Ultimate fitness guide

29 August 2017 by
First published: 15 August 2017

Ultimate fitness guide

The ultimate fitness guide will give you fresh ideas for workouts, lay the foundations for fitness and motivate you to keep going on those days when you need a little kick up the backside.

If you’re looking to get fit, we can help you get started. From boosting strength to increasing stamina, we’ve got the expert advice that will help you reach your fitness goals.

Your ultimate guide to fitness includes:

  1. The latest hot workouts everyone’s talking about
  2. Why you should lift weights
  3. Our favourite must-do classic exercises
  4. The best ways to beat a plateau
  5. Online fitness
  6. Getting motivated
  7. Fitness on a budget
  8. Reasons to do yoga
  9. Fitness and fashion

 

1. The latest hot workouts everyone’s talking about

Since fitness went from niche to mainstream in what seems like the blink of an eye, the industry has been moving at an incredibly fast pace. Don’t worry if you can’t keep up, though – that’s what we’re here for.

Gone are the days of dragging yourself to the gym to half-heartedly work your way through a boring workout. Instead, we have the luxury of choosing between so many exciting ways to work out – if you’re in need of some inspo, check out our stories on The evolution of spinningHIIT trainingWhy you should take up boxing and 5 reasons to do yoga if you work out. What a time to be alive!

The lowdown on boutique studios

One of the hottest ways to work out now is by paying a visit to the nearest boutique studio. From cool merch on sale to super-luxe showers, changing rooms and equipment, these are the places to be seen – and get fit.

They typically offer only a few kinds of classes – but they really nail them, offering fitness lovers the opportunity to take part in workouts that they’d otherwise skip if they were just hitting the gym.

Think spin classes with banging tunes, high-energy boxing classes that don’t involve taking a punch and gruelling – but rewarding – treadmill sessions.

Our favourites are 1Rebel, Blok and Core Collective, to name a few. Read more about these fitness destinations and how they can offer the best cardio fix classes.

The best part of boutique fitness? Even if your local area doesn’t offer one of these swanky studios, it’s truly shaken up the fitness scene across the country, forcing health clubs to up their game, too.

2. Why you should lift weights

Compared to five years ago, casual gym-goers and fitness enthusiasts are much more welcoming when it comes to lifting weights these days. That being said, we still often hear the echo of people (women, especially) voicing concerns about heavy weights leading to bulkiness and weight gain – so it’s time to air this all out once and for all.

Lifting weights should be part of your training routine, and it’s not only for the reasons you’re thinking. Sure, it’ll get you strong. But it’ll also burn fat and speed up your metabolism. Throw in a host of health benefits and you’ve pretty much got a no-brainer. You can find out more with our 5 reasons to lift weights.

Easy ways to beat gym intimidation

We get it, though – starting a new way of working out can be intimidating sometimes, but there’s no need to be scared of the weights room.

To help you ease into lifting weights, we’ve put together 5 mistakes you’re making in the weights room – which should help you get your gym etiquette in check so you can squat, deadlift and chest press with confidence.

Speaking of squats (it’s a must-do when it comes to weights), check out our 5 steps to the perfect squat, which will help you nail the ever-popular move in no time.

3. Our favourite must-do classic exercises

Sure, checking out the latest fitness trends is fun and keeps you interested, but when it comes to working out, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Whether your goal is fat loss, body confidence or stress relief, you should consider hitting the weights. One of the best things to happen to the fitness industry was when women finally shook the misconception that weights weren’t for us – and since the ‘strong over skinny’ mantra came into play, we’ve hit the ground running and can’t imagine life without it. Don’t believe us? Read more on why we love weight training.

Weight lifting is important for a bunch of reasons, but did you know that building lean muscle through weight training increases your metabolism, which in turn boosts your rate of fat burn? We’ve put together a guide on how to lose fat with weight-training to explain further.

Another reason we love lifting weights is the satisfying feeling of watching the numbers go up on the barbell, which works wonders for confidence, too.

The classics

So is there a pecking order when it comes to the exercises? Big, compound lifts give you way more bang for your buck. Think squats, deadlifts, press-ups and burpees – which all work many muscle groups at once as well as the core.

You can hit the weights room to do these, or incorporate them into HIIT circuits to also get a cardio fix while you’re at it. If you need help with this, then just check out our guide to HIIT training. The options are endless – but remember, maintaining good form and using a challenging weight are both important if you’re serious about results.

4. The best ways to beat a plateau

Once you’ve got the fitness ball rolling, it’s important not to get too comfortable. Staying on top of your routine will ensure progress doesn’t come to a halt – you wouldn’t want your hard efforts to go to waste, would you?

You can spot a plateau in a number of ways. You might notice that you don’t seem to be getting stronger or faster anymore, or you might not look or feel as good as you did when you first started seeing a change.

That’s okay – luckily, there are a few things you can do to shake up your workouts, and consequently start seeing results again. In fact, here are 5 ways to blast through your plateau. You’re welcome!

The easiest thing to do? Change your workouts. If you’re doing a ton of cardio, then switch over to weight training, and vice versa. Do this every six weeks or so to trick your body, preventing it from adapting to the style of training you’re doing.

The cardio vs weights debate

Less drastically, you can even switch from one type of cardio to another (such as from running to boxing) or from one way of using resistance exercises to another (perhaps by incorporating plyometrics into your session).

There are pros and cons to both cardio and weights as you can read here in our cardio vs weights debate – so rest assured you’re not wasting your time either way.

Another way you can smash through a plateau is to try working out at a different time of day. If you’re used to hitting the gym after work, it might be worth rising early to try morning sessions for a while. These little tweaks can have big results.

5. Online fitness

You can do almost anything online these days, from banking to dating – so why wouldn’t online fitness be a thing, too?

From virtual classes to online personal training, fitness is just a tap or click away these days.

Want to get zen? Jump in on a yoga class through your computer screen. Need inspo for a circuit? Check out a training app that will give you the guidance you need.

Our five top online fitness classes should give you a few ideas, while these best apps to boost fitness might just be the helping hand you need. Whether you’re a cardio, weights or dance enthusiast, technology is your new friend in fitness.

6. Getting motivated

In theory, we all want to be in shape, ooze confidence and boast strength. But sometimes, the hard work is getting ourselves in the right frame of mind to start making the gains necessary. That’s where these 10 ways to find workout motivation might come in handy, or this motivation masterclass.

Making your social media feeds positive and motivational is also a good tip. Many of us head over to Twitter or Instagram as soon as we wake up, so scrolling through the feeds of these 10 motivational Instagrammers could help you get laced up quicker than you thought.

Our Q&A with Sonja Moses, one of our fit idols, could also inspire you to get your butt down to the gym instead of lazing around on the sofa, too.

 7. Fitness on a budget

We’re firm believers that fitness should be accessible for everyone. Regardless of your goal, fitness level or financial situation, you should be able to get a sweat on any day you like.

Gym memberships can be expensive, so we’ve got you covered with our 5 ways to be frugal with fitness. Working out shouldn’t break the bank, and with our 10 ways to work out on a budget, it really won’t!

We even think that you should look and feel your best without splashing the cash – so we’ve revealed our style secrets, too, with 5 ways to go gym luxe on a budget. No one will ever know!

8. Reasons to do yoga

If you’ve not joined the yoga revolution yet, you’re missing out. From the outside, yoga can seem slow-paced, meditative and calming – and it is! But that’s not all it is. There are loads of different styles of yoga to suit different needs, and you can find your perfect yoga flow here.

We especially love the complementary effects it has for those who, like us, enjoy hitting the gym hard. Putting your body through its paces in a HIIT session or on a run can take its toll – but yoga can help combat this. Our 5 reasons to do yoga if you work out lays it all out on the mat for you.

Don’t know where to start? Try one of the best new yoga classes – what have you got to lose?

9. Fitness and fashion

If, like us, you’re donning sportswear more than anything else these days, then it’s important that your workout wardrobe reflects who you are.

Fitness and fashion have forged a strong relationship over the years, and if you’re looking for tips on how to merge the two, just read up on these 5 fitness-friendly fashion trends. From tennis sport luxe fashion to how to cycle to work and still look fashionable, we’re always here to answer your sweat-in-style needs.