We searched far and wide for some of the best fitness tips for men. Many times, we put a lot of effort into our fitness, but actually go about it the wrong way. From the length of time, we spend working out, to the exact workout we are doing, to the equipment we are using. We have compiled the best fitness tips for you, to ensure that your workout sessions are as effective as possible.
1. Build Better Abs
Don’t work your abdominal muscles every day. “Physiologically, your abs are like any other muscle in your body,” says David Pearson, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., an exercise scientist at Ball State University. Train them only 2 or 3 days a week.
2. Keep Muscles Limber
If you’re under 40, hold your stretches for 30 seconds. If you’re over 40, hold them for 60 seconds. As you reach your 40s, your muscles become less pliable, so they need to be stretched longer.
3. Grow Muscle, Save Time
Keep your weight workouts under an hour. After 60 minutes, your body starts producing more of the stress hormone cortisol, which can have a testosterone-blocking, muscle-wasting effect.
4. Exercise in Order
Use dumbbells, barbells, and machines — in that order. “The smaller, stabilizer muscles you use with dumbbells fatigue before your larger muscle groups,” says Charles Staley, a strength coach in Las Vegas. So progress to machines, which require less help from your smaller muscles, as you grow tired.
5. Strengthen Your Core
Don’t be afraid of situps. We’ve changed our tune on these, and here’s why: Situps increase your range of motion, which makes your abdominals work harder and longer. (Doing crunches on a Swiss ball or with a rolled-up towel under your lower back has a similar effect.) Just avoid situps with anchored feet, which can hurt your lower back.
6. Swim Faster
To build speed in swimming, develop your ankle flexibility. Flexible feet will act like flippers and propel you faster through the water. To increase your flipper flex, do this: Sit on the floor with your shoes off. Extend your legs in front of you, heels on the floor. Point your toes straight out as far as possible, then flex them toward your shins as far as you can. Repeat for 1 minute.
7. Buy Shoes That Fit
Shop for workout shoes late in the day. That’s when your feet are the largest. Make sure there’s a half-inch of space in front of your longest toe, and that you can easily wiggle your toes. Then slip off the shoes and compare them with your bare feet. If each shoe isn’t obviously wider and longer than your foot, go half a size bigger.
8. Kill Your Excuse
If you think you’re too busy to exercise, try this experiment: For one day, schedule a time to work out, and then stick to it — even if you can exercise for only 10 minutes. “At the end of the day, ask yourself if you were any less productive than usual,” says John Jakicic, Ph.D., an exercise psychologist at the Brown University school of medicine. The answer will probably be no — and your favorite excuse will be gone.
9. Kill the Fitness Pill
Don’t pop a pill after you work out. Researchers at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences found that ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) were no more effective than a placebo in relieving post-exercise muscle soreness. More importantly, they say the drugs may actually suppress muscle growth when taken after a fitness workout.
10. Blow Off Your Belly
Exhale forcefully at the top of the movement when you do abdominal crunches. It forces your abs to work harder.
11. Build Big Biceps
Bend your wrists to work your biceps harder. That is, extend them backward slightly — and hold them that way — while you do arm curls.
12. Heal Faster
Don’t exercise when you’re sick — unless your symptoms are above the neck. And even then you might do better taking a day off. “Your body will use its resources to heal itself, not build muscle and endurance,” says Alwyn Cosgrove, C.S.C.S., a trainer in Santa Clarita, California.
13. Pick Up Your Pace
Increase the speed of your fitness running strides — not their length — to get faster. Your foot should always land under your body, rather than out in front of it, and you should push off with the toes of your rear leg for propulsion.
14. Pay Now, Build Later
Pay your fitness trainer in advance. “You’ll be more likely to follow through on fitness sessions,” says Mejia.
15. Stretch for Strength
Between sets, take 20 to 30 seconds to stretch the muscle you just worked. Boston researchers found that men who did this increased their strength by 20 percent.