If you want to burn more calories in order to lose more weight, you need to put in more effort every time you work out. There are a couple of simple ways that you can apply in your workouts to increase its intensity whether it’s your cardio workout or weight training.
In general, one of the best ways to increase the intensity of your exercise is to reduce the rest periods in between sets or routines. My cardiologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center, and so did my trainer at Excel Fitness in Manila, told me that when you reduce your rest periods in between routines, you maintain a higher heart rate. That usually results in faster calorie burning and one of the most determining factors that you are burning more calories is that you usually sweat more.
For weight training, there are a couple of things you can do to increase the intensity of your sets. The most obvious is to increase the weight you are lifting. This will provide more resistance thus your body will exert more effort to complete that set. Your muscles will grow stronger and would most likely result to higher metabolic rates which translates to faster calorie burning.
Next, you can increase the number of repetitions. Don’t go overboard by doubling the number of repetitions right off the bat. Increase it gradually so that your body can adjust to the added stress much easier. Adding 2 to 5 repetitions per set is quite ideal.
When doing weight training, a huge majority of the routines target specific muscle groups. Some of them may actually be compound sets that still utilize other muscle groups. Among the most common compound sets are chest/biceps and triceps/shoulders. To better explain, it’s like when you do an exercise that uses the chest muscles, it somehow utilizes a bit of your biceps to aid in lifting the weight.
It’s understandable though that at some point, you may use other muscles to help you complete a set especially when you’re already tired or if the weight is heavier than what you usually lift. But as much as possible, maintain the stress on the targeted muscle group. This will help that specific muscle group to grow stronger more efficiently.
When it comes to cardio workouts, one of the best things to do is to increase the duration of your exercise. However, make sure that the intensity remains at least the same or even higher. Do it gradually. First, add 2 to 3 minutes and then see if your body can do it. If not, then don’t force it.
Did you know that you can increase the intensity of your movements too? Instead of walking, try running. Instead of lunging, try to jump. While doing some leg cardio exercises, add some motions with your arms or hips/thighs. You can also hold 2 light dumbbells (around 2-5 lbs or so on each hand) to increase the resistance of your cardio workout. Just take care not to drop them to avoid injuries.
Modify your current cardio workout or do a different routine to alleviate boredom and being stagnant. If you’re doing the same cardio workout, let’s say for 6 months straight, there’s a tendency that you’d get bored. Also, your body will most likely get used to the workout to the point that you’re exerting less effort in completing it thus burning fewer calories.
However, don’t forget that not everyone is capable of increasing the intensity of their workouts. Before doing such, make sure that you consider your physical condition. Do you have injuries? Is it safe for you to exert more effort in relation to a medical condition that you have?
I strongly suggest that you ask your doctor and your trainer to evaluate your routines to see if they are safe for you. I tried to do this a couple of times and I did lose more weight in a shorter period of time. However, there were times when I went overboard and doubled my effort and got really weak afterward.
What I have learned is that if you feel something strange or if you feel pain somewhere in your body while doing higher intensity workouts, stop immediately. Do not force it just to lose extra calories. Do not shock your body by increasing the intensity immensely. Allow your body to adjust by gradually increasing intensity. Evaluate yourself with the help of professionals as much as possible before exerting extra effort.