listen up: you don’t actually have to do more to see better results – here’s why
Hiit. Yoga. Spin. Run. Repeat – if you’re female with the motivation to exercise no doubt this sporadic style of training looks familiar. And while these do all burn calories, a random approach to exercise will produce random results. Instead, use our advice below to train smarter, not longer, and reach your body goals faster.
Part of the reason you’ve become conditioned to flit between exercises faster than members sweating through our Afterburner class is a misplaced desire to chase ‘the next best thing’. Sadly, the next big thing doesn’t exist.
“I spent much of 2016 chasing results in the wrong places,” confessed Amy Hopkinson, a Third Space Soho regular. “I felt tired, emotional and stressed out by the fact that I wasn’t getting leaner or stronger. The more I trained, the worse I felt.”
Not understanding what classes to do, gym plans to follow, or how often you need to train every week are common exercise mistakes. You might think you need to HIIT it hard, when in fact you’d benefit more from a programme that balances strength training, LISS (low-intensity steady state) and dynamic mobility work.
“Scaling back my workouts was terrifying, but I soon realised that my previous training regimen had become pointless: I was locked in a sleep-deprived stress cycle and dragging myself to hard hitting circuit training five times a week only made this worse. It’s taken 8 weeks to calm my mind and de-stress my body but now that I have, I’m finally seeing the results that I want.”
In today’s time of being hyper-stressed the thought of going slower, not harder or faster is a hard one to stomach. But by changing your pace and being more pragmatic with your approach you can turn off the stress switch and flick on fat burn – impossible happen when your body is flooded with anxiety-induced cortisol.
Before you reach for your gym kit again, get up to speed with our ways to maximise your results sans more sweat.
1. Find out your starting point
Achieving your goals is really about getting from point A to B. And while you might lean on the scales to understand point A and set a target B, there are more effective ways to do it. What you weigh is only part of the picture. There are many things that make-up your weight including lean muscle, bones, water and body fat. This is why it’s possible to lose weight, but gain fat. Plus, relying on scale weight alone can be demoralising and enough to make you binge on biscuits if the dial doesn’t change. Instead, get an accurate measurement of your statistics by booking a biometric scan. This simple analysis highlights body fat, visceral fat, lean muscle mass and hydration – the true makers of health.
Tip: Book your appointment for the morning and arrive fasted. If you eat or drink before measurements it can skew the results.
2. Stop warming-up
Start your workouts with movement preparation instead. The outmoded term ‘warming up’ implies simply raising your temperature, often by doing exercises that are in no way related to what you’ll do next. To get the most from your workouts you need to acknowledge what’s happened before you arrived in the gym and what’s about to happen in your session. Just come from a stressful business meeting? You need breathing drills to relax your nervous system. Been sitting at your desk all day? The likelihood is your glutes will need firing up.
Typically, your movement prep will be both dynamic mobility work and activation work – that means both loosening up what is tight and activating what is weak.
Try extending your pre-workout protocol for a week and you’ll notice improvements in range of movement, focus and stability in your lifts.
3. Put down your phone and breathe
In today’s world of constant over-stimulation it’s hard to find a woman who doesn’t suffer from tightness or nagging pain in her shoulders and back, caused by protective neural tension. To counteract the problem – that’s most likely modern life, sadly – take a deep breath. We’ve previously shared why this isn’t a load of hot air < https://www.thirdspace.london/2016/10/how-to-breathe/> so read-up on why.
Tight for time? OK, We’ll explain. Breathing from the top of your lungs – what happens when you’re stressed or spend too much time in one position, like sitting – can cause you to round your shoulders, over extend your lower backs and favour the wrong muscles. Add exercise into the mix and you set yourself up for injury.
Try this breathing drill before your next workout to ease the pressure: https://www.instagram.com/p/BRtaV3ZAkel/?taken-by=lukewtraining
4. Stop stressing about fasted workouts
Really, just stop stressing full stop. Being hungry is stressful and being in this state too often puts you into survival mode. That’s to say, you’ll start to store what you eat as body fat. The timing of meals and snacks, unless you are an Olympic athlete or a physique competitor in the final stages of competition, is largely irrelevant. For the vast majority of women what really matters is the balance of energy in vs energy out. It’s not the one snack, meal or protein shake but what you have over an entire day or week that matters. Listen to your body (and stomach) and fuel your workouts accordingly. No one likes working out when they’re hungry.