How to Treat and Prevent Runner’s Knee

female runner suffering from knee pain

Runners knee can affect anyone, from beginner runners who are just starting out to elite athletes trying to achieve their next personal best.

If you’re looking for practical solutions for relieving and avoiding this common overuse running injury, then you’re in the right place.

Today I’m going to share with you a simple step-by-step runners knee injury treatment and prevention program that can help put a stop to the condition for good.

By the end of this post you will know all you need about:

  • The exact definition of runners knee and its symptoms, and causes,
  • The best treatment options for runner’s knee,
  • How to get back safely to running after runners knee, and
  • The right preventative measures you can take so you no longer have to endure another (or your first) runner’s knee nightmare.

So are you excited? Then let’s get the ball rolling

Runner’s Knee Explained

Standing for a number of conditions affecting the knee, such as Patellar Tendinitis, Chondromalacia Patella, and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome, or PFPS for short, Runner’s knee is a general term that’s been used to describe pain and tenderness around and/or below the kneecap.

PFPS is the most Common

Patellofemoral pain syndrome (what a mouthful!), is the most common form of runner’s knee, accounting for about 20 percent of all running injuries, according to study.

Note: This whole post is mainly focused on patellofemoral pain syndrome.

In future posts, I’ll be dealing other conditions affecting the knee.

That’s why in this post, I’ll be using the terms PFPS and runner’s knee interchangeably, but please keep in mind that they are not the same thing.

Runners Knee Symptoms

The primary symptom is mild pain around, and below the top of the kneecap, typically toward the center of the back of the knee where the kneecap and thighbone meet.

The pain is, in most cases, mild at the first stages and may be only felt during running (or while doing other high impact exercises), but the pain becomes increasingly more intense not only during running but also after a workout.

Since the knee is a joint—Read: it moves around a lot—pinpointing the exact painful spot can prove difficult.

Nevertheless, by and large, Runner’s Knee is described as an aching pain behind and/or around the kneecap.

To make sure you actually have PFPS, you may need to visit a doctor to give you a thorough physical exam.

In some cases, X-rays and MRIs—Magnetic Resonance Imaging)—and other tests are needed for a complete assessment.

But in most cases, if you are a runner, and you started experiencing the above symptoms, rest assured that you have runner’s knee, and it’s time to step back from running and treat the condition before you do more damage to the cartilage.

You may also experience swelling and/or popping or cracking sensations in the knee.

Additional Resource – Can you run again after knee replacement

Runners Knee – The Injury Process

At the root level, runners knee develops when the patella (the kneecap) tracks incorrectly over the femoral groove, which a groove in the thighbone—as you use your knee.

Under normal conditions, the patella rests in the femoral groove and glides effortlessly up and down as you bend and straighten your knee.

But when the patella is misaligned—or tracking out of its normal range— it can irritate the nerves around the kneecap and damage the cartilage beneath the patella, leading to knee pain and eventually, runners knee.

Not Just Runners

As I have already stated, Runners’ Knee is the most common overuse injury among runners, but it can also strike any athlete in a variety of fields—especially sports that require plenty of cutting and sharp lateral movements, such as skiing, basketball, and tennis, or any type of sport that’s arduous activity on the legs.

Runners Knee Causes

Pinpointing a single cause of runner’s knee may prove elusive.

There are so many factors that can lead to the condition.

Here are some of the causes:

Overuse. This is the most common cause.

The repetitive high impact nature of running—and other high impact activities that are strenuous on the knees—can irritate the nerves around kneecap and damage the tendons.

Misalignment. When the patella—kneecap—is slightly out of its correct position—in other words it’s out of alignment—running and other high impact activities that require a lot knee bending and twisting can wear down the cartilage of the kneecap, leading to pain and damage to the joints.

Muscle weakness. Muscle imbalances in the legs can also lead to the condition.

Weak glutes, hip abductors, and quadriceps muscles can reduce support and stability around the knees, which forces the kneecap to track out of alignment.

Muscle tightness. Tight hamstrings and calf muscles can put pressure on the knee, resulting in misalignment of the kneecap, thus increasing kneecap friction and pain.

Add to this the repetitive high impact nature of running and you have a recipe for runners knee.

Foot problems. If you have flat feet—also known as fallen arches or overpronation—this anatomical condition can overstretch the muscles and tendons of your legs, resulting in knee pain and irritation.

An unusual foot position forces the foot to roll inwards which significantly changes the way the forces go through the knee

Direct trauma. This is when you receive a direct trauma to the knee, such like a blow or a fall.

The shock impact can dislocate the kneecap, or even move it out of place, forcing it to mal-track over the femoral groove.

How to Treat Runner’s Knee

If you have runners knee, then there is no perfect answer to when your knee will be healed.

Nevertheless, to speed up the healing process, do the following.

Stop Running

This is obvious.

Stop doing anything, including running and other high impact exercises, that leads to knee pain, but feel free to do as much exercise as you can do pain-free.

Take as many recovery days (or weeks) as you need.

If you don’t want to stop exercising, then opt for cross training activities with minimum impact on the knee.

Join a yoga class, strength train or join a aqua jogging class.

Just because you have runners knee don’t mean that you should fall off the training wagon, and turn into a couch potato.

Ice your Knee

Ice therapy can help you assuage pain and reduce the swelling.

Do it for 10 to 15 minutes three to four times per day until the pain is gone.

Use cold packs or ice wrapped in a towel.

Compress The Knee

Support the injured knee by using sleeves, straps or an elastic bandage to accelerate the healing process and reduce pain.

Elevate your Knee

Another measure you can take is to keep the knee raised up higher then you chest level by elevating it on a pillow when you are sitting or lying down.

Take Anti-inflammatory Pills

I will only recommend that you take pills if the pain was too much to bear.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, like Aleve, Advil, or most commonly Ibuprofen, will help with the swelling and the pain—especially if you needed more pain relief.

Just be careful. These drugs—like any other drug—have a dark side.

They can boost the risk of bleeding and ulcers—only used when your doctor says so or in cases of severe pain.

See a Doctor

In case your knee did not get well with the above steps, and the pain persists, then you may need to see a physician and have a professional examine your knee for a thorough medical evaluation.

In most cases, runners knee can be easily treated provided that you spot it early on and take the necessary action steps on the spot.

Severe Runners Knee Cases

In some severe cases of runner’s knee, the above steps may not help as much.

So what to do then?

Well, severe cases of the runner may need immediate surgery to fix the damage.

A surgeon could take out the injured cartilage or mend the position of the patella.

Hopefully, you will never have to endure severe cases of runner’s knee.

This condition—and most other running injuries—can be easily treated—when spotted at the right time and before they get any worse—and with the implementation of the right preventative strategies.

Additional resource – Your guide to ITBS

How to Get Back Running after Runner’s Knee

Here are the three keys to return safely to running after runner’s knee

Take your Time

Returning back to running, of course, will depend on how severe you damaged your knee.

Thus, it’s hard to guess how much recovery time you will need, especially when you put into consideration the biomechanical causes of the condition.

You cannot fix your muscles imbalances or running mechanics overnight.

So this cannot be rushed up. No one can

For instance, you may only need a few days off if you spot runners’ knee early, but if you have been running through pain for a while, you may need a lot longer.

But as a general guideline, full recovery from runner’s knee can take from four to eight weeks (or even more in severe cases) of no irritating activities—including running and other activities that require a lot of knee bending and twisting.

To stay on the safe side, opt for cross-training activities that don’t aggravate the pain and require minimum knee twisting and effort.

Take up aqua jogging, swimming, and the like.

And if a cross-training activity leads to knee pain, you shouldn’t be doing it.

The same approach applies for other knee injuries such as ITBS and patellar tendonitis.

Restart Slowly

Depending on how long you were out of the running field, it will take you to get back to running the way you used to.

A loss of cardio base and stamina is expected after a moderate layoff—even for just a couple of weeks.

Restart your running engine carefully and slowly.

Don’t force it.

Adopt a beginner’s runner mindset.

Fix the Root-Cause

Whether the root cause of your injury was biomechanical or any other cause, you will need to continue on working on it until it poses no future threats.

So please keep in mind that if you don’t strive to gradually fix the root-cause, it won’t just repair itself.

That was my mistake.

And please don’t repeat my mistake.

Additional Resource – Overpronation vs Underpronation

 

 

How to Increase Running Speed: 10 Effective Strategies

runner trying to Increase Running Speed

Ready to unlock the secrets of becoming a faster runner? You’re in for a treat because this is the ultimate guide to boosting your running speed.

Whether you’re a newbie getting ready for your first 5K or a seasoned marathoner looking to shave precious seconds off your time, improving your speed should be right at the top of your priority list. Believe me, I’ve been there.

I used to think that running more and more miles was the key to becoming faster. So, I hit the pavement, pounding out mile after mile, expecting my speed to magically skyrocket. But let me tell you, frustration quickly set in when I realized I wasn’t getting any faster.

But here’s the exciting part. Once I discovered some game-changing strategies that I’m about to share with you, my running speed took off like a rocket. And it happened in a matter of months! It’s incredible how a simple shift in your training approach can make all the difference in the world.

So, get ready to lace up those running shoes and prepare for a training revolution.

Today, I’m going to spill the beans on some creative and effective training techniques that will help you unleash your inner speed demon without having to log endless miles.

Are you ready to leave your old pace in the dust and cross the finish line with lightning speed? Let’s do this!

Increase Running Speed Strategy 1- Strength Training

Let’s talk about the secret weapon that will take your running to the next level: strength training. When done right, pumping some iron can be a game-changer for faster, injury-free running.

Imagine your muscles as the mighty engines propelling you forward. The stronger they are, the more force they can generate and absorb, turning you into a running powerhouse.

But it’s not just about the legs. Oh no! Runners also need a strong upper body to maintain proper form and mechanics. Think of it as having a sturdy frame that keeps you balanced and in control as you conquer the miles.

Now, let’s get to the juicy part. I’m going to share some of the best exercises that you should add to your training arsenal. Get ready to feel the burn!

  • Squats: These bad boys are the kings of leg workouts. They engage your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, turning your lower body into a powerhouse. Check out this video tutorial to nail your squat form.
  • Planks: Ah, the humble plank. It may look easy, but don’t be fooled. This exercise is a core-strengthening beast that will give you stability and help maintain that perfect running posture. Watch this video to master the art of planking.
  • Pistols: No, I’m not talking about shooting range skills here. I’m talking about a challenging single-leg squat that will light up your quads and improve your balance and stability. Check out this video to see how it’s done.
  • Russian twists: Say hello to killer obliques and a rock-solid core. This exercise targets those abdominal muscles that are crucial for maintaining proper running form. Get ready to twist and torch those calories! Watch this video to learn the Russian twist technique.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 2 – Interval Training

So, what’s the deal with interval training? Well, picture this: You’re on a rollercoaster ride, zooming up and down, experiencing exhilarating highs and brief moments of respite. That’s exactly what interval training is like for your running journey.

It’s all about alternating between bursts of high-intensity effort and recovery periods to build both speed and endurance.

But here’s the best part: Interval training is like a turbocharger for calorie burning. It’s a time-efficient powerhouse that torches those extra calories in less time. Talk about a win-win!

Now, let’s break it down. The magic happens with a 2:1 ratio. You sprint for 30 meters, feeling the wind in your hair and the fire in your muscles. Then, you ease into a 60-meter jog to catch your breath and prepare for the next exhilarating burst. Sprint 30, jog 60, repeat. You get the idea.

During those intense work intervals, give it your all. Feel your heart pounding, your lungs gasping for air. That’s the sweet spot. It’s called the anaerobic zone, where the real magic happens.

But hold on, we’re not done yet. After each heart-pounding sprint, it’s time for a little recovery. Slow your pace, let your heart rate come down, and allow your muscles to cool down. It’s like catching your breath before diving back into the action.

Now, here’s a pro tip for you: Before diving headfirst into interval training, make sure to warm up with a dynamic warm-up routine. Trust me, it’s essential to prevent injuries and get your body primed for the intense bursts of speed.

Okay, time to level up your interval game. Start with a classic 100-meter sprint at your maximum speed. Feel the rush as you unleash your inner cheetah. Then, gracefully transition into a 200-meter jog, catching your breath and preparing for the next round.

Start with six or eight repeats, allowing yourself a recovery period in between each one. As you gain strength and stamina, challenge yourself to push further. Add more reps to your training regimen, and watch your speed soar to new heights.

One important thing to remember: You’ll need a trusty stopwatch to keep track of time during your interval sessions. It’s your best buddy for monitoring those precious seconds and ensuring you stay on top of your game.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 3- Drill Training

If you’re looking to leave your old running time in the dust, these drills are your secret weapon. I’m talking about form, coordination, and a speed boost that will have you tapping into that top speed.

Let’s describe some of these speed drills and explore some of my personal favorites. These drills are like little turbocharges for your running performance, so buckle up!

First up, we have the Acceleration Strides. Imagine this: You start off with a slow jog, feeling the ground beneath your feet. Then, like a rocket launching into space, you gradually pick up speed until you’re sprinting like lightning. These strides are all about unleashing your inner speed demon and teaching your body to transition smoothly from slow to fast. Check out the link for a visual guide on how to master the art of acceleration.

Next on our list are the High Knees. Picture this drill as a chorus line of rocket-powered dancers. Lift those knees up high, as if you’re trying to touch the sky. Not only does this drill improve your running form, but it also strengthens your hip flexors and boosts your coordination. Get those knees pumping and watch your speed skyrocket!

But wait, there’s more. Ever thought about running backward? Yep, you heard me right. It’s time to put a new twist on your running routine with Backward Running. This drill might seem a bit unconventional, but trust me, it’s a game-changer. Not only does it challenge your coordination and balance, but it also strengthens muscles that are often neglected.

Now, remember, these drills are just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a whole world of speed-enhancing exercises out there waiting for you to explore. Mix and match, get creative, and find the ones that work best for you. The key is to target form, coordination, and running cadence—those vital elements that will take your speed to new heights

Increase Running Speed Strategy 4 – Hill Training

Ready to kick your interval training up a notch and conquer new heights? Enter hill training.

When you tackle those inclines, you’re not just building leg strength, you’re forging a path to greatness. Picture this: with each stride up the hill, your quads, hamstrings, and calves are sculpting themselves into powerhouses of endurance. The result? You’ll be able to conquer those smooth, flat surfaces with newfound speed and ease.

So, what makes hill training so effective? It’s all about the perfect balance of intensity and impact. Unlike pounding on flat terrain, hill training delivers a punch of intensity while being gentler on your precious joints. It’s like finding that sweet spot where challenge meets safety, allowing you to push your limits without sacrificing your body’s well-being.

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of your next hill workout. First, scout for a hill that’s just right—not too steep, not too flat—around 50 to 100 meters in length. It should be challenging enough to make you break a sweat, but not so steep that you start questioning your life choices.

Before you conquer the hill, warm up thoroughly on a flat surface. Get those muscles firing and your heart pumping. Once you’re all warmed up and ready to go, it’s time to charge up that hill. Give it everything you’ve got, sprinting up as fast as your legs can carry you. Feel the burn, embrace the challenge, and then jog back down, catching your breath as you prepare for the next round.

Repeat this ascent and descent several times, adjusting the number of repetitions based on your current fitness level and goals. If you’re just starting out, aim for around six rounds to get those hill-conquering muscles activated. Seasoned runners looking for an extra challenge can push it to a dozen or more.

But here’s the secret: pace yourself wisely. As you tackle each hill, find a rhythm that allows you to conquer the summit without gasping for air or collapsing from fatigue. It’s all about finding your sweet spot, that pace where you feel the burn but maintain control. Running up a hill is not just about raw power—it’s a delicate dance of strength and finesse.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 5 – Plyometric Training

Imagine running as the art of jumping from one foot to the other, propelling yourself forward with each powerful leap. It’s a beautiful dance between your body and the ground beneath you.

But did you know there’s a secret training program that takes this concept and turns it into a supercharged powerhouse? Welcome to the world of plyometric training, my fellow runners. Get ready to take your performance to new heights!

Plyometrics, also known as explosive training, is the secret ingredient that can take your running game to the next level. It’s time to unleash the power within you and incorporate this exhilarating form of exercise into your routine. Trust me, the results will leave you in awe.

Research has shown that plyometric exercises are a game-changer when it comes to increasing endurance, agility, and speed. They have the potential to transform you into a lean, mean running machine. Imagine being able to go the distance with ease, effortlessly maneuvering through any obstacles in your path. The studies speak for themselves—explosive power movements can be a game-changer for runners like us.

The beauty of plyo training lies in its efficiency. You don’t need to dedicate hours upon hours to reap the benefits. A few targeted plyometric moves after an easy run or a quick 10 to 15-minute session of jump exercises during your regular strength workouts can work wonders. It’s all about finding what fits your schedule and preferences. The power is in your hands.

Now, let’s dive into the heart of plyometric training—the exercises that will unlock your hidden potential. These are the five plyometric exercises that I highly recommend for maximum impact:

  • Box Jumps: Feel the thrill as you explode off the ground and land gracefully on a sturdy jump box. It’s like conquering mountains with each leap, building explosive power and boosting your lower body strength. Check out this video tutorial for some serious box jump inspiration.
  • Hopping: Embrace your inner bunny and hop your way to greatness. This exercise targets your calves, quads, and overall explosive power. With each bound, you’ll be unleashing the force within you and refining your coordination. Discover the joy of hopping with this helpful video guide.
  • Squat Jumps: Prepare to defy gravity as you launch yourself skyward with a mighty squat jump. This move not only strengthens your legs but also engages your core, helping you maintain stability and control. Get ready to take flight with this tutorial on perfecting your squat jumps.
  • Plyo Push-ups: It’s time to level up your push-up game. Plyo push-ups add an explosive twist to the classic exercise, challenging your upper body and core while enhancing your power and speed. Prepare to push yourself to new heights with this tutorial on mastering plyo push-ups.

One important note: As you embark on your plyometric journey, ensure you have the right gear and equipment. Investing in a reliable and steady jump box is crucial for your safety and optimal performance. Take the time to find the perfect fit for your needs, and let the jumps begin!

Increase Running Speed Strategy 6 – Running Cadence

Imagine yourself in the company of the fastest runners in the world, my fellow speed enthusiasts. They are like finely tuned machines, training relentlessly and possessing a physique that exudes power and strength. But there’s something else they all have in common—a secret weapon that sets them apart from the average, slow runner.

Stride turnover, also known as running cadence, is the holy grail for increasing speed and improving running technique. It refers to the number of steps you take in a minute. Picture it as the rhythm of your feet hitting the ground, propelling you forward with each swift and efficient stride. And guess what? Research has shown that the fastest and most efficient runners in the world maintain a cadence of approximately 180 steps per minute. That’s the magic number that can elevate your running game to new heights.

But how can you achieve this optimal cadence? The key lies in emulating the habits of the running elites. They keep their feet close to the ground, gracefully floating above the surface with short, light, and lightning-fast steps. It’s like a beautiful dance, a symphony of motion that allows them to maintain speed and efficiency effortlessly.

To determine your current cadence, embark on a little experiment. Run for one minute while focusing on your right foot. Count the number of times it strikes the ground and multiply it by two. Voilà, you have your current cadence measurement. Now, let’s work on cranking up that tempo.

To increase your stride turnover, it’s all about embracing the notion of fast, short, and light steps. Imagine yourself tiptoeing across hot coals, the ground beneath you sizzling with energy. Each step should be swift and purposeful, as if you’re playing a game of hot potato with your feet. Embrace the rhythm, feel the flow, and let your inner speed demon guide you.

As you embark on this journey of improving your stride turnover, keep in mind that it’s not just about numbers and metrics. It’s about finding your own rhythm, your own sweet spot where your body feels in sync and your strides become effortless. Play with different tempos, experiment with your cadence, and find what works best for you.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 7 – Jump Rope

I’ve got some exciting news for you. When it comes to improving your running speed, not all steps involve running. Yes, you heard it right. Your cross-training program, those non-running workouts you’ve been neglecting, can make a significant impact too. And one of the best options you got as a runner is the mighty jump rope.

Jumping rope isn’t just child’s play—it’s a challenging and effective way to boost your running speed while giving your main running muscles a serious workout. Picture yourself gracefully leaping over the twirling rope, feeling the burn as it targets your quads, glutes, and calves—those powerhouses that propel you forward with each stride. But that’s not all.

As you jump, your chest, back, triceps, and shoulders also come into play, assisting in the continuous rotation of the rope. It’s like a synchronized dance between your upper and lower body, working in harmony to unleash your running potential.

But here’s the best part: Jumping rope offers all these benefits without wreaking havoc on your precious joints. That means you can strengthen those running muscles and increase your speed without the pounding impact that comes with running alone. It’s like giving your body a much-needed break while still reaping the rewards of an intense workout.

And the benefits don’t stop there. Jumping rope is a true multitasker. Not only does it improve your overall endurance and breathing technique, but it also hones your focus and coordination. It’s a symphony of mind and body working together, sharpening your skills both on and off the track.

To truly unlock the potential of this classic workout, it’s time to up the ante. Increase the duration and intensity of your jump rope sessions, gradually building up to a heart-pumping 20 to 30 minutes. Challenge yourself to explore new footwork patterns—alternate those feet, try jumping on one foot, or even take it up a notch by bouncing on your heels. Let your creativity flow and make it a fun and exhilarating experience.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 7 – Get The Right Form

Want to unlock the secret to running faster? Well, here’s a valuable key that applies to runners of any pace or speed: running more efficiently. When you run with efficiency, you’ll be amazed at how effortlessly you cover more ground and maintain your energy levels, all while leaving fatigue in the dust. So, how can you achieve this running nirvana? The answer lies in mastering proper running form.

Let’s dive into some fascinating research that supports the significance of running with the right technique. Numerous studies have highlighted the impact of proper form on running performance.

One study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that runners who focused on running tall and maintaining a relaxed upper body experienced reduced energy expenditure and improved running economy. This means they were able to maintain their pace while using less energy—an invaluable advantage in any race or training session.

To incorporate this knowledge into your running, here are a few powerful cues to keep in mind:

  • Stand tall: Imagine a string pulling you up, making you six inches taller as you pick up the pace. By maintaining an upright and relaxed upper body, you’ll optimize your stride and reduce unnecessary tension.
  • Find your sweet spot: Aim to land your feet directly beneath your center of gravity. When your foot strikes the ground, ensure the middle of your foot aligns with your hip. This alignment minimizes the risk of overstriding and promotes a more efficient transfer of force.
  • Relax those shoulders: Let your shoulders loosen up and allow your arms to swing naturally back and forth, forming low 90-degree angles. This relaxed arm movement not only aids in balance but also conserves energy that would otherwise be wasted on unnecessary tension.
  • Gentle grip: Imagine holding a delicate butterfly in your palms. Keep your hands lightly clenched, avoiding excess tension. This subtle adjustment helps you maintain a relaxed upper body and prevents energy from seeping away.
  • Look ahead: Maintain an upright posture with a straight back and head held high. Picture your chin parallel to the ground, allowing you to breathe freely and ensuring optimal oxygen intake for your muscles.
  • Focus on forward motion: Minimize side-to-side movement and focus all your energy on propelling yourself forward. This laser-like focus on forward momentum eliminates any wasteful effort and maximizes your speed.

For those eager to take their running form to the next level, consider exploring the Pose Method. It’s an approach that emphasizes proper body alignment and efficient movement.

A recommended resource for delving into the Pose Method is “The Running Revolution” by Nicholas Romanov—a comprehensive book that serves as an invaluable guide on this subject.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 9 – Lose Weight

Here’s some exciting news for all you runners out there: shedding those extra pounds of fat (not muscle) can actually have a significant impact on your running performance. According to research published by the esteemed American College of Sports Medicine, for every pound lost, you can expect to shave off approximately two seconds from your mile time. So, imagine the possibilities if you were to drop a substantial amount of weight.

Let’s put this into perspective with an example. Say you manage to lose 15 pounds. That’s no easy feat, but it’s worth it! This weight loss could potentially translate into a remarkable improvement of 80 to 90 seconds off your 5K race time. Just think about that for a moment—nearly a minute and a half of precious time savings.

Now, you might be wondering why losing weight has such a profound impact on your running performance. Well, let me break it down for you. The more weight you carry, the more effort and energy you need to exert to cover the same distance from point A to point B. It’s like trying to sprint with a 25-pound backpack strapped to your back. Go ahead, give it a try. You’ll quickly realize just how challenging it becomes to maintain any semblance of speed or endurance.

When you shed those extra pounds, it’s as if you’re unburdening yourself from that heavy backpack. Suddenly, running becomes easier, more fluid, and dare I say, more enjoyable. You’ll have more power at your disposal, ready to be harnessed for greater speed and improved performance.

But remember, we’re talking about losing fat, not muscle. It’s essential to maintain a balanced approach that includes a healthy diet, proper nutrition, and strength training exercises to preserve your valuable muscle mass while shedding unwanted fat.

Increase Running Speed Strategy 10 – Be Consistent

Let me tell you a little secret: achieving a boost in running speed is all about practice and consistency. There’s no magic potion or instant shortcut to becoming faster. It’s a journey that requires dedication, perseverance, and a whole lot of pounding the pavement.

Picture this: you lace up your running shoes and head out for a run, and then you do it again the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that. You keep going, week after week, month after month. It’s through this relentless commitment that you accumulate the endurance, stamina, and strength needed to propel yourself to new levels of speed and performance.

In the real world, there are no silver bullets—no quick fixes that magically transform you into a speed demon overnight. It’s a gradual process that requires patience and a willingness to put in the work. But here’s the thing: if you keep pushing forward, if you stay consistent and persevere, you’ll eventually reach your goals—provided they’re realistic and aligned with your capabilities, of course.

As a general rule of thumb, aim for three to four running sessions per week. This frequency allows for ample training stimulus without overloading your body. But remember, it’s not just about running more—it’s about running smarter. As you start incorporating additional runs into your weekly plan, do so gradually. Focus on building your endurance first, as speed naturally follows when your body becomes accustomed to the demands of consistent running.

Now, let’s talk about the cornerstone of your weekly running plan—the long run. This is the session where you push yourself to cover more miles than any other run that week. It’s a chance to challenge your limits, both physically and mentally. By gradually increasing the distance of your long run, you’re not only building endurance but also training your body to sustain a faster pace for longer periods.

To give you a glimpse of a typical weekly running plan designed to increase speed, here’s a breakdown:

Monday

Interval Run –  8 X 4oom at 80 to 90 percent of maximum speed.

Tuesday 

 Upper Body Strength Workout

Wednesday 

30-Minute Uphill Workout

Thursday

Lower Body Strength Routine

Friday

4 X 800m at 90 percent of maximum speed

Saturday

Long Run

Sunday

Rest Day or Cross-train

Increase Running Speed – The Conclusion

By doing interval workouts, increasing cadence, working on technique, losing weight, running hills, and incorporating consistency, you’ll be able to take your running speed to an entirely new level.

Now the ball is in your court. Do you have any other tips to share? If so, then feel free to do so in the comments section below.

I hope my guidelines for increasing running speed will help you become faster than you ever thought possible.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep running strong.

David D.

Boost Your Running with Strong Quads: Top Exercises for Quadriceps Strength

Are you ready to boost your running performance and protect yourself from overuse injuries? Well, look no further because you’ve stumbled upon the ultimate guide to supercharging those quadriceps!

Here’s the truth.

If you want to take your running game to new heights, there’s one secret weapon you need to harness: strength training.

Now, let’s talk about those marvelous quadriceps. These muscles play a crucial role in your running adventure. They’re the unsung heroes responsible for providing support as you gracefully land on each leg and generate that powerful forward propulsion.

But hold onto your running shoes because I’m about to share with you the crème de la crème of quad exercises. These fantastic seven exercises have been handpicked to skyrocket your running prowess and give you that extra edge on the track or trail.

Are you pumped? I know I am! Let’s jump right in!

What Are The Quadriceps Muscles?

Picture this: deep within your frontal thighs, just above the knees, lies a powerhouse of muscles ready to ignite your performance on the track, trail, or wherever your running adventures take you. We’re talking about the quadriceps, my friend!

The quads are no ordinary group of muscles—they hold immense power and strength. In fact, studies have shown that the quadriceps are among the strongest muscle groups in our entire human temple. Impressive, right?

But here’s the kicker: the quads aren’t just a single muscle; they’re a team of four extraordinary muscles working in perfect harmony. It’s like having your very own quad squad!

Let’s meet the members, shall we?

First up, we have the Vastus Medialis, affectionately known as the “teardrop” muscle. It’s nestled within the inner sanctum of your leg, near the knee. This little warrior adds stability and strength to your knee joint, ensuring a smooth and controlled movement.

Next, we have the Vastus Lateralis, the guardian of the upper leg’s outer realm. This bad boy provides explosive power and stability, ready to tackle any running challenge that comes your way.

Say hello to the Rectus Femoris, the grand maestro of hip flexion. Positioned right in the middle of your thigh, it’s responsible for bringing your thigh closer to your body. Think of it as the conductor orchestrating the perfect stride.

Last but not least, we have the Vastus Intermedius, the unsung hero sandwiched between the Vastus Lateralis and Vastus Medialis. Together, they form an unstoppable front-line defense, ensuring your quadriceps perform at their peak.

Now, here’s the juicy part: these quad muscles are not just about bending and straightening your knee. Oh no, my friend, they’re the key to unlocking your physical potential in a myriad of activities.

Benefits of Quad Strengthening Exercises For Runners

Here are some of the advantages of strengtheniing your quadriceps.

First and foremost, brace yourself for a surge in speed. Picture yourself dashing through the finish line with lightning speed, effortlessly conquering steep hills like a superhero, and unleashing an explosive push-off power that propels you forward in all your running endeavors.

That’s the power of strong quads in action!

But that’s not all. Brace yourself for a body that’s practically bulletproof against injuries. You see, research has uncovered a fascinating connection between weak and tight quads and a whole host of running-related injuries.

Take runner’s knee, for instance. A study conducted by brilliant minds revealed that weak quads are often to blame for this nagging condition. They simply can’t support and stabilize the knee during the running motion, leaving it vulnerable and prone to trouble. But fear not! Strengthening those quadriceps is like putting on a suit of armor for your knees. By fortifying this muscle group, you’ll not only reduce your risk of injuries but also enhance the raw power of your legs.

Speaking of injuries, let’s talk about shock absorption. Did you know that your mighty quadriceps act as natural shock absorbers? It’s true! Researchers at the esteemed University of Delaware have found that strong quads have a remarkable ability to cushion your knees against common overuse injuries. Imagine them as the bouncy springs beneath your steps, softening the impact and ensuring your knees stay happy and healthy on your running journey.

But wait, there’s more! Say goodbye to the dreaded “dead-leg” syndrome. You know that feeling when your legs feel heavy, sluggish, and utterly uncooperative? Weak quads might be the sneaky culprit behind this demoralizing condition. Your quadriceps play a pivotal role in maintaining endurance, keeping your legs firing on all cylinders. Strengthening these powerhouses will banish those dead-leg blues and usher in a new era of unstoppable stamina.

Quadriceps Training For Runners Guidelines

Start Slowly

First things first, take it easy and don’t rush into things. Just like any exercise regimen, quad training requires a patient approach.

Begin by easing yourself into the routine, gently testing the waters of your quad strength. As you gradually get stronger, it’s time to crank up the challenge. You can achieve this by adding more weight to your exercises, increasing the number of sets you perform, or even better—doing both! Embrace the thrill of progress and push your limits.

Warm Up Right

Before delving into your quad workout, it’s crucial to prepare your body for action. A dynamic warm-up routine is your secret weapon.

Start with a leisurely 5-minute jog or even some energizing running in place to get those muscles primed. Then, dive into 5 minutes of dynamic moves that awaken your entire lower body—think inchworms, squats, walking lunges, and high knees. Consider it a prelude to the quad-training symphony that awaits you.

Find The Right Combo

Finding the right combination of exercises is key to unlocking the full potential of your quads.

Below, you’ll discover a treasure trove of quad exercises that can be incorporated into your lower body strength routine. Aim to perform this routine one to two times per week to reap the maximum benefits. When it comes to repetitions, shoot for about 8 to 12 per exercise. This sweet spot will help you build strength and endurance without overexerting yourself. Oh, and don’t forget to aim for two to three sets in total—consistency is key, my friend.

Proper Form

Now, let’s talk about the crown jewel of effective quad training—proper form. It reigns supreme over everything else. While it may be tempting to chase higher rep numbers, never compromise on your form.

Each rep should be executed with precision and control, paying close attention to your body’s alignment and movement patterns. Remember, quality over quantity. As you gradually increase the intensity of your training, you might find yourself performing fewer reps. But fear not for in this journey, you shall gain strength that transcends mere numbers.

Don’t Forget Your Hamstrings

Ah, my friend, let’s not forget about the unsung heroes of your lower body—those mighty hamstrings! You see, a balanced approach is the secret sauce to unleashing your full potential. Focusing solely on your quads while neglecting your hamstrings is like trying to sail a ship with one oar—it’s just not going to get you very far.

Allow me to paint a picture for you. Imagine your quads as the powerful engine that propels you forward in your running journey. They’re already firing on all cylinders thanks to the repetitive motion of running. But here’s the catch: if your hamstrings don’t receive the attention they deserve, it’s like having an engine without the supporting structure. Imbalances can creep in, causing trouble down the road.

Research has shown that runners often have stronger quads than hamstrings, leaving the latter playing catch-up. That’s why it’s essential to give your hamstrings some love and strengthen them alongside your quads. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

Now, let’s talk about some fantastic exercises that target those hamstrings of yours.

The Best 5 Quad Exercises For Runners

You can perform this quad routine as a workout in itself, or you can choose to add a few of these exercises into your already established routine—it’s your choice.

These exercises are the best because they hit the quads from so many different angles, targeting the front, sides and upper of these crucial running muscles.

Quad Exercise For Runners –1. Squats

Depending on your current fitness level and training goals, you can perform the squat using nothing but your body weight or you can also use dumbbells or a barbell for more challenge.

Squats and its other variations put a lot of emphasis on the quads as well as improving lower body strength, endurance, and mobility.

Squats are some of the best runners oriented exercises that there is.

Proper Form

Stand feet width apart, back flat, and core engaged.

Next, while keeping your head up and knees tracking over your toes, slowly squat down by bending the knees and sitting your butt back as if you were sitting in an imaginary chair.

Keep squatting down until your knees are bent at a 90 degrees angle and/or when your thighs are parallel to the ground.

Once you reach the bottom half of the squat, pause for a moment, then press up through the heels and engage your quads on the way up.

That’s one rep.

2. Single Leg Squats

This is a more advanced version of a squat, and it requires an enormous amount of strength, mobility, and flexibility so you’d better be careful with this one.

Pistols are super challenging exercise, so please feel free to opt for the assisted pistol variation by grabbing a TRX strap or holding on to a chair, a pole, or a wall, for balance.

Additional resource – The Myrtl routine

Proper Form

Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart, then shift your weight to your right leg.

Then, balance on your right leg and fully extend the left leg out in front of you.

Make sure to squat down as deep as you can on the planted leg.

Next, while keeping your back flat and core engaged, bend your right hip and knee at the same time to perform the exercise.

Aim for at least a 50 degrees bend in the right knee, while keeping your hips even and knee tracking over the toes.

Last up, return to standing position by extending your right leg to complete one rep.

Aim for 10 to 12 reps on each leg to complete one set.

Perform five sets.

3. Leg Extensions Quad Exercise

Perform the easier version without the need for a machine by sitting down on a higher table or chair and clasping a weight between your feet for more resistance.

It’s your choice.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting on the padded seat of the machine (just like shown in the video tutorial) with the pads over the top of the ankles.

Next, hook your feet under the padded bar and while bracing your core and keeping your back head straight.

While holding the handles for stability, straighten your legs by extending them up, squeeze at the top and hold for a second, then slowly bring the weight back down, but do not allow your knees go past a 90-degree angle.

4. Weighted Walking Lunge

In addition to the squat, walking lunges are some of the best runners oriented quad strength exercises.

Plus they’re dynamic and target most of the lower body muscles, especially your rectus femoris muscle.

Proper Form

Begin by standing up straight with dumbbells grasped to each side or with a loaded barbell rested on the upper back.

Next, while keeping the torso upright and core activated, take a large step forward with your right leg, landing on the heel than the forefoot.

Then, drop into a lunge and lower your body down until both knees are bent at a 90-degree angle with the left knee almost touching the floor.

Move forward by driving through the heel of your right foot while bringing your left leg forward until you are back to starting position, then step with your left leg into a lunge, repeating the pattern to complete one rep.

Do 8 to 10 reps to complete one set.

Perform five sets.

5. Leg Press

This is another classical quad exercise, and you’ll also need access to the appropriate machine.

This exercise mainly targets the quadricep provided that you’re keeping good form the entire time.

Proper Form

Begin by sitting on the leg press machine with your head and back against the padded support.

To assume the right position, make sure to place your feet on the footplate roughly hip-width distance apart while keeping the heels flat the entire time.

Next, grab the seat handles, carefully unlatch the sled from the safeties, then extend your knees to press the weight up until your legs are nearly straight, stopping just short of locking out.

Pause for a moment, then lower the platform by bending your knees.

Make sure to push through your heels, keeping your knees in line with the toes the entire time, allowing for no bowing inward nor outward.

Just be careful here with the leg press as it is notoriously known for causing trouble.

quadriceps exercises

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

Quad Exercises For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it!

The above quad exercises are the best when it comes to increasing strength in your lower body, especially in the rectus femoris muscle.

Do this awesome quad workout on a regular basis if you’re serious about making real progress. Also, keep in mind to stay within your fitness level the entire time.

Here are more  strength exercises for runners.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for reading my post

Keep Running Strong

David D.

6 Yoga Poses to Ease Post-Run Muscle Soreness

Yoga Poses to Ease Post-Run Muscle Soreness

Post-workout soreness after running or any other exercise, often referred to as delayed onset muscle soreness, better known as DOMS, is common among runners—whether you are a beginner just starting out, or an intermediate runner after dramatically increasing the duration or intensity of your runs.

Good or Bad?

Don’ get me wrong.

Post-workout muscle soreness is a good sign.

It says that you are pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone, and that’s where real change happens.

And the good news is that the more you run, the less your muscles will be sore in the weeks and months to come.

In other words, if you feel sore after a run, then good job buddy!

But this soreness can also be a bad thing, especially if it’s interfering with your everyday activities.

Post-run soreness can also be an unpleasant experience—even painful at times, and may interfere with your daily activity and how ready you can be—physically and mentally—for your next workout.

Therefore, today I’m sharing with you one of my favorite cross-training activities you can do to speed up recovery: yoga.

women performing Yoga Poses to Ease Post-Run Muscle Soreness

The Power Of Yoga

Yoga can help you alleviate a lot of post-workout pains and it’s more efficient than, say, the traditional stretching technique you learned in high school.

Truth be told, a regular yoga practice can help you rehab tired muscles, prevent injuries and get your body ready for your next run.

Therefore, here are some of my favorite yoga poses that will work to alleviate post-run pains and aches while increasing your flexibility and mobility in key running muscles such the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

I recommend that you use this routine as means for speeding up recovery after a hard run—mainly a long run or an interval session.

Hold each for 30 to 45 seconds, and breathe deeply to release any tension or tightness you might experience.

Keep in mind that this simple 20-minute sequence is an easy and gentle sequence.

So no need to push yourself here.

Just do it gently and slowly and remember to breathe deeply.

So don’t try to win the world’s most flexible human contest in one session.

Here’s the full guide to yoga for runners.

1. Standing Forward Bend

Benefits

This is a must pose for calming the mind while also stretching and relieving the muscles of the spine and the hamstrings.

Proper Form

Begin by standing with your feet together, toes parallel, core engaged, with hands on your hips.

This is your starting position, or what’s known as the Mountain Pose, Tadasana.

Next, while allowing for a slight bend in the knees, fold over at your hips, and roll your spine down as you reach towards the floor, lengthening the front of your torso in the process.

Make sure to let your neck relax once you reach the bottom part of the pose, once you reach your max flexibility point.

Then, let the crown of your head hang loose and place your fingertips on your knees, shins or the floor beside your feet if your flexibility allows it.

Make sure to fold forward with a straight back, releasing slowly and gradually into the full pose.

Then, straighten your legs as much as possible while shifting your weight forward into your toes.

Hold the pose for one to two minutes, being mindful of your spine and legs the entire time.

2. Wide Legged Forward Bend Twist

Benefits

Also known as Prasarita Padottanasana , this asana stretches and strengthens the inner back legs and spine while penning the hips and improving the trunks rotation ability.

Proper Form

From mountain pose, widen your feet and place them three to four feet apart, with toes slightly turned slightly out, then hinge your torso forward at the hips.

Next, roll your spine downward and place your hands on your ground or on a yoga block, letting your neck and head relax.

Then, while breathing deep and being mindful of your spine, lift your right arm and reach it toward the ceiling, feeling your spine twist and open.

Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds, then slowly bring your hand down and switch sides.

3. Lunge with Side Stretch

Benefits

An awesome pose for releasing and opening the adductors, the abductors, and the glutes.

Proper Form

Assume Tadasana pose, then widen your stance with toes pointing 45 degrees outward.

Next, lunge to the right side, bending your right knee to a 90-degree angle and straightening the left leg to point upward with heel on the floor.

You can place your hands on the right thigh, or on the floor, depending on how flexible you are.

Hold the stretch for 30 45 seconds, then change sides.

Please, keep your back straight and core engaged during the stretch.

4. Star Pose

Benefits

This pose can help you open up and release tension in the hips, lower back, shoulders, and neck.

Proper Form

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlB8OfrTkWM

Sit down on the floor with the sole of the feet together, knees bent in a kite shape, creating a diamond shape with your legs.

Next, lengthen your spine, grasp your shins or feet, then slowly let your back round and roll your body forward drawing your forehead towards your heels, then breathe deep and look within.

Relax into this pose for at least one to two minutes.

5. Legs Up the Wall

Benefits

This is in my experience one of the best relaxing and restorative inversions in the yoga world.

This post speeds up recovery by draining tension from the legs while stretching the lower back, legs, and hamstrings.

Proper Form

Sit on the floor with a wall next to right side.

For more support, you can use a long firm pillow by bolstering against the wall.

Then, raise your legs up into the air then rest them on the wall.

Make sure your lower is resting against the support pillow, if you are using one.

Next, relax your body and put your hands on your belly, rest head and shoulders on the ground, and start taking deep breaths to release any tension or stress in your body, starting from your toes and down through your ankles, knees, thighs, glutes, lower back and the rest of your body.

Stay in this pose as long as you can—nothing short from 5 minutes.

6. Lying-down Body Twist

Benefits

Also known as Natrajasana, this asana can help you release tension in the lower body—especially the lower back and glutes.

Proper Form

Start by lying down on your back with both feet on the floor at hip width and knees bent, then extend your arms out at your sides.

Next, bend your knees, and bring them toward your chest as close as possible, then slowly lower your bent knees to the left side while turning your head and looking over to your right side.

Next, reach your arms out to the left side then lower both legs to the left side while keeping your right shoulder in contact with the floor.

Hold the pose for 30 to 45 seconds and feel the stretch in your back, stomach, neck, shoulders, groin and thighs, then slowly return to the center and switch sides.

New to Running? Start Here…

If you’re serious about running, getting fit, and staying injury free, then make sure to download my Runners Blueprint Guide!

Inside this guide, you’ll learn how to start running and lose weight the easy and painless way. This is, in fact, your ultimate manifesto to becoming a faster and a stronger runner. And you want that, don’t you?

 Click HERE to check out my Runners Blueprint System today!

Don’t miss out! My awesome running plan is just one click away.

Circuit Training For Runners – The 30-Minute Indoor Workout

female doing ndoor Circuit Workout

If it’s not possible for you to go for an outdoor run, and you don’t want to jump on the treadmill for the hundredth time this month, then here is an indoor workout you can do at home for free.

No need for special equipment.

No need for hefty gym fees.

Oh! I forgot, it will also get you sweating like crazy and push your conditionning level to the max.

So are you excited? Then here we go…

Circuit Training For Runners – The 30-Minute Indoor Workout

If you are currently stuck inside, due to the weather, a baby, safety concerns, monetary reasons, you name it, the circuit I’m sharing with you today is the perfect solution.

In fact, this indoor workout routine is ideal for the cold winter month and perfect if time crunched fitness nuts.

Most of the exercises below require minimum equipment and can be done almost anywhere, as long as you have enough space.

These exercises will boost your heart rate, sculpt your body and get you out of running rut and help you smash through a training plateau.

For more challenge, use heavier dumbbells, medicine balls and push as hard as you can, or shoot for more rounds.

runner doing ndoor Circuit Workout

The Warm-Up

Warm up right by jogging in place at a comfortable pace for five minutes.

Make sure to land on the balls of your feet.

Exercise one: Jog in Place

Once you are warmed up, pick up the pace and jog in place as fast as you can by driving your arms back and forth and lifting your knees to waist level.

Make sure to run in place as fast as you can while pumping your arms back and forth, engaging the upper body as well.

Alternate between jogging at high intensity for 30 seconds, then slow it down and recovery for another 30 seconds, bringing your heart rate up in the process.

Exercise Two: High Knee Sprints

While jogging, pick up the start performing high knee sprints by bringing your knees up high toward your chest as fast as you can while engaging the glutes and keeping your torso upright.

Make sure to focus on high speed and knee lift while swinging your arms back and forth to generate momentum.

Sprint in place for one full minute to complete one set.

Exercise Three: High Lunges

Stand tall with back straight and core engaged, then step your left foot forward as far as possible so you are in a wide lunge position.

Next, while keeping your torso upright and gazing straight ahead, push through your left heel and drive your right knee forward and up toward your chest, then return it to starting position and repeat as fast as you can.

Do 10 to reps on each side to complete one set.

Exercise Four: Burpees

From a standing position, lower down and place your hands on the floor on either side of the feet.

Next, kick your feet back so you are now in a plank position, then immediately bring the feet back to between your hands and explosively jump up into the air, clapping your hands mid-air.

Make sure to land softly on the floor, then repeat as fast as possible while keeping good form throughout the exercise.

Exercise Five: Squat Jumps

Stand with feet hip-width apart with arms crossed over your chest.

Next, while keeping your head up and core engaged, squat down until your upper thighs are parallel to the ground, then, while pressing mainly with the balls of your feet, and using the thighs like springs, jump straight up in the air as high as you can.

Last up, land softly on the floor, bend your knees and sink back into the squat position and immediately jump again.

Please make sure to land with control and be extra caution if you have any knee or back injuries.

Repeat for 12 to 16 to complete one set.

Exercise Six: Butt Kicks

Begin by standing with your legs shoulder width apart, with the arms bent at your sides.

Next, while keeping your back straight and core engaged, run in place by kicking your heels up toward your butt, pumping your arms back and forth with elbows bent at a 90-degree angle as quickly as you can.

Make sure that your thighs do not move much as you lift and kick one heel at a time to your butt.

Lift your heels as close as you can to your butt, using a quick leg movement on the balls of your feet.

To do this circuit right, make sure to take minimum recovery between each exercise.

Your heart rate should remain high throughout the entire circuit.

Exercise Seven: Ski Abs

Assume a straight arm plank position, with back flat, head in neutral position and feet together.

Next, while engaging your core, hop both of your feet up to the left side, aiming to bring your knees to the outside of your left elbow, then quickly hop back into starting position, and change sides to complete one rep.

Repeat the exercise for one full minute to complete one set.

Circuit Training For Runners – The Conclusion

There you have it! If you’re looking for a cross training workout for runners, then this post is perfect for you. The rest is just details.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank for dropping by.

David D.

The 101 Best Weight Loss Tips of All Time

Weight Loss woman

If you’re looking to lose weight—whether it’s 5 pounds, 10 pounds, 20 pounds or more —then you’ve come to the right place.

This article will take you through just about every aspect of weight loss possible, from exercise to diet, motivation to lifestyle, and everything in between.

Without further ado, here are 101 ways to lose the extra pounds for good. I hope you find my tips and strategies helpful.

Note:  This is a super-long article (14000+ words). Don’t sit down to read it until you have enough time to dig into it. To make sure you don’t forget, bookmark this post and read it later, when you have time.In addition to the content I’ve written, I’ve also provided links to over 70 scientific studies related to weight loss and exercise.  They’re worthwhile reading as well, so click through on the links for even more helpful information and detail.

  1. Find Your Big Why

 In my experience, the first step toward achieving anything in life—let alone losing weight—is having the right motivation.

Without a “Big Why,” you’ll have no (or too little) motivation — especially when you come across roadblocks. When you’re motivated enough, you’re in a good place. I can guarantee that you ’ll lose weight and keep it off for good once you know your Big Why.

So, What’s YOUR WHY?

Why do you want to lose weight?

Why do you want to start exercising?

Why do you want to live a healthy lifestyle?

Why?

Is it because you’re ashamed of your body?

Is it because losing weight is a matter of life or death?

Whatever your real reason is, after you’ve figured out your big WHY (or WHYs), write it down and keep it somewhere that you’ll see it on a daily basis. This will serve as a constant reminder when the going gets tough.

Diet Tips

  1. Eat More Vegetables

There is no such thing as healthy eating without vegetables.

Why? Well for starters, vegetables score high in fiber and are low in calories— both key nutritional elements for successful weight loss. They’re also chock-full of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and plenty of other valuable nutrients.

Do your best to eat as much as green stuff as possible. Some of the best options include broccoli, watercress, kale, cabbage, lettuce, cucumber, cauliflower, Swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts.

3. Eat Protein At Every Meal

Protein is your friend, whether you’re trying to increase muscle mass or lose weight.

Good protein can help keep you feeling full longer and controls your blood sugar levels, both of which can cut cravings for sugary, high-calorie, high-fat foods. Protein is also critical for muscle recovery and fat burning.

There is plenty of research to back these claims up.  According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people who eat protein at each meal lost more weight than those who didn’t have the nutrient at certain meals.

Another study conducted at the University of Missouri found that people who had protein with each meal reported the most weight loss benefits.

Some of the best animal-based sources of lean protein include lean meat, seafood, and egg whites, and the best plant-based are nuts and beans.

Limit processed meats like ham, sausage, and bacon, or better yet avoid them entirely. These foods contain a lot of saturated fats and a plethora of chemicals and harmful ingredients.

Additional Resource: What is in a dairy-free Protein Powder?

  1. Plan Your Foods

“If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.” This maxim holds true whether you are the CEO of a 500-Fortune company or just a regular Joe (or Jane) trying to build healthy eating habits.

Planning your meals can help you take the guesswork out of the equation, and this, in turn, increases your chances of success.

The best way to plan your food intake is to spend at least an hour every Saturday or Sunday evening thoroughly planning your meals for the upcoming week. Then all you have to do the rest of the week is stick to the plan.

Try to prepare at least 10 to 12 meals and put them in Tupperware bowls, so you have them ready for the week ahead.

  1. Eat More Fiber

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate found in plant foods like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, increasing fiber intake by 8 grams for every 1,000 calories you take in can promote weight loss and prevent weight gain.

Why?

Fiber, unlike other carbs, does not get easily absorbed by your body. This means that it helps you feel full for longer. Increasing your intake of fiber can also lower your cholesterol, and may even prevent colon cancer and other health ailments.

Shoot for at least 30 to 40 grams of fiber a day. Some of the best sources of fiber include beans, broccoli, asparagus, oats, Brussels sprouts, apples, and flax seeds, to name just a few.

woman trying to lose weight

  1. Cut the Bad Carbs

Not all carbs are created equal. If you want to lose weight, eat the good carbs and avoid bad ones.

Good carbs are also known as complex carbs. They take longer to digest and can help you feel full longer. Some of the best sources of good carbs include vegetables, fruits, sweet potatoes, beans, brown rice, and other whole grain products.

Bad carbs are also known as simple carbs. They are digested quickly by the body, and this can lead to blood sugar spikes, cravings, and a host of health troubles.

Classic examples of simple carbs include bread, pasta, bagels, candy, muffins, donuts, French fries, sugary cereals, white rice, and any sugary or highly processed food.

Additional resource – A 7-day keto meal plan

  1. Eat Low GI Foods

Established about 30 years ago, the glycemic index is a scale that ranks foods from 0 to 100 based on the impact they have on blood sugar levels. According to studies, subjects who followed a low-GI diet have reported losing double their fat as compared to a high GI group.

Check the following list.

glycemic food index

Many thanks to LeanGainGuide.com for this awesome list.

  1. Don’t Fear Fats

Fats get a bad rap in the health community, but if you avoid them entirely, you’re doing yourself a great disservice.

Here’s the truth. Fats — the healthy kind — are an integral part of a healthy diet. Research shows that eating the right kinds of fats can help you lose weight and increase your overall health and well-being level.

So, which fats are good ones?

Good fats are monounsaturated fats, AKA MUFAs. They increase good HDL cholesterol while reducing bad LDL cholesterol.

Research shows that good fats can protect against the buildup of artery plaque, preventing heart disease and other health troubles. They can also suppress your appetite, reducing the number of calories you eat in a day while boosting your metabolism.

Some of the best sources of MUFAs include olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil, avocados, almonds, peanuts, and sesame seeds.

You don’t need too much good fat to get its benefits. Research suggests that two to three tablespoons of olive oil per day are enough to do the trick.

  1. Consume Water-Rich Foods

According to a study conducted at the Pennsylvania State University, eating water-rich foods cuts overall calorie consumption, as many of these foods are low in calories but high in fiber.

Here is a list of some of the best water-rich foods:

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Iceberg lettuce
  • Zucchini
  • Green peppers
  • Celery
  • Cantaloupe
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Radishes
  • Grapefruits
  • Watermelon
  • Cauliflower
  1. Keep a Food Journal

According to a six-month study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, people who kept tabs on their daily eating habits for six days a week reported losing about twice as many pounds as those who didn’t keep written records.

By monitoring your daily eating habits, you give yourself a better idea of what’s going into your mouth, This can help you better assess your daily eating choices and habits.

Here’s what you need to do. Get yourself a diet journal and start tracking the amount of food you consume throughout the day, including snacks and treats.

  1. Take Pictures of Your Food

Photographing your meals and snacks is another helpful way to keep tabs on your daily eating habits.

Doing so can also help you examine the quantity and quality of the meals you’re eating, as well as holding you accountable for every bite you eat.

Research backs this up.

According to a study conducted at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, taking pictures of every meal and snack you eat can encourage you to change your diet.

  1. Eat Five Times a Day

Although there are no conclusive studies that prove that eating 4 to 5 mini meals a day can help you shed weight, many people say that eating small healthy meals multiple times a day has helped them lose weight.

As long as you’re eating the right foods, eating small meals throughout the day can help you win the battle of the bulge.

Try eating four to five 350 to 500-calorie meals every three to four hours. These small meals should include breakfast, a mid-morning snack, a small early lunch, a mid-afternoon snack, a finally a small, light dinner.

Here is a sample schedule:

  • 7:30 am—Breakfast
  • 10:00 am—Mid-morning snack
  • 1:00 pm—Lunch
  • 4:00 pm—Evening snack
  • 7:00 pm—Dinner
  1. Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is the artful form of skipping meals without hurting your weight loss efforts.

Intermittent fasting, or IF, involves regular, short-term fasts. According to research, fasting during short, specific windows during the day can help you consume fewer calories. It also optimizes some hormones linked to weight control.

There are several methods of intermittent fasting. One of the most popular is the 16/8 method in which you skip breakfast and eat during a limited 8-hour feeding period.

During the 16/8, you fast for 16 hours (including sleep time). For example, fasting from 9 p.m. to 1 p.m. adds up to 16 hours of fasting.

This method only requires that you trade your regular breakfast for a cup of coffee or some other non-caloric fluid. Then you can have lunch at 1:00 as your first meal of the day. This method only requires that you trade your regular breakfast for a cup of coffee, MUD\WTR, or some other non-caloric fluid

The 16/8 Method is convenient and simple, and does not require counting calories. You can do the 16/8 fast twice a week, on weekends, or every single day.

Additional resource – Here’s how long does it take to lose 100 pounds.

  1. Fill Your Plate with Veggies First

As you may already know, eating more vegetables has been proven one of the most significant predictors of weight loss and ideal health.

But how do you ensure you’re getting enough veggies?

It’s simple. Fill up half of your plate with vegetables, then divide the other half into two equal-sized areas. Fill one with good carbs like sweet potatoes, brown rice or a slice of whole-grain bread. Fill the other with lean protein such as skinless poultry, fish, lean beef or beans.

With this simple trick you won’t even need to count your calories or worry about portion size.

  1. Spice it Up

Spicy items like hot sauce, chopped jalapeno, and Cajun seasonings add a lot of flavor to meals with few calories. But that’s not the whole story.

According to research, most spicy foods contain a compound called capsaicin, which is the source from which chilies get their heat. According to research, this compound can tame your appetite and increase your metabolism.

Not only that, but capsaicin also may have a thermogenic effect, boosting body temperature after consumption. This may lead to a higher calorie burn for 20 to 30 minutes after you’re finished eating.

Additional resource – The best running songs

  1. Cook with Coconut Oil

Two tablespoons per day of coconut oil can help you reduce your waist circumference by an average of 1.1 inches over the course of a month, according to a study.

Coconut oil scores high on the healthy medium chain saturated fatty acids fats (known as Medium Chain Triglycerides, or MCTs) that increase metabolism for immediate energy and decrease appetite.

To get the most benefit from this, use virgin coconut oil. It’s usually made with no chemicals, while refined or RBD oil is usually chemically treated.

  1. Have Breakfast

A study conducted at Harvard revealed that obesity rates are roughly 40 to 50 percent lower in people who have breakfast on a consistent basis, compared with those who skip breakfast.

A healthy breakfast will make you less likely to be hungry later, which often leads to overeating over the remainder of the day.

Unless you’re doing intermittent fasting, you should never skip breakfast. As a rule, have up to 500 calories each day at breakfast, depending of course on your weight loss goals, age, fitness level, and exercise goals.

A healthy breakfast should consist of a serving of protein, a serving of whole grain carbs, and a serving of fruit—especially after a morning workout.

  1. Eat Eggs for Breakfast

Eggs should be a staple of your daily eating plan, and research shows that the best way to get the most out of eggs is to start your day off with them.

A study found that obese subjects lost more weight and had a higher reduction in waist circumference when they ate a breakfast of two eggs instead of bagels, even though each group’s breakfast contained the same amount of calories.

Why? Eggs are rich in protein (one egg contains about six grams of protein) and other valuable nutrients, helping you feel full longer.

  1. Have Barley for Breakfast

If you don’t like eggs for breakfast, then another healthy choice is barley.

Barley is one of the best foods you can eat.

According to Swedish researchers, having barley for breakfast can help you keep your blood sugar levels under control. Barley scores low on the GI index, meaning it raises your blood sugar level more slowly than high carbs foods like bagels and donuts.

As a rule, buy minimally processed hull barley, and avoid processed forms such as pearl barley.

  1. Watch the Salad Dressing

Salads should be a big part of your eating plan. They’re one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating enough veggies.

But, if you don’t keep an eye on the goodies you put into your salad, they can end up more calorie-laden than pizza or bagel.

Many salad dressings are chock-full of preservatives, trans fats and artificial flavor, which can spell disaster for an otherwise healthy and green dish.

For more flavor, opt for low-calorie, healthier alternatives.  Try avocado oil, refined olive oil, homemade Paleo mayonnaise, a squeeze of lemon juice, tomato juice, macadamia, balsamic vinegar or even some homemade salsa.

  1. Eat Light at Night

By eating lightly during the late evening, you’ll not only prevent weight gain, you’ll also sleep much better and have a better appetite for a healthy breakfast in the morning.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Aim to consume at least three-quarters of your calories before dinner, then make sure to leave at least a gap of two to three hours between your last meal of the day and bedtime. This will help give your body enough time to digest your food before you sleep.

If you feel super famished just before going to bed, then opt for a small serving of protein such as a piece of cheese or a hard-boiled egg.

  1. Eat More Slowly

It takes roughly 20 minutes for leptin, the body’s satiety hormone, to kick in. Once it does, your brain gets the signal of “fullness” from your stomach. In other words, your brain doesn’t register when your stomach is full right away.

As a result, give yourself at least 20 minutes to eat, and then wait after you’re done. If 20 minutes go by and you’re still hungry, go back and have a healthy snack. To help you eat slowly try using a set of chopsticks, or eat your meal with your less dominant hand.

  1. Chew Your Food

Eating your meals more slowly and mindfully can drastically help you decrease the amount of calories you consume during a meal, according to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Chewing and eating your food slowly helps you feel full faster, and it’s when you feel full that you should stop eating.

Next time you sit down to a meal, make sure to take your time to chew your food rather than gulping it down as fast as you can.

  1. Sit Down to Eat

If you’re in the habit of eating on the go, you may be heading in the wrong direction.

Research published in the Journal of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that taking a seat at the table while eating can help you eat at a slower pace, and the slower you eat, the better.

As a rule, eat your food while sitting down, preferably from a plate.

  1. Mind your Portion Sizes

According to a study, subjects who practiced portion control for two years lost 5 percent more weight than those who didn’t.

Here’s more good news. Portion control is not rocket science. To master it, you simply need to learn how to measure portion size correctly. Doing so will help you know for sure the amount of calories you’re taking in and how they’re affecting your weight loss efforts.

Here’s a simple infographic to help you understand portion sizes.

  1. Use Smaller Plates

A simple change from a 12-inch plate to a 10-inch plate can cut your food consumption by up to 20 percent, according to the Cornell and Brand Lab’s Small Plate Movement.

Make sure to serve yourself on a smaller plate that’s roughly the size of your grandmother’s china instead of one of the larger, more modern ones.

Photo courtesy of SkinnyRules.com

serving size

  1. Change Your Plate Color

According to a study conducted at Cornell University, you can cut your serving size by 20 percent when opting for a contrasting plate color instead of for a plate whose colors blend in with your meal’s color.

Next time you sit down to a meal, make sure that your food color and plate color are different from one another. Many experts recommend using blue plates, but at the very least make sure your plate doesn’t match the color of your meal.

  1. Turn Off the TV

According to a study from the University of Massachusetts, eating in front of the TV leads to consuming more than 300 extra calories. That’s because if you’re busy watching TV, you’re more likely to be so distracted that you devour an entire plate quickly without thinking about whether you’re satiated or not.

Create a distraction-free eating environment. Turn off the TV, put away your phone, shut down Facebook and enjoy your meal.

  1. Find a Healthy Meal You Love and Eat it Over and Over Again

Come up with a list of low-calorie foods that you love and which satisfy your daily energy needs, then mix and match them, so you’re eating the same meals over and over again.

By planning your healthy meals this way, you’ll be less likely to make unhealthy last-minute food choices. This method will also help you spend less time fretting about the foods you need to eat.

  1. Never Shop Hungry

According to a study conducted at Cornell University, eating something healthy before going to the grocery store makes shoppers less prone to buy junk food.

How come this trick works is no mystery. Shopping while feeling full strengthens your willpower and makes you immune to junk food temptations.

As a rule, never go shopping when you’re hungry. Instead, eat a filling meal, some produce or a healthy snack before you hit the grocery aisle.

  1. Read the Labels

Not only will learning this skill give you a better idea of the number of calories you’re consuming, but it will also help you be more aware of food’s nutritional value. Take the time to read the labels, making sure you know how to interpret what you read.

Here is an infographic to provide you with a quick and easy guide.

Photo courtesy of UC Davis and Gkplace.com

  1. Make a Weekly Grocery List

To make sure you’re putting the right kind of foods in your shopping cart, write a detailed and thorough grocery list. Doing so not only help you get in and out of the store as quickly as possible, but it can also help you decrease impulse purchases and stick to your healthy eating plan.

Use this simple list to stock your kitchen up with healthy food all week (or month) long.

Here’s an infographic to help.

Infographic courtesy of Greatist.

food list for weight loss

  1. Banish Emotional Eating

If you’re more likely to eat when you’re feeling depressed, anxious or lonely, you might be prone to emotional eating. According to research, emotional eating is one of the leading causes of bad food choices.

Emotional eating can compromise your weight loss efforts, especially since the food we crave at those times tend to be sweet, high-calorie, and fatty.

Reevaluate your relationship with the food you eat and learn how to differentiate between real hunger (physical hunger) and fake hunger (head hunger).

  1. Say No to the Bread Basket

Research has found a direct link between regular consumption of white bread and being prone to weight gain.

White bread is bad for you for a slew of reasons. It adds a lot of empty calories to your meals, and it doesn’t keep you feeling full.

Bread is also high in carbs. Eating it in bulk will prevent stored body fat from being used as fuel, hindering your fat-burning process.

The real bad news is that white bread is a staple in most pantries.

So what should you do here?

It’s simple: Replace your white bread with whole grain or whole wheat bread whenever you can.

  1. Banish Junk Food

To set yourself up for total weight loss success, declare your house a junk-food-free zone.

If you have no unhealthy food laying around, you’ll be more likely to stick to your healthy eating plan. In other words, practice the mantra “out of sight, out of mind.”

Purge your kitchen of as cookies, cakes, pies, candy, sugary drinks, biscuits, crisp pretzels pastries, and other sugar-filled, highly processed junk foods.

  1. Stock Up on Healthy Foods

Instead of letting junk food into your home, fill your kitchen cupboards with healthier foods and snacks so when hunger pangs strike, you’ll reach for something that’s good for you.

Here are a few food items you should stock up on:

  • Fruits
  • Unsweetened or unsalted popcorn
  • Baby carrots
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  1. Stop Drinking Soda

Research has linked soda to a host of health troubles, including obesity, diabetes, and a plethora of other troubles. And if you believe diet soda is a good alternative, you’re WRONG.

Diet soda is just as bad as regular soda. A study conducted by the University of Texas Health Science Center showed that subjects who drank two cans of diet soda are more likely to gain weight compared to those who didn’t drink the stuff. That’s right – they gained weight instead of losing it.

Don’t drink your calories. Doing so is even worse than eating junk food. Have water instead of soda, and you’ll be thinner and far healthier for it.

Additional resource – How to measure body fat percentage

  1. Reduce Your Alcohol Intake

A study published in Current Obesity Reports found that alcohol intake increases the risk of weight gain, especially for heavy drinkers.

And according to a UK survey, drinking alcohol weakens willpower and inhibits healthy eating decisions, making you more likely to indulge in high-fat high-calorie foods such as pizza, burgers, and chips.

If alcohol is your diet downfall, then you need to cut it out, or at least, have control over your drinking.

woman trying to lose weight

  1. Drink More Water

Your body uses water to metabolize fat stores, and relies on it for every other process as well.

Water has no calories at all and can help you feel full, making it less likely that you’ll fill yourself up with more food.

Instead of drinking juices and soft drinks, I urge you to start drinking more water.

Shoot for at least 10 to 12 cups of water per day. Drink plenty of water before your workouts, during your workouts, and immediately afterward too.

Make sure your body is well hydrated throughout the day. You’ll feel fitter and healthier when you do so, and dampen any penchant for gorging at the same time.

  1. Drink Water Before a Meal

Chugging a glass of water before a meal will help regulate your appetite, as the water will take up room in your stomach.

Research shows you can lose up to 30 percent more weight simply by having two cups of water before each meal.

Another study from the University of Birmingham in the U.K. found that drinking roughly 16 ounces of H2O 30 minutes before a meal promotes weight loss, without making any other dietary changes.

  1. Drink Green Tea

I believe that green tea is the healthiest drink on the planet, right after water.

Why?

This remarkable beverage is rich in antioxidants, fights cancer and contains brain-healthy compounds and a host of other health-promoting and vital nutrients.

Not only that, according to a study published in the Journal of Nurse Practitioners, green tea can help you reduce your appetite and increase your metabolism, both of which are essential for weight loss.

Add green tea to your diet plan. Stick to two to three cups a day and opt for brewing your own instead of choosing bottled versions to avoid added calories and artificial chemicals and sweeteners.

Remember, adding sugar and cream to your tea will wipe out any weight loss benefits, so get used to drinking your tea with no sweeteners or adornment.

  1. Snack Smart

Dumb snacking— and especially snacking on high-sugar, highly processed foods with little or no nutritional value — can compromise your weight loss goals.

Smart snacking between meals can tame hunger and control appetite, helping you prevent overeating and keep you from making bad food choices when meal time rolls around.

If you snack often, do it the smart way. Healthy ideas include hard-boiled eggs, apples, or a handful of nuts, seeds or dried fruits.

  1. Don’t be a Perfectionist

Practice the 90/10 rule. What’s that?

As a rule of thumb, 90 percent of your diet should focus on healthy food (vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats) while the remaining 10 percent can be devoted to “cheat meals.”

By adhering to this simple rule, you’ll indulge your sweet tooth and satisfy your cravings without throwing your whole intake out of balance.

Cheat meals are vital for a healthy diet, as long as you are doing them right.

Feel free to cheat every now and then. That’s how you’ll stay sane for the long haul.  Just keep it to one meal, not every meal throughout the entire day.

Exercise Tips

  1. Start Slowly

Whether you’re thinking about starting a running program, hitting the weight room, hiring a personal trainer, or joining a CrossFit class, starting slow is the way to go.

Once you decide on a workout program, start slow and stay within your fitness level at all times.

If you’re a beginner with little exercise experience, start with two to three workouts per week that last at least 30 minutes per session. As you get fitter, you can slowly and gradually ramp it up until you reach your challenge point.

  1. Start Running

Running is one of the best exercises you can do to lose weight and get fit for good. This sport is convenient and sheds mad calories. All you need is a pair of good running shoes, and you’re ready to go.

This whole blog is about running and the many ways you can incorporate it into your life, so why wait?

Here are the resources you need to get started without risking injury or burnout.

  1. Lift Weights

Weightlifting is an INTEGRAL part of any weight loss program. If you’re skipping the strength room, you’re missing out.

Strength training builds muscles, and the more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. This means you’ll burn more calories, even when you’re not working out. Isn’t that a good thing?

Add at least two strength workouts to your training program.

For the highest calorie burn, train your entire body in each workout. Focus on total-body exercises that challenge the large muscle groups, like pushups, squats, deadlifts, planks, lunges, and pull-ups.

Additional link – Slow running vs fast running for weight loss

  1. Go Swimming

Swimming is a great low-impact option that burns mad calories without putting a lot of pressure on your body.

A 160-pound person can burn up to 520 calories by swimming laps for an hour. The exact number of calories burned depends on a wide range of factors, including weight, age, fitness level, and training intensity.

Swimming uses all of the body’s muscles, so with each kick, push, and stroke you’re performing a mini strength workout for your entire body, especially your glutes, core, hips, arms, and shoulders.

  1. Do Yoga Two Times Per Week

Yoga is another low-impact exercise that can help you melt fat without breaking a sweat. According to research, overweight subjects who rolled out their yoga mat at least once a week for four years lost more weight than those who didn’t take the time to practice.

Yoga can also help you become more flexible, reduces stress and promotes a general sense of health and well-being. I could go and on about its benefits.

Add at least a couple of yoga sessions into your training program, either by following a yoga DVD program or enrolling in a class — make sure to do it with good form. You’re always better off doing yoga with the guidance of a certified professional. Once you nail the form, you can practice it in the comfort of your home.

Additional resource – Guide to running terms

  1. Shoot for 10,000+ Steps Every Day

According to research conducted at Arizona State University, people leading an active lifestyle typically take over 10,000 steps per day.

This is very helpful if you can’t afford going to a gym, or if you’re looking for more ways to be active that don’t involve intense exercise.

10,000 steps a day might seem like too much walking, but it’s not. There are always opportunities to squeeze in more walks during everyday situations.

You’ve got plenty of options.  Meet up with a friend and walk around the neighborhood or park. Go to a museum. Take a walk during your lunch break. If it’s possible, walk to work instead of taking a car or public transportation.

To make sure you’re on the right path, use a pedometer or fitness tracker to keep tabs on your daily steps.

Additional resource – How to reduce sugar intake

  1. Challenge Yourself

Real growth happens when you step outside of your comfort zone. If you stick to the same exercise routine—whether it’s weightlifting, running, swimming, or anything else —you’ll invite boredom and training plateaus.

On the other hand, constant challenges lead to improvement.

I encourage you to challenge yourself to lift more weight, to run farther in the same amount of time, to make even the tiniest and smallest improvement. It all counts.

  1. HIIT it Hard

High-intensity interval training is, by far, the ideal training method to help you burn calories and improve your fitness level. Countless studies have shown HIIT to be effective for weight loss as well as for improving fitness level. It’s like nothing else.

HIIT is all about mixing high-intensity exercise with low-to-moderate intensity exercises.

I have used it. I have done it. And I love it. I bet you will love it too once you get used to it and learn how to do it right.

Here’s your complete guide to the HIIT method.

  1. Sprint It Out

Sprints are the ultimate form of high-intensity interval training. They’re simple, intense, and scalable, so you can always readjust them to fit your needs and training goals.

During sprint intervals, you alternate between running as fast as possible for a set distance and brief periods of slow jogging for recovery.

Here’s how to proceed with a sprint session.

After a thorough warm-up of 10 minutes, perform eight to ten 30-second, full effort sprints at your maximum speed.

Take one minute of recovery between each sprint, then finish your session with a 5-minute cooldown.

  1. Run Some Hills

Hill reps are the next level of track sprints. They’re one of the best resistance exercises for the lower body, helping build strength and speed in your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves.

Hill sprints are also safer on your legs and take less time to perform than sprints.

Here’s how to proceed:

Find a steep hill that takes you 20 to 30 seconds to run to the top. Sprint up it as fast as you can, then slowly jog back down to recover.

Perform enough reps of this exercise for the session to last between 20 and 25 minutes, then end your workout with a 5-minute cooldown jog.

Here are five more hill workouts to try.

  1. Rope Training

Rope training is one of the most under-utilized yet most effective training tools for increasing cardiovascular fitness. It speeds up weight loss and improves muscle endurance.

This training system is a fat burning machine. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, battling the ropes for one minute can burn up to 10.3 calories per minute. That translates to 400 to 500 calories in a 30-minute workout.

Battling ropes exercises target almost every muscle in the body, especially the core, the glutes, lower obliques, and abs.

Here’s a battle rope workout routine to try out.

  1. Use Kettlebells

Kettlebells are cannonball-like weights with a handle. They are one of the best training tools you can add to your workouts if you want to get a leaner, stronger body without spending endless hours in the gym.

According to research conducted at the University of Wisconsin, kettlebell training burns as many calories per minute as running a 6-minute mile, amounting to 400 to 500 calories for a 30-minute workout.

Other research has found that kettlebell training can lessen shoulder, neck and back pain by strengthening upper body and core muscles.

Here’s a simple workout routine to try:

After a thorough 10-minute warm-up, do 12 reps of kettlebell squat thrusts immediately followed by 16 reps of kettlebell swings. Then do 12 kettlebell snatches, rest for one to two minutes, then repeat the whole circuit three to four times.

Here’s another kettlebell workout to try.

  1. Stop Doing Crunches

Crunches, sit-ups, and other traditional ab exercises are a waste of time and energy.

Sit-Ups and crunches can lead to lower back pain and may even cause herniated discs. They’re boring and not that effective, especially when performed using bad form.

Instead, do planks (with all of its variations) or total-body exercises such as deadlifts, squats, or floor wipes.

Additional resource – How to rotate running shoes

  1. Do Tempo Runs on the Treadmill

Also known as lactate threshold (LT) or threshold runs, this is a faster-paced workout that’s vital for improving metabolic fitness and maximizing the number of calories burned on the treadmill.

Here’s how to proceed:

First step: Warm up with five minutes of easy jogging,

Second step: Run a mile at 20 to 30 seconds slower than your half-marathon pace. It’s a pace that feels comfortably easy.

Third step: Pick up the pace every mile by 5 to 10 seconds until you’re running the final mile 20 seconds faster than your half marathon pace.

Fourth step: Finish the workout with a slow five-minute jog and some light stretching.

  1. Hill Treadmill Intervals

The second treadmill workout is a hill interval routine.

Performing indoor hill intervals can help you get more out of your treadmill workout by simulating outside hill running. This is vital for increasing endurance and building killer lower-body strength.

Here’s a hill treadmill workout to try out:

First step: Warm-up.

Second step: Raise the incline to three or five percent, and run for 90-seconds at a pace that’s 15 seconds slower than your 10K pace. The pace should feel mildly challenging.

Third step: Recover by jogging slowly for one full minute with no incline.

Fourth step: Raise the incline to five or seven percent and run for another 90-seconds at 15 seconds slower than your 10K pace. Recover for one minute.

Fifth step: Repeat the fourth step three to six times, depending on your fitness level and goals. You could also opt for a steeper incline.

Sixth step: Cooldown.

  1. Embrace Free Weights

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, exercising with free weights instead of machines leads to greater muscle activation.

With free weights, you can target every muscle group in your body without wasting precious time moving from machine to machine or going back and forth between different pieces of equipment.

Also, free weights can help you achieve better symmetry between both sides of your body by forcing the weak side to work unaided by the dominant side. They’re also convenient, scalable and easy to learn.

I could go on and on about the effectiveness of free weights, but you get the big picture.

  1. Start CrossFit

I love CrossFit, and I believe it’s one of the best workout programs out there for helping you to push yourself and keep improving.

There are nine basic exercises in most CF training routines. These include the deadlift; sumo deadlift high pull; shoulder press; push press; air squat (without the weights); front squat; overhead squat; and medicine ball clean.

As you get stronger, you’ll be doing other exercises such as sprints, pull-ups, burpees, sit-ups, box jumps, rowing, gymnastics ring work, and other exercises.

  1. The Tabata Protocol

Dubbed “the fat burning miracle training routine,” the Tabata protocol is a form of high-intensity training scientifically proven to improve aerobic and anaerobic threshold as well as calorie burn.

Studies show that the typical Tabata workout routine can burn 12 to 15 calories per minute.

Here’s a sample workout:

Perform the following exercises for as many reps as possible in 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving to the next exercise and doing it as fast as possible for 20 seconds. Shoot for six to eight total rounds, resting one minute between each round.

  • 20 seconds of squat jumps, 10 seconds of rest
  • 20 seconds of burpees, 10 seconds of rest
  • 20 seconds of jumping lunges, 10 seconds of rest
  • 20 seconds of push-ups, 10 seconds of rest
  • 20 seconds of kettlebell swings, 10 seconds of rest

Here’s another Tabata workout routine to try.

  1. Medicine Ball Training

Medicine balls are powerful and can be a great addition to your training arsenal.

What I love about medicine ball exercises is that they’re some of the best and most challenging core exercises you can ever do, building both muscular power and endurance while pushing your cardiovascular system to its breaking point.

Here’s a medicine ball workout to try.

  • Squat to chest pass
  • Suitcase crunch
  • Diagonal chop
  • Russian twist
  • Lunge to rotation

Here’s another medicine ball workout to try.

  1. Add Short Cardio After Each Weight Workout

Engaging in intense exercise after 45 minutes-to-an-hour of weight training guarantees that the activity right after will immediately use up fat as the primary source of energy.

In other words, the window right after your weight workout session is prime fat-burning time. Make the most of it!

Here are three workout finishers to try:

Workout Finisher One

Do three rounds of:

  • Plate push for 30 seconds
  • Kettlebell swings, 15 reps
  • Med-ball thrusters, 15 reps

Workout Finisher Two

Do three sets of:

  • Lunge jumps, 20 reps
  • Burpee, 15 reps
  • Jump rope for one full minute

Workout Finisher Three

300-yard shuttle sprints.

Place two cones or water bottles roughly 25 yards apart, then run as fast as you can back and forth between the cones eight to ten times. Aim to touch the cones each time.

women on treadmill trying to lose weight

  1. Try a Group Fitness Class

If you’re more of an extrovert and enjoy the company of others, consider joining a group fitness class.

These classes are a great way to stay on track, up the ante with your workouts, and meet active and like-minded people. As an added benefit, peer pressure can do wonders for your weight loss journey.

The good news is that there are a wide range of classes available, and you’re sure to find something that fits your budget, fitness level, and training goals.

Different classes offer different exercises and workout routines geared around building strength, endurance, and flexibility.

Try CrossFit, join an MMA class, try a spinning class, or enroll in a boot camp class.  Just find a class you like and attend it consistently.

  1. Try an Outdoor Activity

Working out outdoors not only helps you lose weight, it also provides a lot of health benefits.

Studies show that exercising outdoors boosts vitality, self-esteem, and enthusiasm and lowers levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Braving the outdoors can help you reduce tension, fatigue, and depression.

Here’s a list of outdoor activities and sports that will put your gym workouts to shame:

  • Biking
  • Kayaking
  • Stand-up paddleboarding
  • Skating
  • Frisbee
  • Surfing
  • Rowing
  • Bouldering
  • Hiking
  • Trekking
  • Beach volleyball
  • Rock climbing
  • Badminton
  1. Follow a Workout Plan

If you have a good plan, or even a mediocre plan, you’re more likely to lose weight and achieve your fitness goals than those who don’t have a plan at all.

The best workout plans involve working out three to four times per week, depending on your current fitness level and training goals.

Start your workouts with a proper warm-up, do the workout, then finish with a cool-down and a few stretches.

Never been to a gym? Ask a trainer for some advice, or hire them if you have a budget. It’s important that you start off on the right foot and build up the right way. If you’re unsure where to start or want to find a qualified personal trainer in your area, you can compare personal trainers near you using a comprehensive directory. A directory allows you to compare trainers based on their qualifications, experience, and client reviews, helping you make an informed decision about hiring a trainer that’s right for you.

  1. Start a Workout Journal

In addition to regular fitness tests, one of the best ways I know of measuring your fitness progress (or lack thereof) is keeping track of your training routines and cycles in a workout journal.

I’d go so far as to say that keeping a workout journal is as important as training itself, especially if you’re serious about reaching your full potential.

Get yourself a workout diary and keep tabs of all your activities: training sessions, workout routines, daily miles, weights used, reps performed, number of sets, energy levels, performance numbers, and everything else.

  1. Schedule Your Workout

To ensure training consistency, schedule your workouts the same way you schedule your important work meetings or family events.

By giving your training routine the same level of importance that you give your school deadlines, work meetings, and unpaid taxes, you’ll increase your odds of following through and staying consistent with it—especially if you lead a hectic life.

Spend at least 10 minutes every Sunday night planning your workouts for the week, the same way you would with other obligations.

Choose at least two workouts and schedule them the way you would an appointment that you don’t want to miss. These will be the most important workouts of the week, and should preferably include a total-body strength workout and an intense cardio session.

Jot down the exact time you are going to exercise on your daily calendar, then treat your workouts like an unbreakable commitment.

  1. Exercise First Thing in the Morning

Research shows that people who work out first thing in the morning are more likely to stay consistent with their training programs than those who skip morning workouts.

When you exercise first thing in the morning, you’re done – you don’t have to worry about doing it later in the day. You also get the mental boost of knowing that you’ve accomplished what you need to do for the day while the rest of the world is still asleep.

Exercising in the morning is a great way to help you wake up, boost your energy levels and increase your brainpower and productivity for the rest of the day.

Go to bed 60 to 90 minutes earlier than usual so that you have enough time and have rested enough for a workout first thing in the morning.

  1. Pair Up with a Training Buddy

According to research conducted at the University Of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine, working out with a partner speeds up weight loss results.

The more you rub shoulders with people who support your goals and your vision, the more likely you are to succeed.

Chances are you be more consistent with your workouts when you have a training buddy to motivate you who will hold you accountable for your action.

Whether you’re trying to get into better shape or just want to shed a few extra pounds, be sure to schedule your workouts (or at least some of them) with a workout partner.

  1. Hire a Personal Trainer

If you’re looking to get the most out of every hour you spend working out, hire a personal trainer. They can help you learn proper form, hold you accountable to your goals, devise a smart workout strategy, overcome physical and emotional obstacles, and teach you how to safely adjust your workouts so you can keep on getting real results without hurting yourself.

Once you find a trainer you like, ask them to take you through a fitness assessment to identify your weaknesses and muscular imbalances.  Doing this will help them come up with a well-rounded workout routine that fits your current fitness needs and future goals.

  1. Do What You Love

In my opinion, the best exercise program in the world is the activity you already love doing.

When you choose to do an exercise you love, you’ll have more fun doing it and be more likely to keep doing it over the long haul, so if you like running, then run.

If you like swimming, then swim.

If you like skating, then skate.

If you like boxing, then box.

If you prefer lifting weights, then pump it hard.

If you like them all, then alternate between them as often as you like, for at least 30 to 40 minutes a day.

Do whatever you want. You’re the boss. You’re in charge.

The list of possible workout options available to you is long and varied; you have to find something you love doing.

  1. Practice Proper Recovery

Spending endless hours working out eventually leads to diminishing returns. If your current workout routine doesn’t allow for proper rest, you’re flirting with disaster.

Inadequate recovery hinders your ability to train, and might set the stage for injury, burnout, and serious trouble. Becoming a workout addict will only get you in trouble, so you need to make sure to build good recovery habits.

For starters, space out your hard workouts, especially interval and intense strength sessions, with at least two days of rest. Take as many recovery days as you need, especially when experiencing symptoms of overtraining such as elevated heart rate or chronic soreness and fatigue.

Sleep is also essential for proper recovery.  Aim for at least eight hours of high quality and uninterrupted sleep per night. You can also plan for a recovery week by decreasing your training volume 50 to 60 percent for every four to five weeks of training.

Motivation Tips

  1. Manufacture Motivation

Motivation is of paramount importance, and maybe the most important thing on this list. On your weight loss journey, you’ll need lots of inspiration to help keep your inner fires burning.

What are some ways to keep motivation going strong?

You’ve got plenty of options. Read real-life success stories. Read fitness blogs and magazines and books. Use the reward system and the buddy system. Take before and after pictures. Set weight loss goals and make them public, Use mantras and motivational quotes.

Just be open and try them all.

Here’s a lit of my favorite fitness quotes.

  1. Set S.M.A.R.T Goals

This is a good checklist to consider when you’re about to set goals for yourself.

S.M.A.R.T. stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused and Time-bound. SMART goals are the right way to go about setting weight loss goals.

Setting smart goals can be the difference between success and failure. They will help keep you focused and motivated.

Here’s what you need to do. Come up with one weight loss goal and one performance goal, and keep these two goals somewhere visible, so you’re reminded of them every day.

For example, your goals might be “Lose 15 pounds in three months” and “Run three times per week for the next three months.”

Over the long term, the best weight loss goal is to lose one to two pounds a week. That may not seem like much, but if you keep doing it consistently, it adds up.

Do it for a month, and you’d shed 4 to 8 pounds.

Do it for three months, and you’d shed 12 to 20 pounds.

You get the picture. It might not be as fast as you’d like it to be, but slow and steady is what will help you win the flab race.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to set fitness goals, check this post.

  1. Go Public With Your Goals

Research shows that if you make your goals public, you’ll be more likely to stick with your healthy lifestyle plan. It keeps you accountable for your behavior and your habits.

Your social circle can encourage you and push you to do your best and never give up.

I encourage you to make your weight loss goals public and commit to giving regular updates to your family members, friends or social circle every week or month.

Also share them on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms.

  1. Enlist Your Friends and Family For Support

The weight loss journey is not a smooth ride, so you’re going to need all the support you can get.

A strong support system can be the difference between success and failure. A study revealed that people who had the support of their social circle lost more weight than those who didn’t.

Let your family and friends keep you motivated and hold you accountable for your actions, making sure you never deviate from your weight loss journey.

At the same time, you need to banish negative people from your life.  They’ll only bring you down and hamper your progress. You’re better off restricting yourself to spending time with people who believe in you and support your goals.

  1. Get Your Partner on Board

When you go on a weight loss journey, your entire life has to change to make the changes you need. If you’re married or live with a partner, your decision will affect them too, so they need to be on board and provide their support.

Your partner’s heartfelt support can make the difference between reverting back to old, damaging ways and accomplishing the fitness goals you’ve set for yourself.

Where appropriate, consider starting a weight loss journey together: it’s a great way to keep each other on track.

One way or another, start preparing healthier dishes together. Eat at home more. Keep each other accountable. Go running together. Join a gym class. Build a home gym.

  1. Use Online Support Networks

A study conducted by Britain’s Medical Research Council (MRC) found that people who joined a weight loss support group lost more weight than those who hadn’t.

A support group can help you talk through your troubles, provide you with practical solutions to your problems, and most importantly remind you that you’re not alone. Look for these online message boards, join one, then open up and talk about your struggles and victories.

Here’s a list of websites to check out:

Spark People

Diet.com

FitLink

Peer Trainer

Weight Loss Buddy

Weight Loss Wars

  1. Weigh Yourself Once a Week

Keeping track of your weight is a good strategy, but obsessing over it is counterproductive. Your weight isn’t everything, and it doesn’t tell your whole story.

Stepping on the scale every day can have a negative impact on you. Your weight will fluctuate from day to day, and if you weight yourself daily, you’ll find yourself in a constant battle of ups and downs.

Most experts recommend that you weigh yourself once a week under the same conditions—preferably at the same time and on the same weekday. The best time is in the morning, shortly after finishing your morning ritual and just before you’ve eaten.

man losing weight

  1. Take Progress Pictures

As I’ve already said, the scale only tells one side of the story. To get a full picture of your progress, you need to start taking pictures of your fitness and weight loss journey on a weekly basis.

Taking before and after pictures is not only perfect for keeping track of your progress, the “before” pictures can also be a huge wake-up call and provide the exact motivation kick you need to make your weight loss vision a concrete reality.

Here’s a short video to show you how to take your progress pictures the right way:

  1. Track Other Body Stats

Weekly weigh-ins and photo shoots are often enough, but if you want a clearer picture of your weight loss journey, start tracking some other important body stats.

Here are the main ones to take and write down:

  • Weekly measurements of your hips, chest, waist, upper arms, thighs
  • Body fat percentage should be checked on a monthly basis using a body fat caliper

Additionally, use fewer objective measures of your progress. Ask another person — preferably a trusted friend or family member —for honest feedback, and check how your clothes fit. Are they looser than before?

  1. Reward Yourself

Rewarding yourself for progress can help reinforce your new habits and provide you with the motivation you need to continue with your journey, so after reaching a performance or weight loss goal, treat yourself to something nice.

Some of the best things you can do to reward yourself include shopping for smaller sized clothes, going to the movies, taking a surfing lesson, taking a vacation to your dream destination, spending a weekend at the spa, reading a book, binge-watching your favorite show, or just sleeping in. It doesn’t matter whether it’s expensive or free, far-flung or in your home, as long as it is something that gives you pleasure and is not about food.

  1. Sign Up for a Race

To keep yourself exercising regularly, consider signing up for a 5K race. This is a perfect distance for beginner runners who are looking to build cardio power and fitness the right way.

You can find plenty of 5K races in your city or cities near you by checking websites like Runners World or Running in the USA for local races and dates.

After signing up for a 5K race, find a training program to help get you ready and fit enough to cross the finish line.

As a general guideline, most 5K training plans last 8 to 12 weeks, so you signing up for one will give you a plan within a reasonable amount of time to get you in shape.

Lifestyle and Mindset Tips

  1. Take Responsibility for Unhealthy Habits

You’re the one in charge.

You choose the script by which you live your life, and you’re the king or queen of your actions. No one is responsible for them but you.

Bad habits or not, they’re yours. You’re the one responsible for changing it. No one else.

You’ve built your habits through repetition, and through repetition, you can break them too.

Take conscious responsibility for your everyday actions—the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Doing so is empowering because it lets you realize that you’re the master of your destiny.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Lack of sleep will not only make your life miserable, it’ll also make your waistline bigger.

Research study after research study has revealed that sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to be overweight and to suffer from a plethora of health troubles.

Sleep deprivation can boost hunger, muscle loss, and unwanted weight gain, so log at least 8 hours of high quality, uninterrupted slumber each night.

  1. Relax

According to research, stress is a primary cause of weight gain, while relaxation and calm can facilitate healthy weight loss.

When we’re stressed, we seek comfort and emotional release in food, usually by reaching for high-calorie, unhealthy foods.

Stress also increases the release of the hormone cortisol, known as a key culprit behind stubborn belly fat.

To tame stress, try meditating, taking long walks in nature, talking out your problems with a friend, getting enough sleep, getting rid of friction in your life, doing yoga, look into anti-stress supplements or therapy.

The bottom line is don’t ignore your stress. As long as you’re dealing with your it in a positive and constructive manner, you’re in the right place.

  1. Try Meditation

Sitting blissfully on a cushion for endless hours does not burn a lot of calories, but research shows that mindfulness—one of the many benefits brought about by meditation—is key for weight loss and overall health and well-being levels.

Studies show that people who practice meditation on a regular basis are less likely to give in to emotional eating or unhealthy bingeing.

Meditation practice can also help lower high blood pressure levels and helps to manage stress, one of the primary causes of overeating and making bad food choices.

So what you are waiting for? The science backing up meditation is IRREFUTABLE.

Start with short meditation sessions lasting no more than 10 minutes. Sit comfortably, close your eyes, and focus on your breathing. Whenever your mind wanders—and it will have the tendency to do so— bring it back and keep focusing on each exhalation and inhalation.

  1. Brush Your Teeth More Often

If you brush and floss your teeth right after dinner, you’ll find yourself less likely to crave snacks or sweet desserts late at night. This sets you up right for avoiding late night snacking.

It also helps keep your gums healthy and your teeth clean.

Additionally, if you follow this train of thought and brush your teeth after every meal, it will make you less likely to snack between meals.

  1. Check Your Hormones With a Blood Panel

By learning more about your hormonal situation, you give yourself a better idea of the nutritional and lifestyle changes you need to speed up your weight loss and increase your energy and health.

A blood panel can help you assess your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, whether your adrenals are insufficient, whether you’re low in vitamin D3, or whether your cholesterol and blood sugar levels are within the normal healthy range.

  1. Embrace the Cold

Spending time in relatively chilly temperatures can help you burn more calories, even if you’re just sitting around doing nothing. This may sound crazy, but research backs it up.

According to a study published in the journal Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, cooler temperatures can increase calorie burn by up to 30 percent, while another study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigations found that people who spend a couple of hours a day in mild cold—approximately 63 degrees F—for a period of six weeks burned more energy than those who spent the same amount of time in warmer temperatures.

Next time you’re thinking about skipping an outdoor workout because it’s too cold, remember that the cold is your weight loss friend.

  1. Handle Social Festivities the Right Way

Studies show that most people gain two to ten pounds during the winter months, and one of the main reasons for this weight gain is the eating festivities during the holidays.

The best thing you can do to counter this effect is to eat before you go to a party. It will help curb your hunger and take the edge off your appetite.

If you want to go all out, you can also bring your healthy foods to make sure you have an alternative to the high calorie, fat-laden dishes your host or hostess is serving.

  1. Watch Your Weekends

It’s totally doable to stick with a healthy diet and exercise plan during the week, but once the freedom of the weekend arrives, a lot of people take a break from their weight-loss resolution. This is a mistake.  Doing so will only set you back and undo all your efforts from the week before.

You need to be conscientious when you’re attending that happy hour after work on Friday, the restaurant dinner on Saturday, and the home-cooked meal on Sunday. Otherwise, your weekends will turn into diet landmines that undo each week’s worth of healthy dieting and exercise.

Eating poorly and skipping workouts from Friday to Sunday add up to a whopping 12 days off a month. Not a good idea.

  1. Be Patient

Patience is a virtue. It helps you reduce stress, control cravings, set the right goals, and most importantly it will keep you consistent, especially when all the odds are stacked against you.

Patience allows you to see beyond the current (unpleasant) moment to a future in which you’ve already achieved what you’re after.

Said in a different way, the more patient you are, the more likely you are to succeed.

Take the time you need to learn about what type of exercise works best for you, as well as about the various foods that offer the best nutrition.

  1. Take Action

“Nothing happens until something moves.”—Albert Einstein.

Every minute you’re sitting around thinking about losing weight, surfing the net for magical diets, or checking Facebook, you’re not doing what’s needed to achieve your weight loss goals.

Regardless of how much you want to do to change your life or lead a healthier lifestyle, nothing will happen until you actually DO something. You can talk about starting a workout program and developing healthier eating habits as much as you want, but nothing will change until you start taking action.

This means you need to get moving NOW.

Here’s what you need to do: make a list of the lifestyle changes you want to see happen, then give yourself time to make each one a part of your life.

  1. Practice Kaizen

The philosophy of Kaizen is all about going after small, continuous improvement. It builds up over time — over weeks, months and years of regular practice.

This approach is the best way to banish short-term and silver bullet thinking.

Achieving a healthy lifestyle is a marathon rather than a sprint. Slow, and steady will win the race.

Embrace the philosophy of small, continuous improvement and aim to get 1 percent better each day. Begin every morning by asking yourself what the one thing is that you can do today to improve your fitness and health? Start super small and go about achieving it.

There are hundreds of these little things, and if you keep adding one a day, they will quickly build up.

  1. After you Lose the Weight, Stick to Your New Lifestyle

Research shows that most people gain back most of the weight they lose less than two years after losing it. This is atrocious.

Losing weight is hard enough. Gaining it back sucks.

Once you reach your target weight, keep in mind that you’ve only won half of the battle. You need to do your best not to revert to your old ways.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but the real secret to reaching your ideal weight and staying at that weight for life is to make a lifelong commitment to the all the diet, lifestyle and exercise habits listed above.

The moment you go back to your old ways is the moment when the pounds start creeping back.

If you’re serious about losing weight and never gaining it back again, you need to understand that your weight and health consciousness doesn’t ever stop.

All of it. The healthy eating. The sleeping. The running. It doesn’t stop.

You need to keep things going, prevent slip-ups and come up with creative ways to spice up your workouts and cope with whatever life throws at you.

  1. Remember: It’s all About Creating a Calorie Deficit

Weight loss is all about creating a calorie deficit.

At this point you surely know that weight loss is a numbers game. Nothing more and nothing less.

If you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight.

If you burn more calories than you eat, you’ll lose weight.

A healthy weight loss goal is to aim for a 500 calorie deficit per day, and the best way to accomplish that goal is to do a mix of healthy eating and smart exercise.

That’s it. Weight loss, in its basic form, is a numbers game

  1. Find What Works Best For You

Please keep in mind that the subject of weight loss—whether it’s diet, exercise or lifestyle-related—is one of the most controversial topics out there. Most of the tips and strategies I’m sharing with you are based on my own experience and research.

There are some contradictory tips—for instance, intermittent fasting versus eating breakfast—but there are some great ones here too.

What’s important to remember is that nothing is written in stone. Take all the tips with a grain of salt and remember that everyone is different and responds differently to different diet and exercise methods. Just because a weight loss tactic works for someone else, doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you.

Feel free to experiment to find what works the best for you.

Bonus Tip: Never Give up

This is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to losing weight and keeping if off for good.

Weight loss resolutions fail because people give up way too often and way too early in their journey.

Whatever you do, please don’t give up.

Don’t give up.

Don’t ever give up.

You’re going to have bad days, weeks, maybe even bac months. But don’t give up.

Shit happens. It’s part of life.

If you fail one day, the next day is a new start. Get up and go after it again.  Change your approach, find a way to do things differently to make it work for you.

Please, please, please don’t let your past mistakes or past failures define who you are. You are much more than your past.

Welcome failure and let it shape your approach and course of action.

Conclusion

Boy, that was a long post! If you’ve made it this far, I applaud you for your commitment. You’re the best.

You rock for taking the time to invest in yourself.

Now go take action on what you’ve just learned, and thank you for reading my post.

Feel free to leave your questions and comments below.

David D.

Please share this post on Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, StumbleUpon, and other social media websites. Help me spread the word.

Featured Image Credit – Byong Wook via Flickr

Revitalize Your Fitness Routine with These Beach-Inspired Workouts!

runner doing Beach Workout

If you’re yearning to inject a dose of excitement into your workout routine, you’re in for a treat! Whether you’re a beach bum or a landlocked fitness enthusiast, this guide is here to light up your exercise routine like a summer sunrise.

Today, I’m thrilled to spill the beans on some fantastic exercises that can turbocharge your strength, speed, and agility, all while you bask in the sandy embrace of the beach.

Now, you might wonder, “Where can I partake in these sandy delights?” Well, of course, the beach is the ultimate playground, but fear not if you don’t live seaside! A long jump pit or a sand volleyball court can serve as your fitness canvas as long as there’s sand beneath your toes, ample space, and a safe workout environment.

Ready? Let’s go!

Benefits of Sand Workouts

Sand workouts can offer a range of advantages that make them an excellent addition to your training routine.

Here’s why you should consider incorporating them into your training plan:

Lower Body Strength:

Running in the sand engages the muscles below the knee, including your ankles and toes, in unique ways that flat surfaces can’t replicate. The added resistance of the sand challenges these muscles, making them stronger and more resilient.

Stabilizer Muscles:

Sand workouts require you to constantly adjust your balance as the sand shifts underfoot. This engages your stabilizer muscles, which are often underused in regular running. Strengthening these muscles can enhance your overall stability and reduce the risk of injury.

Increased Challenge:

Performing bodyweight exercises on sand adds an extra layer of difficulty due to the resistance it provides. It pushes your muscles to work harder, making your workouts more challenging and rewarding.

Speed and Agility:

Sand’s resistance forces your muscles to adapt and become more powerful. This can translate to improved speed and explosiveness in your running, helping you become a faster and more agile athlete.

Beach Vibes:

If you’re fortunate enough to live near a beach, sand workouts offer a refreshing change from the gym’s monotony. Exercising in the sun and natural surroundings can boost your mood and add a new dimension to your fitness routine.

Minimal Equipment:

One of the best things about sand workouts is that they require very little equipment. You’ll need your running shoes (or you can go barefoot), your body weight, and, of course, sand. It’s a convenient and accessible way to challenge both your aerobic and anaerobic systems.

Choose the Right Beach

Choosing the right beach is a crucial first step when planning your sand workout. Not all beaches offer the same conditions, and your choice can significantly impact your experience.

Beaches can vary widely in terms of their surface. Some may have slanted or uneven terrain, while others could be littered with rocks and debris, which can be uncomfortable.

While it might seem like soft sand would be easier on your muscles and joints, it can actually be quite challenging to run on. Soft sand has a lot of “give,” making each step more demanding and increasing the risk of foot and ankle injuries, especially if you’re not accustomed to it. For a safer and more comfortable workout, opt for firmer sand, which provides adequate cushioning without the added strain.

What’s more?

Wet sand near the water’s edge is often the best choice for a sand workout. It offers a firm yet supportive surface that’s easier on your body. Start your runs here, and as your lower body strengthens and you become more accustomed to running in the sand, you can gradually progress to softer sand if desired.

Additional resource  – Trx exercises for runners

Protect Yourself from The Sun

Beach running comes with its own set of challenges, including exposure to direct sunlight. Protecting your skin from the sun is essential to avoid sunburns and reduce the risk of skin issues, including skin cancer.

For starters, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen to all exposed areas of your skin. Opt for a sunscreen with a high SPF, ideally 50 or higher, and make sure to apply it generously. Reapply as needed, especially if you’re sweating. Sunscreen is your primary defense against harmful UV rays.

Try to schedule your beach runs during the early morning or late evening when the sun’s intensity is lower. Avoid running during peak hours, typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are at their strongest.

What’s more?

Wear lightweight, long-sleeved shirts to cover your arms and upper body. Consider adding a running hat or visor to shield your face from the sun. Sunglasses with UV protection can also help protect your eyes and the delicate skin around them.

Depending on your preferences and needs, you may want to invest in specialized beach running gear. For example, women may find athletic tankinis suitable for beach workouts as they offer both comfort and coverage.

Manage Your Expectations

Research indicates that beach running can burn up to 1.6 times more calories per mile compared to running on typical surfaces. This increased calorie expenditure is due to the added resistance of the sand, which engages your muscles more intensely.

That’s why you should adjust your pace. Beach running is significantly more challenging, so don’t expect to maintain your usual running pace. Be prepared to slow down and adjust your expectations. It’s essential to listen to your body and prioritize building strength and endurance over speed.

What’s more?

Running on soft sand can alter your running form, as it requires more effort to stabilize yourself. Pay attention to your form, engage your core, and maintain good posture to reduce the risk of injury.

Additional resource – One-mile training plan

The Right Start

For your initial beach runs, stick to the hard, wet sand near the water’s edge. This firm surface is more forgiving and easier to run on compared to soft, dry sand. Limit your first sessions to around 15 to 20 minutes to prevent overexertion.

Beach running places unique demands on your muscles and joints. Slowly increase your running time by adding 5-minute increments as your body adjusts to the sand. Be patient and prioritize a gradual progression to avoid overuse injuries.

While wet sand is an excellent starting point, don’t confine yourself to a single surface. As you gain confidence, incorporate short intervals (2-3 minutes) on the softer, drier sand. Afterward, switch to jogging or walking on the firm, wet sand to aid in recovery.

Although beach running offers fantastic benefits, refrain from doing all your runs on the beach, especially as a beginner. Overdoing beach running can increase the risk of Achilles tendon and ankle issues. Maintain a balanced training program that includes various surfaces.

Barefoot or Not

Beach running, with its pristine scenery and invigorating feel, can be an incredibly rewarding experience. However, the choice of whether to run barefoot or wear shoes is crucial, especially for beginners. Here’s a breakdown to help you make the right decision:

Running Barefoot

Pros:

  • Offers a unique sensory experience as you connect directly with the sand.
  • Strengthens foot muscles and enhances proprioception (awareness of body position).
  • Provides a more natural running gait and encourages a midfoot or forefoot strike.

Cons:

  • Requires calloused feet to avoid blisters and discomfort.
  • Puts added stress on the plantar fascia, Achilles tendon, and calf muscles, increasing the risk of soreness or injury.
  • Offers minimal protection against sharp objects in the sand, like rocks and seashells.
  • May exacerbate or lead to issues such as Achilles problems, plantar fasciitis, or ankle sprains due to the lack of support.

Running with Shoes:

Pros:

  • Provides support and cushioning, reducing stress on the feet and lower legs.
  • Offers protection against sharp objects hidden in the sand.
  • Suitable for runners who haven’t conditioned their feet for barefoot running.
  • Reduces the risk of developing or aggravating foot and lower leg issues.

Cons:

  • Limits the direct sensory experience of the sand.
  • May encourage a heel strike, which can be less efficient than a midfoot or forefoot strike.
  • Tips for Running with Shoes on the Beach:
  • Opt for lightweight, flexible-soled trainers designed for natural movement.
  • Choose shoes with a tight mesh to prevent sand from entering while maintaining breathability.
  • Ensure a snug fit to prevent blisters and discomfort.
  • Regularly inspect your shoes for sand and debris to maintain their performance.

Additional resource – How To walk 10,000 steps everyday

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential for a successful and safe beach run. Here are some key tips to help you stay hydrated before, during, and after your run:

Pre-run Hydration:

Aim to drink approximately one ounce of water for every 10 pounds of body weight in the three to four hours leading up to your run. This will help ensure that you start your run properly hydrated.

Be mindful of your timing to allow for a restroom break before you start your run.

Hydration During Your Beach Run:

For beach runs lasting longer than 30 minutes, it’s crucial to carry water with you or plan your route near water sources where you can hydrate.

Sweat Test for Hydration:

Perform a sweat test to gauge your hydration needs.

Here’s how:

  • Weigh yourself before your beach run.
  • Run as usual, and try to maintain your typical pace and effort.
  • After your run, weigh yourself again.
  • The difference in weight reflects the amount of fluid you’ve lost through sweating during your run.

To determine your fluid loss, know that 1 pound of body weight is approximately equal to 16 ounces (or 473 milliliters) of fluid. For example, if you lost 2 pounds during your run, you should aim to replace about 32 ounces (946 milliliters) of fluid.

Additional Tips for Hydration:

  • Listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty during your run.
  • Consider carrying a hydration belt or handheld water bottle to stay properly hydrated while running.
  • In hot and sunny conditions, you may need to increase your fluid intake to account for increased sweat rates.
  • Rehydrate after your run by drinking water or a sports drink with electrolytes to replenish lost fluids and minerals.

Stay Safe

Safety should always be a top priority when embarking on your beach running adventures.

Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:

  • Start Gradually: If you’re new to beach running, begin with shorter workouts lasting no more than 20 to 25 minutes. As you build strength and endurance, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your runs. This gradual approach reduces the risk of injury.
  • Protective Gear: Protect yourself from the elements. Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from glare, a hat to provide shade, and apply sunscreen to prevent sunburn, especially in exposed areas.
  • Stay Hydrated: Carry a water bottle with you during your beach run to ensure you stay well-hydrated. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and other health issues.
  • Footwear: Choose appropriate footwear for beach running. Lightweight, flexible-soled running shoes offer support and protection while allowing you to adapt to the unstable surface.
  • Foot Care: Pay attention to your foot health. Running on sandy terrain can lead to blisters or discomfort if your feet aren’t used to it. Ensure your feet are in good condition, and consider using moisture-wicking socks to reduce friction.
  • Beach Conditions: Be aware of the beach conditions. Not all beaches are the same. Some may have uneven terrain, hidden obstacles like rocks or seashells, or soft sand that can be challenging to run on. Choose your running area wisely.
  • Timing: Avoid running during the hottest part of the day when the sun’s intensity is at its peak (usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Opt for early morning or late afternoon runs when it’s cooler.

The 30 Minute Beach Running Workout

Looking for an effective and challenging beach running workout? Try this 30-minute routine that combines sprints, strength exercises, and a cool-down for a complete beach workout experience.

The Warm-up

Start your workout with a proper warm-up to prepare your body for exercise. Begin with a slow jog for 5 to 10 minutes to increase your heart rate. Incorporate dynamic exercises like squats, inchworms, and lunges to activate your muscles.

Exercise One: Sand Sprints

Sand sprints add an extra layer of resistance, making them more challenging than regular sprints. Follow these steps:

Find a flat section of sand and mark out a distance of 80 to 100 feet (or use landmarks like two canes).

Sprint as fast as you can from one marker to the next, ensuring each sprint lasts 15 to 20 seconds.

Take a 10-second break between sprints.

Focus on maintaining good sprinting form: run tall with a straight back, keep your torso and hips facing forward, and swing your arms back and forth with a 90-degree bend.

Be cautious if you have a history of Achilles tendinitis or ankle sprains, as running on sand can increase the risk of injury.

Exercise Two: Single-leg Jumps

Begin this exercise by jogging to create the forward momentum.

Next, after a few feet, forcefully push off with your lead foot, leaping from one leg to the other with minimal contact with the sand as you drive your lead arm forward.

Stay light on your feet the entire time.

Make sure to land with your knee slightly bent, moving immediately into the next jump.

Exercise Three: Prisoner Squat Jumps

Stand tall with your hands behind your head and feet shoulder-width apart.

Next, while keeping your chest up, arms in place, and head up, squat down as low as you can, then explode up and jump forward several feet.

As you land on the ground, assume a squat position to absorb the impact, then jump again.

Repeat the squat jumps 10 to 12 times, covering as much distance as possible without losing form.

Exercise Four: Walking Lunges

Assume a standing position with feet hip-width part, chest up, and core engaged.

Next, step your right foot forward and assume a low lunge position, bending both knees to a 90-degree angle.

Then, pull your body up over the right foot and step forward to the next lunge.

Just be careful here; performing walking lunges with bad form can lead to a high risk of an injury to your back, hips, knees, or ankles.

So, keep good form throughout the movement.

Exercise Five: Bear Crawl

Begin by standing feet hip-width apart, then bend your knees, fold forward, and place your hands about three to four feet in front of you. That’s your starting position.

Next, while keeping your hips back and core engaged, bear crawl (by walking your hands and feet) 20 feet forward, 20 feet laterally to the right, 20 feet backward, and 20 feet to the left back to the starting point.

To make it more challenging, add ten push-ups after every 20-foot crawl.

Exercise Six: High Knees

Begin by standing straight with your feet hip-width apart.

Then, run in place, bringing both of your knees up to your chest as you can.

Make sure also to pump your arms as fast as you can, aiming to land on the balls of your feet.

And please keep your core engaged, back flat, and chest up the entire time.

Exercise Seven: Butt Kicks

Begin by standing tall with feet shoulder-width apart and arms bent at the sides.

Next, flex your right foot and kick your heel up towards your butt.

Then repeat on the other side and continue alternating between each leg as fast as you can without losing form, and do your best to kick your heels to your glutes each time.

To gain speed and momentum, make sure to swing your arms as quickly as you can while using your core to control your body and to keep good form.

Step Up Your Fitness Game: The Ultimate Guide to Stair Training For Runners

Staircase Workout execise

Ready to take your workouts to new heights? Today, I’ve got something exciting to share with you – it’s all about stair training!

Now, I didn’t stumble upon this fitness gem by accident. Stair climbing workouts quickly became my go-to for boosting aerobic fitness without pounding the pavement endlessly.

But guess what? Stairs aren’t just for cardio junkies like me. They’re a secret weapon for building lower body strength, enhancing agility, improving flexibility, and even diving into anaerobic conditioning.

So, if you’re itching to elevate your training routine and conquer new fitness goals, you’re in the right place!

Get ready to step up your game as we dive into the world of stair training.

Let’s go!

The Benefits of Stair Sprints Training

Here are some of the benefits to expect if you do stair workouts on a regular basis.

Improves VO2 max

VO2 max, or the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during intense exercise, gets a significant upgrade with stair workouts. In fact, here’s a little nugget: climbing just 200 steps twice a day, five days a week over two months, can lead to a whopping 17% increase in your VO2 max.

Strengthens the legs

Forget the leg press machines – stairs are where it’s at! They’re your secret weapon for sculpting those lower body muscles. Think glutes, quads, and calves, all getting toned up without the jarring impact of running or sprinting.

Costs nothing

As long as you’ve got access to a staircase, whether it’s a public one, stadium bleachers, or the stairs in your apartment block, you’re all set. No fancy gym memberships are required. Your fitness journey begins right at your doorstep.

Offers variety

Staircases are like your personal fitness playground. You can shake things up with sprints, plyometric moves that’ll have you feeling like a superhero, and creative variations of classic bodyweight exercises. Think push-ups, squats, lunges, and more.

The Ultimate Stair Workout for Runners

Now that you’re all clued in on the incredible benefits of stair climbing, it’s time to dive into this high-intensity interval training (HIIT) staircase workout. This routine is not just your average workout; it’s your ticket to improved fitness, enhanced strength, and becoming the best runner you can possibly be.

Find the Right Stairs

Before you embark on your stair-climbing adventure, let’s find the perfect set of stairs to conquer.

Ideally, you’ll want a safe and well-lit staircase to ensure you’re training in the best possible conditions. High school stadiums and football arenas often offer great stair-climbing venues. The bleachers or a local park can also be excellent options.

However, if you can’t find any of these, don’t worry! Even a large flight of stairs in your building or office can work wonders. What’s essential is that the staircase has a sufficient number of steps, ideally between 20 to 40 steps or more. Climbing the entire flight should take you roughly 10 to 20 seconds.

Additionally, make sure that your entire foot comfortably fits on each step tread. This not only ensures enough room for strength exercises but also makes your stair-running experience smooth and trouble-free.

Additional resource  – Trx exercises for runners

Warming Up For Stair Workouts

Warming up is your ticket to a safe and effective stair-climbing workout. Let’s get those muscles primed and ready for action!

Start with a gentle jog for about 5 to 10 minutes to get your heart rate up and your body moving.

Next, it’s time for some dynamic moves. Think lunges, inchworms, squats, and more. These exercises help limber up your body and activate those muscles. Repeat this dynamic warm-up sequence two to three times to ensure your body is thoroughly prepared for the stair workout ahead.

Now, a word of caution: The workout we’re diving into is intense.

If you haven’t been doing high-intensity exercises lately, it’s essential to be realistic and ease into it. You can start with fewer reps, always staying within your current fitness capabilities.

Stair Training Exercise One: Sprints

Position yourself at the base of the stairs, ready to conquer them. Picture yourself as Rocky Balboa, and those stairs are your challenge!

When I say “go,” I want you to explode up those stairs like a rocket. Pump your arms vigorously by your sides, and as you sprint, tap each step and launch off it as fast as you can.

Go!

Once you’ve conquered the climb, take a leisurely walk back down to your starting point. This is your chance to catch your breath and gear up for the next round.

Now, how many rounds should you do? That’s where your fitness level and the staircase length come into play. Aim for six to eight rounds, but listen to your body. Don’t push it too hard if you’re just starting out.

Stair Training Exercise Two: Step Forward Lunges

Start at the base of the staircase, and here’s the plan: Step your right foot onto the second or third step, and bend both knees to form perfect 90-degree angles. That’s your lunge position.

Now, push off with your right foot; give it some oomph! Propel yourself up the stairs, step by step. As you do, your left leg should follow suit, meeting your right. Keep that momentum going and step it forward, lowering into the next lunge.

Feel the burn as you continue lunging forward, one step at a time, conquering each step like it’s a victory waiting to be claimed.

Keep your front knee tracking right over your toes, and make sure your torso stays upright. We want those lunges to be picture-perfect!

Once you reach the pinnacle of your staircase conquest, take a stroll back down. This is your well-deserved recovery time before your next lunge adventure

Stair Training Exercise Three: Squat Jumps

Start at the bottom of the stairs and lower your hips down into a squat position. Engage that core!

Swing your arms as you prepare for takeoff.

Hop up to the next step using both feet and stick the landing like a pro back into that squat. Hold it for a quick moment to catch your breath, and then, without missing a beat, leap to the next step.

Keep this squat-jumping rhythm going, transitioning seamlessly from squat to jump as you ascend to the summit of the staircase. Each jump propels you one step closer to victory.

Stair Training Exercise Four: Skip a Step

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydAjynaxqbU

Just like in Exercise One, you’ll start at the bottom of the stairs. But this time, we’re adding a twist. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to sprint-jump high enough to skip not just one but a step or two!

It’s all about that explosive power. Pump those arms like you mean it and maintain perfect form as you ascend. Keep those knees aligned over your feet, and don’t let that back slouch or bend at the waist. Your goal is to conquer those stairs with finesse and style!

Once you’ve conquered the climb, it’s time to gracefully descend. Walk back down for a well-deserved recovery. Catch your breath and get ready for the next round!

Stair Training Exercise Five: Skater Steps

Stand tall, facing the staircase. It’s time for some fancy footwork! Start by stepping your left foot onto the far-left end of the second step.

Now, this is where the magic happens. Push off with your left foot and execute a graceful hop onto your right foot, placing it on the right side of the next step.

Rinse and repeat this ascending dance, alternating sides with each step. You’re like a stair-climbing maestro!

Keep going until you conquer that staircase and reach the glorious summit. Victory is yours!

But wait, it’s not over yet. To ensure a safe landing, walk back down for some well-deserved recovery. It’s all part of the stair-stepping rhythm!

Stair Training Exercise Six: Triceps Stair Dips

Start by finding a comfy spot on the edge of the second or third step. Plant your feet firmly on the ground and position your hands under your shoulders. This is your launching pad for triceps greatness!

Now, let’s lift those hips! Push through your hands until your arms are straight and your legs extend, with your heels resting on the floor. Keep those hands shoulder-width apart and your shoulders relaxed throughout the entire exercise

That’s your starting position, and you’re looking good!

It’s time to engage that core and dive into the dips. Lower your body down and then push it back up. Feel those triceps working their magic? That’s what we’re aiming for!

Remember, the power here comes from your arms, not from bouncing your butt up and down. Keep the focus on those triceps.

Stay in the groove and shoot for at least 12 to 15 reps to complete one set. You’re well on your way to triceps greatness!

Stair Training Exercise Seven: Hop Ups

Position yourself at the base of the stairs with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Engage that core because we’re about to take off!

Now, let’s hop to it! Jump up and down from the first or second step for a solid 20 to 30 reps without hitting the brakes. That’s what we call one set.

Here’s the secret sauce: keep those hops powerful and lightning-fast. You’re not just going through the motions; you’re giving it your all!

Stair Training Exercise Eight: Mountain Climbers

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBZHkGT0W5Y

Turn to face the stairs and place your hands on the second or third step. Lock those arms in, extend your legs behind you, and engage that core. We’re in for a ride!

Now, here’s the drill: lift your right foot off the ground and drive that right knee as close to your chest as humanly possible. Then, smoothly return to the starting position and switch sides.

It’s a leg-switching extravaganza! Alternate those legs and bring your knees to your chest as quickly as you can while maintaining impeccable form.

Keep up the pace! You’ve got 16 reps on each side to conquer without hitting the pause button. Once you do that, you’ve just nailed one set of mountain climbers.

Stair Training Exercise Nine: Single-Leg Hops

Start at the bottom of the staircase, and stand strong on your right leg while keeping your left leg slightly bent. Balance is key, so if you need extra support, lightly hold onto the railing or a nearby wall.

Now, engage that core and maintain those soft knees. It’s time to take flight! Begin jumping up, one step at a time, until you conquer the entire flight of stairs.

Feel the burn? It’s working! Now, take a breather and walk back down the stairs for some well-deserved recovery. Then, switch sides and let your left leg take the lead.

I’d also recommend this speed ladder drills routine.

Featured Image Credit  – Lorna Jane via Flickr

Top 9 Speed & Agility Ladder Drills For Runners

Are you ready to take your running routine to the next level? If you want to improve your agility, speed, and coordination, then you need to incorporate agility ladder drills into your training regimen.

Don’t worry, and you don’t need to be an athlete to reap the benefits of these drills. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your fitness journey, you can benefit from the agility ladder workout I’m about to share with you.

But first, let’s talk about why agility drills are so important. Research has shown that agility training can improve balance, reaction time, and overall athletic performance. Plus, it can help prevent injuries by increasing flexibility and reducing the risk of falls.

It’s no wonder that agility ladder drills have become a staple in the training programs of professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Now, you might be wondering how to get started with agility ladder drills. It’s important to approach these drills with proper form and technique to avoid injury.

But don’t worry, and I’ll walk you through it. In this post, I’ll share my favorite agility ladder workout, along with tips for avoiding bad form and injury.

So grab your ladder, and let’s get started!

What Agility Ladder Drills Training?

Have you ever watched a cheetah sprint through the grasslands, weaving in and out of obstacles with ease? That’s agility in action – the ability to move quickly and accurately with grace and control. Hence, as a runner, having good agility can make all the difference in your performance.

Agility ladder drills are a popular and effective way to train for agility. They consist of a series of movements performed on an agility ladder, which is a flat ladder made up of evenly-spaced rungs. These drills help improve your coordination, speed, balance, and reaction time, all of which are essential components of good agility.

Research has shown that incorporating agility ladder drills into your training program can lead to significant improvements in agility, balance, and coordination (1). And these benefits extend beyond just running – having good agility can also help with everyday activities like playing sports, dancing, or even avoiding obstacles while walking down the street.

What’s An Agility Ladder

But what exactly is an agility ladder, you ask? It’s a simple yet powerful training tool that can take your workouts to the next level. It’s a 10-yard-long piece of equipment that you can either buy online or make yourself.

Once you have your ladder, you can perform various exercises such as skipping through runs, sideways shuffles, and other movements up and down the ladder. These exercises help to strengthen your muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons while improving cardiovascular power, coordination, and focus.

Why Should You Perform Agility Ladder Exercises

Here are some of the benefits of agility ladder drills.

Speed.

By incorporating ladder drills into your training program, you will be promoting a wide range of different footwork and movement patterns, which can help increase stride length, speed, and agility on the running track.

Cardio exercise.

When done right and at a fast pace, the agility ladder can provide you with a killer cardio workout. Just keep in mind that proper form is the priority, not how hard you push yourself. If you lose form, then you are just wasting your time.

Strengthens body and mind

Ladder drills will also help you strengthen your joints, tendons, and ligaments while improving focus and coordination.

For more on the history as well as scientifically proven benefits of ladder drills, check the following pages:

How To Create Your Agility Ladder

Are you ready to save some cash and make your very own agility ladder? Let’s get started!

First off, forget about buying an expensive agility ladder from a sports specialty store. With just a few materials and some DIY skills, you can make your own ladder right at home.

Here’s what you need

  • Two rolls of duct tape—or at least 25 to 30 feet of it.
  • A pair of scissors
  • 10 Paint-stirring sticks. Get the big ones, which are roughly 20 inches long.  I think you can get them for free at the paint counter at Home Depot.
  •  A measuring tape.

The best part? You can probably get those paint-stirring sticks for free at your local Home Depot paint counter!

Once you’ve got your materials ready, it’s time to assemble your ladder. With a few simple steps, you’ll have a fully functional agility ladder in just a few minutes.

But why make your own ladder, you may ask? Not only does it save you money, but it also allows you to customize your ladder to your desired length and width. Plus, the act of creating something with your own hands can be a satisfying experience in and of itself.

For more inspiration and step-by-step instructions, check out some online resources such as YouTube videos or instructional articles.

Agility Ladder Dimensions

As for dimensions, the rungs are often spaced 18 inches apart, forming boxes that are 20 inches wide.

In general, agility ladders are roughly 10 yards long and come in five-yard sections.

Just remember to leave at least 16 inches between each rung.

You can also join multiple sections to create ladders longer than ten yards. It’s up to you.

If you’re not feeling up to the task, there are plenty of tutorials online, including a helpful YouTube video that walks you through the entire process.

Too much to handle? You can always improvise by drawing the ladder on the ground with some tape. After all, exercise doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.

Starting Agility Ladder Exercises Without Falling Flat on Your Face

Are you ready to take your training to the next level with agility ladder exercises? It’s important to start slow and gradually increase your intensity so you don’t trip up and fall flat on your face.

But don’t worry. Here are some easy steps to get you started safely and efficiently.

First things first, set up your agility ladder in a spacious area with a flat surface. Now, it’s time to start slow. As a newbie, begin by walking through the ladder. This helps you get used to the movement and build a proper form from the get-go.

Once you have the hang of it, try some basic ladder drills. Perform a few rounds of jogging up and down the ladder, then try shuffling from side to side. These exercises will help you develop balance, coordination, and quick reflexes.

As you get more comfortable with the ladder, it’s time to make things more challenging. Push yourself to perform the exercises as fast as you can without sacrificing form. Remember, quality over quantity.

Studies have shown that agility ladder drills can improve your speed, coordination, and overall physical fitness.

Plus, they can be a fun and exciting way to switch up your training routine.

Adding The Drills

To make the most of agility ladder drills, you should incorporate them strategically into your running plan. One way to do this is to add them in as part of your dynamic warm-up routine before a run. This can help activate your muscles, improve coordination, and enhance neuromuscular control, which can translate to better performance on the road.

You can also use these drills as a standalone workout, performing 2-3 sets of each drill with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. This can help improve your agility, speed, and reaction time, all of which are important for running performance.

Another option is to use these drills as part of a circuit-style workout, alternating between ladder drills and other strength or cardio exercises. This can provide a high-intensity, full-body workout that can boost your endurance and overall fitness.

Incorporating Agility Ladder Drills Into Your Training Program:

While agility ladder drills can be a great addition to any runner’s training program, it’s important to approach them with a specific plan in mind. Here are some tips on how to incorporate these drills into your routine:

Frequency: Aim to perform agility ladder drills 1-2 times per week, ideally after a warm-up but before your main workout.

Progression: Start with the basic drills and gradually progress to more complex ones. You can also increase the speed or add resistance to the drills over time to make them more challenging.

Variety: Mix up the drills you perform from week to week to keep things interesting and to challenge different aspects of your footwork.

Agility Ladder Exercises Warm-up

Before you start performing ladder drills, make sure to begin your workout with a thorough warm-up.

Since it’s going to be an intense exercise, you need to put some fire inside you. Make sure everything’s ready for the drills.

Jog in place to increase your heart rate and loosen up your muscles and joints, then do plenty of dynamic moves, such as lunges, butt kicks, arm raises, etc.

Agility Ladder Drills & Workout Instructions

Are you ready to take your agility and endurance to the next level? Then get ready to step up to the challenge with these agility ladder drills! This high-intensity interval training workout will push your body to the limit, requiring you to give it your all for short bursts of time, followed by rest periods.

But don’t let the intensity intimidate you. With proper form and technique, you can master each of the 11 drills in this routine. And the results are worth it – improved speed, agility, balance, and coordination.

  1. Ladder Linear Speed Drill

Begin this basic drill behind the ladder. Then, run down the center of the ladder, with each foot coming in contact with the boxes.

Next, turn around and run back to the starting position. Make sure to reduce the amount of time your feet are in contact with the ground.

  1. High Knees Agility Ladder

Begin by stepping into the first box with both feet, then run forward with high knees, lifting your knees to waist level, through the entire length of the ladder.

Make sure to bend your arms at 90 degrees and swing them back and forth to generate momentum.

Last up, turn around and sprint to the starting point.

  1. Lateral Agility Quick Steps

While standing with the agility ladder on your right, start sprinting laterally through the agility ladder by lifting your right foot ankle high and into the first box as quickly as you can, then follow it immediately with your left foot, moving diagonally forward one box until you reach the end of the ladder.

Speed requires stability in your ankle. Protect your ankle by landing safely with balls of your feet with toes pointing up.

  1. Carioca Agility Ladder Drill

Begin by standing on the right side of the agility ladder, then step sideways with your lead foot into the first box, then cross-step your rear foot behind your lead into the second box.

Continue moving laterally across the ladder facing one direction while focusing on quick hip rotation and fast footwork. Then repeat in the opposite direction.

  1. In & Out Ladder Drill

Begin with your feet hip-width apart at the bottom of the agility ladder.

Next, hop into the first box, landing with both feet in the center.

Then, hop forward to the second box, spreading your legs and landing, so both feet are outside of the agility ladder, then jump to the third box, bringing your feet back to the middle position.

Continue down the entire length of the ladder, then hop backward following the same pattern.

  1. Ickey Shuffle Speed Ladder Drill

Start on the left side of the agility ladder, then take a lateral step to the right with your right foot into the first box, then immediately follow it with your left foot.

Step laterally to the left side of the ladder with your left foot, and move your right foot to the next box.

Next, bring your left foot to meet your right, then step laterally to your right side of the speed ladder, and move your left to the next box in front of you.

Continue down the entire length of the ladder, then perform the same drill backward.

  1. Two-footed Forward/Backward Jumps Agility Drill

Stand facing the agility ladder. Next, jump into the second box, then jump backward to the first box, then jump again forward to the third box, then back again to the second box.

Keep jumping back and forth until you have gone the length of the entire ladder, then turn back and repeat.

Make sure to stay up on the ball of your feet the entire time.

And never forget, technique comes first, speed later. You can always add more speed easily by time. But to fix technique and alignment takes forever.

  1. Lateral Shuffle Speed Ladder Drill

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width to the right side of the agility ladder, then step sideways with your left foot into the first box, follow it right away with your right foot.

Next, step sideways with your left foot into the second box then bring your right foot into that box.

Make sure to move through the entire length of the ladder touching both feet in each box, while keeping your chest up, back straight and eyes gazing straight ahead of you the entire time.

Repeat the sequence in the other direction to complete one rep.

  1. Lateral Single-Leg Hops

Begin by standing on your right foot, standing sideways on the right side of the ladder, then hop through the ladder on your right foot.

Once you reach the end of the ladder, turn around, then hop back. Switch sides and repeat. Tips! I love to start with a strong side first. You can do reps with less strong side twice than the strong one. Two birds in one stone, agility, and balance in one go.

Agility Ladder Training – The Conclusion

Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the ladder drills training article! By now, you should be well-versed in the art of footwork and agility and ready to take your athletic abilities to new heights.

Just like a ladder, each drill you’ve practiced is one rung higher on the ladder of success, bringing you closer and closer to your goals. According to recent statistics, athletes who incorporate ladder drills into their training regimen see a significant improvement in their speed, balance, and overall athletic performance.

So, whether you’re a seasoned athlete looking to up your game or a beginner just starting out, ladder drills are an essential tool in your training arsenal.

As you continue to practice these drills and perfect your technique, remember that the journey to success is never linear – there will be ups and downs, twists and turns, but every step you take brings you one step closer to your ultimate goal. So, keep climbing that ladder of success, and never give up on your dreams.

Are you ready to take your running routine to the next level? If you want to improve your agility, speed, and coordination, then you need to incorporate agility ladder drills into your training regimen.

Don’t worry, and you don’t need to be an athlete to reap the benefits of these drills. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting your fitness journey, you can benefit from the agility ladder workout I’m about to share with you.

But first, let’s talk about why agility drills are so important. Research has shown that agility training can improve balance, reaction time, and overall athletic performance. Plus, it can help prevent injuries by increasing flexibility and reducing the risk of falls.

It’s no wonder that agility ladder drills have become a staple in the training programs of professional athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike.

Now, you might be wondering how to get started with agility ladder drills. It’s important to approach these drills with proper form and technique to avoid injury.

But don’t worry, and I’ll walk you through it. In this post, I’ll share my favorite agility ladder workout, along with tips for avoiding bad form and injury.

So grab your ladder, and let’s get started!

What Agility Ladder Drills Training?

Have you ever watched a cheetah sprint through the grasslands, weaving in and out of obstacles with ease? That’s agility in action – the ability to move quickly and accurately with grace and control. Hence, as a runner, having good agility can make all the difference in your performance.

Agility ladder drills are a popular and effective way to train for agility. They consist of a series of movements performed on an agility ladder, which is a flat ladder made up of evenly-spaced rungs. These drills help improve your coordination, speed, balance, and reaction time, all of which are essential components of good agility.

Research has shown that incorporating agility ladder drills into your training program can lead to significant improvements in agility, balance, and coordination (1). And these benefits extend beyond just running – having good agility can also help with everyday activities like playing sports, dancing, or even avoiding obstacles while walking down the street.

What’s An Agility Ladder

But what exactly is an agility ladder, you ask? It’s a simple yet powerful training tool that can take your workouts to the next level. It’s a 10-yard-long piece of equipment that you can either buy online or make yourself.

Once you have your ladder, you can perform various exercises such as skipping through runs, sideways shuffles, and other movements up and down the ladder. These exercises help to strengthen your muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons while improving cardiovascular power, coordination, and focus.

Why Should You Perform Agility Ladder Exercises

Here are some of the benefits of agility ladder drills.

Speed.

By incorporating ladder drills into your training program, you will be promoting a wide range of different footwork and movement patterns, which can help increase stride length, speed, and agility on the running track.

Cardio exercise.

When done right and at a fast pace, the agility ladder can provide you with a killer cardio workout. Just keep in mind that proper form is the priority, not how hard you push yourself. If you lose form, then you are just wasting your time.

Strengthens body and mind

Ladder drills will also help you strengthen your joints, tendons, and ligaments while improving focus and coordination.

For more on the history as well as scientifically proven benefits of ladder drills, check the following pages:

How To Create Your Agility Ladder

Are you ready to save some cash and make your very own agility ladder? Let’s get started!

First off, forget about buying an expensive agility ladder from a sports specialty store. With just a few materials and some DIY skills, you can make your own ladder right at home.

Here’s what you need

  • Two rolls of duct tape—or at least 25 to 30 feet of it.
  • A pair of scissors
  • 10 Paint-stirring sticks. Get the big ones, which are roughly 20 inches long.  I think you can get them for free at the paint counter at Home Depot.
  •  A measuring tape.

The best part? You can probably get those paint-stirring sticks for free at your local Home Depot paint counter!

Once you’ve got your materials ready, it’s time to assemble your ladder. With a few simple steps, you’ll have a fully functional agility ladder in just a few minutes.

But why make your own ladder, you may ask? Not only does it save you money, but it also allows you to customize your ladder to your desired length and width. Plus, the act of creating something with your own hands can be a satisfying experience in and of itself.

For more inspiration and step-by-step instructions, check out some online resources such as YouTube videos or instructional articles.

Agility Ladder Dimensions

As for dimensions, the rungs are often spaced 18 inches apart, forming boxes that are 20 inches wide.

In general, agility ladders are roughly 10 yards long and come in five-yard sections.

Just remember to leave at least 16 inches between each rung.

You can also join multiple sections to create ladders longer than ten yards. It’s up to you.

If you’re not feeling up to the task, there are plenty of tutorials online, including a helpful YouTube video that walks you through the entire process.

Too much to handle? You can always improvise by drawing the ladder on the ground with some tape. After all, exercise doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective.

Starting Agility Ladder Exercises Without Falling Flat on Your Face

Are you ready to take your training to the next level with agility ladder exercises? It’s important to start slow and gradually increase your intensity so you don’t trip up and fall flat on your face.

But don’t worry. Here are some easy steps to get you started safely and efficiently.

First things first, set up your agility ladder in a spacious area with a flat surface. Now, it’s time to start slow. As a newbie, begin by walking through the ladder. This helps you get used to the movement and build a proper form from the get-go.

Once you have the hang of it, try some basic ladder drills. Perform a few rounds of jogging up and down the ladder, then try shuffling from side to side. These exercises will help you develop balance, coordination, and quick reflexes.

As you get more comfortable with the ladder, it’s time to make things more challenging. Push yourself to perform the exercises as fast as you can without sacrificing form. Remember, quality over quantity.

Studies have shown that agility ladder drills can improve your speed, coordination, and overall physical fitness.

Plus, they can be a fun and exciting way to switch up your training routine.

Adding The Drills

To make the most of agility ladder drills, you should incorporate them strategically into your running plan. One way to do this is to add them in as part of your dynamic warm-up routine before a run. This can help activate your muscles, improve coordination, and enhance neuromuscular control, which can translate to better performance on the road.

You can also use these drills as a standalone workout, performing 2-3 sets of each drill with 30-60 seconds of rest between sets. This can help improve your agility, speed, and reaction time, all of which are important for running performance.

Another option is to use these drills as part of a circuit-style workout, alternating between ladder drills and other strength or cardio exercises. This can provide a high-intensity, full-body workout that can boost your endurance and overall fitness.

Incorporating Agility Ladder Drills Into Your Training Program:

While agility ladder drills can be a great addition to any runner’s training program, it’s important to approach them with a specific plan in mind. Here are some tips on how to incorporate these drills into your routine:

Frequency: Aim to perform agility ladder drills 1-2 times per week, ideally after a warm-up but before your main workout.

Progression: Start with the basic drills and gradually progress to more complex ones. You can also increase the speed or add resistance to the drills over time to make them more challenging.

Variety: Mix up the drills you perform from week to week to keep things interesting and to challenge different aspects of your footwork.

Agility Ladder Exercises Warm-up

Before you start performing ladder drills, make sure to begin your workout with a thorough warm-up.

Since it’s going to be an intense exercise, you need to put some fire inside you. Make sure everything’s ready for the drills.

Jog in place to increase your heart rate and loosen up your muscles and joints, then do plenty of dynamic moves, such as lunges, butt kicks, arm raises, etc.

Agility Ladder Drills & Workout Instructions

Are you ready to take your agility and endurance to the next level? Then get ready to step up to the challenge with these agility ladder drills! This high-intensity interval training workout will push your body to the limit, requiring you to give it your all for short bursts of time, followed by rest periods.

But don’t let the intensity intimidate you. With proper form and technique, you can master each of the 11 drills in this routine. And the results are worth it – improved speed, agility, balance, and coordination.

  1. Ladder Linear Speed Drill

Begin this basic drill behind the ladder. Then, run down the center of the ladder, with each foot coming in contact with the boxes.

Next, turn around and run back to the starting position. Make sure to reduce the amount of time your feet are in contact with the ground.

  1. High Knees Agility Ladder

Begin by stepping into the first box with both feet, then run forward with high knees, lifting your knees to waist level, through the entire length of the ladder.

Make sure to bend your arms at 90 degrees and swing them back and forth to generate momentum.

Last up, turn around and sprint to the starting point.

  1. Lateral Agility Quick Steps

While standing with the agility ladder on your right, start sprinting laterally through the agility ladder by lifting your right foot ankle high and into the first box as quickly as you can, then follow it immediately with your left foot, moving diagonally forward one box until you reach the end of the ladder.

Speed requires stability in your ankle. Protect your ankle by landing safely with balls of your feet with toes pointing up.

  1. Carioca Agility Ladder Drill

Begin by standing on the right side of the agility ladder, then step sideways with your lead foot into the first box, then cross-step your rear foot behind your lead into the second box.

Continue moving laterally across the ladder facing one direction while focusing on quick hip rotation and fast footwork. Then repeat in the opposite direction.

  1. In & Out Ladder Drill

Begin with your feet hip-width apart at the bottom of the agility ladder.

Next, hop into the first box, landing with both feet in the center.

Then, hop forward to the second box, spreading your legs and landing, so both feet are outside of the agility ladder, then jump to the third box, bringing your feet back to the middle position.

Continue down the entire length of the ladder, then hop backward following the same pattern.

  1. Ickey Shuffle Speed Ladder Drill

Start on the left side of the agility ladder, then take a lateral step to the right with your right foot into the first box, then immediately follow it with your left foot.

Step laterally to the left side of the ladder with your left foot, and move your right foot to the next box.

Next, bring your left foot to meet your right, then step laterally to your right side of the speed ladder, and move your left to the next box in front of you.

Continue down the entire length of the ladder, then perform the same drill backward.

  1. Two-footed Forward/Backward Jumps Agility Drill

Stand facing the agility ladder. Next, jump into the second box, then jump backward to the first box, then jump again forward to the third box, then back again to the second box.

Keep jumping back and forth until you have gone the length of the entire ladder, then turn back and repeat.

Make sure to stay up on the ball of your feet the entire time.

And never forget, technique comes first, speed later. You can always add more speed easily by time. But to fix technique and alignment takes forever.

  1. Lateral Shuffle Speed Ladder Drill

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width to the right side of the agility ladder, then step sideways with your left foot into the first box, follow it right away with your right foot.

Next, step sideways with your left foot into the second box then bring your right foot into that box.

Make sure to move through the entire length of the ladder touching both feet in each box, while keeping your chest up, back straight and eyes gazing straight ahead of you the entire time.

Repeat the sequence in the other direction to complete one rep.

  1. Lateral Single-Leg Hops

Begin by standing on your right foot, standing sideways on the right side of the ladder, then hop through the ladder on your right foot.

Once you reach the end of the ladder, turn around, then hop back. Switch sides and repeat. Tips! I love to start with a strong side first. You can do reps with less strong side twice than the strong one. Two birds in one stone, agility, and balance in one go.

Agility Ladder Training – The Conclusion

Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of the ladder drills training article! By now, you should be well-versed in the art of footwork and agility and ready to take your athletic abilities to new heights.

Just like a ladder, each drill you’ve practiced is one rung higher on the ladder of success, bringing you closer and closer to your goals. According to recent statistics, athletes who incorporate ladder drills into their training regimen see a significant improvement in their speed, balance, and overall athletic performance.

So, whether you’re a seasoned athlete looking to up your game or a beginner just starting out, ladder drills are an essential tool in your training arsenal.

As you continue to practice these drills and perfect your technique, remember that the journey to success is never linear – there will be ups and downs, twists and turns, but every step you take brings you one step closer to your ultimate goal. So, keep climbing that ladder of success, and never give up on your dreams.

Unlocking the Power of Tabata Sprints: A 4-Minute Fitness Revolution

female runner doing Tabata Workout routine

If you’re someone who’s no stranger to breaking a sweat, chances are you’ve encountered the term “Tabata sprints” more times than you can count.

But have you ever found yourself pondering, “Where on earth did Tabata originate, and why is it such a hot topic in the fitness realm?” I

f that thought has crossed your mind, today’s your lucky day. I’ve gone the extra mile, diving deep into the Tabata universe so you don’t have to.

And trust me, the story behind it is nothing short of fascinating.

In today’s article, you’ll not only discover the secrets of Tabata sprints but also learn how to incorporate them seamlessly into your fitness routine without any fancy equipment or gym memberships.

So, buckle up, and let’s embark on this exhilarating Tabata adventure together!

What Is Tabata Workout Training?

Alright, fitness enthusiasts, gather ’round. We’re about to dive into the incredible world of Tabata training, where just four minutes can change the game.

Here’s the lowdown:

Imagine this: 20 seconds of all-out effort followed by a 10-second breather, and you repeat this cycle eight times. That’s the Tabata training method in a nutshell. It’s like a fitness rollercoaster, and it works wonders.

Our story begins with Izumi Tabata, Ph., a former scientist and researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya. Dr. Tabata had a grand experiment in mind.

Dr. Tabata gathered a bunch of young, eager athletes with diverse backgrounds and skills. He split them into two groups: one doing moderate-intensity training (the control group) and the other diving headfirst into high-intensity training.

The Four-Minute Revelation

After rigorous testing, Dr. Tabata dropped a fitness bombshell: Four minutes. Yes, you read that right. Four minutes of this high-intensity, heart-pounding workout was all it took to yield substantial gains and growth.

The Proof Is in the Research

In 1996, Dr. Tabata unveiled his groundbreaking findings in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” The study titled “Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2max” shook the fitness world.

Let’s dig deeper into the nitty-gritty of this research.

The Initial Study

Let’s rewind the clocks to 1996, a time when Dr. Tabata and his team embarked on an awe-inspiring fitness journey.  The subject of the research were broken down into two groups of eager, mid-twenties amateur athletes.

  • Group I embraced Protocol One, committing to an hour of stationary cycling at 70 percent of their VO2 max five days a week. This was your classic long-haul, moderate-paced workout.
  • Group II, on the other hand, were the Tabata trailblazers, choosing Protocol Two. They opted for an intense regimen: four days a week, eight explosive 20-second bursts of biking at a jaw-dropping 170 percent effort, sandwiched between 10-second recovery intervals.

Crunching the Numbers

  • Group I endured 1,800 minutes of moderate-intensity training over six weeks.
  • Group II? Well, they only sweated it out for about 120 minutes of high-intensity training during the same period. That’s the equivalent of just four minutes and 20 seconds per session.

The Mind-Blowing Results

  • Group I saw a decent 9.5 percent boost in their maximum aerobic capacity (the cardiovascular stuff), but their anaerobic system (the muscular side) didn’t budge much.
  • Group II not only crushed their maximum aerobic capacity with a 14 percent increase but also flexed their anaerobic power, showing an incredible 28 percent improvement.

Conclusion:

In a plot twist that left everyone’s jaws on the floor, high-intensity interval training proved to be the ultimate game-changer. The group that worked out for just four minutes and 20 seconds, thanks to the power of high-intensity intervals, emerged as the clear winners at the end of the six weeks.

MIND BLOWN!

So, there you have it, folks. The science-backed, time-efficient workout that forever altered the fitness landscape. Ready to give Tabata a whirl?

Benefits of Tabata Sprints Training

So, you’ve heard the buzz about Tabata sprints, and you’re ready to dive in. But what’s in it for you? Let’s break down the incredible benefits that await those who make Tabata a regular part of their fitness journey:

Improved Anaerobic Capacity

Imagine having a secret reserve of energy, the kind that kicks in when you’re pushing your limits. That’s what improved anaerobic capacity brings to the table.

It’s the extra oomph that lets you run faster and longer, enhancing your resistance to fatigue and helping your muscles battle lactic acid buildup, research shows.

Burns Mad Calories

Want to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace? Tabata’s got you covered. In a study, it was found that a typical Tabata workout can torch a mind-boggling 12 to 15 calories per minute.

That means, in just four short minutes, you’re on your way to burning calories like never before. It’s like a fat-burning miracle wrapped up in a 4-minute workout package.

Endless Combinations

 What I like about Tabata workouts is the endless number of training combinations you can do. You can perform any exercise you like. You can do push-ups, squats, Tabata sprints, burpees, or any other exercise that hits large muscle groups.  

Saves Time

In today’s fast-paced world, time is precious. Tabata recognizes this and offers a potent workout that fits into even the busiest schedules.

With just four minutes of high-intensity effort, you can reap the rewards that would take much longer with traditional workouts. Efficiency at its finest.

Metabolic Boost

Tabata isn’t just about the burn during your workout; it’s about the afterburn, too. High-intensity intervals like these can elevate your metabolism, causing your body to continue burning calories long after you’ve hit the showers. It’s like having a calorie-burning engine that keeps running, even at rest.

Here’s a list of further research about the effects of Tabata-style training.

Study 1

Study 2

Study 4

Tabata Logistics – Time it Right!

You have two main options to keep your Tabata workout on track: a trusty stopwatch or a Tabata-specific app. Each has its advantages, so let’s break them down.

Stopwatch:

A classic stopwatch is a simple yet effective tool. It’s a no-frills way to time your intervals and rest periods accurately. However, there’s a catch – it requires you to glance at it during your high-intensity sprints. When you’re pushing yourself to the max, that can be a challenge.

A Tabata App:

Enter the Tabata app, your digital training partner. These apps are designed with one goal in mind – to make your Tabata sessions seamless and hassle-free. They offer audio cues, visual countdowns, and round tracking, leaving you with zero guesswork.

Plus, they let you focus entirely on your workout without the distraction of checking the time.

If you’re wondering which Tabata app to go for, look no further. Here are a couple of recommendations:

  • Tabata Pro ($3): A premium choice that provides top-notch features and customization options. It’s like having a personal Tabata coach in your pocket.
  • Free Versions: If you prefer to keep it budget-friendly, a quick Google search for “Tabata apps” will yield plenty of free options. These can get the job done without breaking the bank.

Whichever timing method you choose, the key is consistency and precision. Your Tabata success hinges on hitting those 20-second bursts and 10-second rests spot on.

The 30-Minute Tabata Workout For Beginners

Are you ready to push your limits, break a sweat, and transform your fitness level? Look no further than this high-intensity Tabata workout that’s guaranteed to leave you breathless and exhilarated. Strap in and get ready to unleash your inner beast!

The Tabata Challenge – 5 Rounds of Pure Intensity:

Duration: Each round lasts a swift but potent 4 minutes, consisting of 8 rounds of explosive effort.

  1. Maximum Effort (20 seconds):

This is your moment to shine. Push yourself to the absolute limit. Whether it’s intense squats, lightning-fast sprints, or another cardio-busting exercise, go all out. Every second counts.

  1. Quick Recovery (10 seconds):

Take a well-deserved breather, but keep it snappy. It’s your brief respite before the next explosive round.

  1. Repeat x 8:

That’s right, you’ll be repeating this intense cycle eight times in total. It’s a relentless challenge, but the rewards are worth it.

The Tabata Battle Plan:

Here’s a quick rundown of the workout structure, just to keep you on track:

  • Round 1: Exercise 1 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 2: Exercise 2 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 3: Exercise 3 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 4: Exercise 4 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8
  • Round 5: Exercise 5 (20 sec) ➡️ Rest (10 sec) ➡️ Repeat x 8

Remember:

This Tabata workout is an all-out sprint, not a leisurely jog. Give it everything you’ve got during those 20-second bursts. It’s okay to feel challenged – that’s where the magic happens.

Exercise Selection:

Feel free to mix and match exercises to keep things fresh. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • High knees
  • Burpees
  • Jump squats
  • Push-ups
  • Mountain climbers
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Sprinting in place

The Warm-up

Think of your warm-up as the launchpad for your Tabata journey. It’s your chance to gradually elevate your heart rate, loosen up those muscles, and get your body primed for action.

  • Step 1: Begin with a 5-minute jog at a comfortable pace. This gentle introduction helps get the blood flowing and your muscles in the mood.
  • Step 2: Dynamic stretches are your best friends here. Perform leg swings, arm circles, hip rotations, and torso twists. These movements help increase flexibility, prevent injury, and mentally prepare you for the intensity ahead.
  • Step 3: Finally, perform a few short bursts of the exercise you’ll be doing during your Tabata sprints, but at a moderate pace. For example, if you’ll be doing high knees, start with a slower, controlled version. This helps activate the relevant muscles and refine your technique.

 The Cooldown (After the Sprints):

You’ve conquered those 20-second sprints – well done! Now, it’s time to transition back to a state of calm and allow your body to recover gradually.

  • Step 1: After your final sprint, avoid stopping abruptly. Instead, slow down your pace and jog lightly for a few minutes. This helps your heart rate gradually return to its resting state.
  • Step 2: Follow this with static stretches for the major muscle groups you’ve worked on during your sprints. Focus on your quads, hamstrings, calves, and hip flexors. Hold each stretch for 15-30 seconds to improve flexibility and reduce post-workout muscle tightness.
  • Step 3: Hydrate! Replenish those lost fluids by drinking water. You’ve earned it.

Round One: Tabata Sprints

Sprint for 20 seconds, rest for 10, then sprint for another 20 seconds, shooting for eight sprints at an all-out effort.

You can also perform the sprints on a steep hill, but make sure to pick a hill that’s not too technical since you will be running at your maximum speed for at least the first set of reps.

Round Two: Tabata High Knees

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whHxoB-AFYQ

Stand feet hip-width apart. Keep your back flat and core engaged the entire time.

Perform high knees by jumping from one foot to the other, lifting your knees as high as you can. Focus on lifting your knees up and down as fast as you can, landing on the balls of your feet as you run in place.

Do this for 20 seconds, rest for 10, and then repast the cycle eight times to complete the round.

Round Three: Tabata Jumping Lunges

Take a lunge position with your right foot forward, knees bent, and left knee nearly touching the floor.

Next, while extending through both legs, explode up and jump as high as you can, swinging your arms to gain momentum. Then switch the position of your legs mid-air, moving your left leg to the front and right leg to the back, and immediately lower yourself into a lunge on the opposite side.

Keep jumping back and forth for 20 seconds, then rest for 10, repeating the cycle eight times.

If you can’t keep doing jump lunges with good form, then perform walking lunges instead. Be aware of your limits.

Round Four: Tabata Squats

Assume an athletic position with feet hip-width apart. For more challenges, hold a set of dumbbells or plates at shoulder height.

Next, to perform the squat, bend your knees and sit back, lowering yourself down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep your back flat, head facing forward, and your toes tracking over the knees the entire time.

Last up, return to standing by pushing through your heels.

Continue squatting for the full 20-second interval, moving as fast as you can, then rest for 10 seconds. Repeat the cycle eight times.

Round Five: Burpees

Stand feet hip-width apart, back straight, and core engaged.

Next, squat down and place your palms on the floor, then jump both of your feet into a full plank position, then quickly hop your feet back into a squat and explosively leap into the air, reaching your arms straight overhead. Add a clap for some sound effects!

In case you’re looking for more challenge, then you can either add a standard push-up from your plank or drop your chest to the floor before jumping back up.

Conclusion

Here is the routine in a nutshell

Round 1 (4 minutes) Sprints

  • Sprint at your highest speed for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 2 (4 minutes) High Knees

  • High knees for 20 seconds, as many reps as possible with good form.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 3 (4 minutes) Jumping Lunges

  • Jumping lunges for 20 seconds, as many reps as possible with good form.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 4 (4 minutes) Squats

  • Squats for 20 seconds, doing as many reps as possible with good form.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

Round 5 (4 minutes) Burpees

  • Do as many burpees as you can for 20 seconds.
  • Rest for 10 seconds.
  • Complete eight rounds for a total of 4 minutes.

 

Tabata Sprints Workout –  The Conclusion

There you have it.

Whatever exercises you pick, your choices should target large of muscles to get the most out of Tabata sprints training.

It’s perfectly okay to feel some soreness or muscle pain during and following your first few Tabata sessions. That’s actually how you know that you’re doing it right.

As you get fit, you’ll body will adjust, and you’ll only experience a mild to moderate soreness after the beginning.

For more, here are some of my favorite cardio workout alternatives to running.

Please feel free to leave your comments and questions in the section below.

In the meantime thank you for reading my post.

Keep Running Strong

David D.