exercise. How much exercise you require depends on your age and health.
Sean Sarantos, Certified Fitness Master Trainer/Dog Lover