10 Fitness Hacks From Y Trainers

Oct 25, 2016, 09:37 AM by

The fitness world can be an intimidating place, and finding a routine that works best for you can be a challenge. Here are a few tips and tricks from Y trainers to help you navigate through your fitness journey.

  1. Always keep a gym bag ready, even if you don’t plan to workout

We all know the feeling: Five o’clock rolls around, and by the time you make it all the way home to pack your workout bag you’ve lost your motivation to hit the gym. Why not cut out the extra trip and keep a bag ready to go in your car? Be sure to pack active wear, exercise shoes, headphones, a water bottle, a healthy, non-perishable snack, a change of clothes and whatever else you can’t go without during your workout. That way you’ll be ready to go whenever the time is right — no time wasted, no extra hassle, no excuses.

  1. Fuel up and stay hydrated

This may seem like common sense, but it’s something that is both very important and often overlooked. In order to perform your best during a workout, your body needs plenty of water and nutrient rich food to use as energy. That comes as no surprise, but many people don’t realize how important it is to rehydrate and refuel after you finish a workout. Your muscles need sustenance to rebuild themselves after a workout, and without healthy food to fuel them they will instead eat away at their own tissues in a process known as catabolism. You don’t want to let all that hard work go to waste, so make sure to have some protein and complex carbohydrates after a good sweat.

  1. Try high intensity interval training (HIIT) for quick cardio workouts

If you picture monotonous jogging on a treadmill when you think of cardio, think again. For a quick, efficient cardio workout, try alternating between intervals of low intensity effort and high intensity effort on a rowing machine, stair stepper or elliptical. If you really want to mix it up with a combination cardio and toning workout, alternate between two different exercises such as jumping jacks and burpees. This method will raise your heart rate into the anaerobic zone, resulting in a more effective workout and giving you the added benefit of the “after burn”.

  1. Alternate between exercises that use different muscle groups

To make the most of your time in the gym, avoid standing around in between exercise sets. Sure, your muscles need a rest before you start another round of squats, so why not do a quick set of pushups while your legs recover? This method will save you time, keep your heart rate up and strengthen a wider variety of muscle groups — a win, win, win.

  1. Use your playlist as a timer

Do you ever find yourself constantly checking the clock during your workout? Try using your music as a timer instead. Create a few playlists that run for the amount of time you plan to workout and as long as the music is grooving, you keep moving. You could even make multiple playlists to separate your workout between strength training, flexibility, cardio and more.

  1. Pop into a new exercise class

Following the same workout routine day after day can become tedious. Mix up your training and try something you’ve never done. Maybe you’ve always wanted to give yoga a go, or maybe those hot summer days leave you yearning for the pool. The possibilities are endless. Not only will you build strength in areas that you otherwise might rarely use, you may even fall in love with a new hobby.

  1. Ladies, don’t be afraid of bulking up

Many women tend to avoid lifting heavy weights for fear that it will make them look “bulky.” Contrary to popular belief, this is far from the truth as long as you fuel your body with the nutrients it needs. Just a few more pounds of muscle mass will burn hundreds more calories per day with no extra effort. Essentially, muscles will take the place of fat, leaving you looking lean and toned without going up a size.

  1. Stretch after working out

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it is certainly worth mentioning since it is extremely important. Taking the time to stretch after a workout will help to prevent lactic acid from pooling in your muscles, which is what causes that sore ache you feel the day after a tough workout. Stretching also ensures that your muscles maintain a good range of motion. Though you may not even notice, over time your muscles will get tighter and tighter, limiting your mobility and increasing the risk of injury. Spend just a few minutes working on your flexibility after a workout, and your body will thank you.

  1. Exercise again to reduce soreness

Maybe you forgot to stretch after yesterday’s workout and you woke up today feeling stiff and sore. Even though your body is telling you otherwise, the best way to get rid of your soreness is actually to work those muscles again. Movement will break up the lactic acid that has pooled due to muscle metabolism, and flush it out faster than your body would if you take time to rest. A little pain today will mean more relief tomorrow.

  1. YMCA fitness room staff are certified trainers

Do I push there, or pull here? Exercise equipment can be confusing, and many times there’s no one around to ask… except at the Y. That’s right, those weigh room staff members are not just there to clean up towels and straighten up weights, they are actually certified fitness trainers. Any time you have a question about equipment, proper form or anything fitness related, don’t hesitate to ask.

No matter what stage of their fitness journey, everyone could use a few helpful hints. Take it from the experts — try out these fitness hacks to make your workout easier, more effective and more fun!