Whether you are a complete and utter fitness newbie, or a seasoned gym rat, I’m tickled to share my top 10 training activities with you.
What does it take for an exercise to make my top 10 A-List? I enjoy challenging my body, and enjoy putting myself in uncomfortable fitness environments to test my overall athleticism. I don’t value building musculature for the sake of appearance – I want to feel like an athlete on all levels in all situations. Each activity that made my A-list is something I genuinely enjoy doing, but is also responsible for some sort of transformation in me.
I’ve been consistently applying fitness to my life for over a decade. Looking back on my fitness journey, certain applications stand out for launching my physique, as well as strengthening and conditioning it. Let’s talk about THOSE ones… the MONEY exercises. Let’s toss the namby-pamby, gimmicky, wishy-washy training applications and highlight some of the ones that bring noticeable RESULTS.
Disclaimer: It’s quite fun trying new sports and training applications, but I do come across activities that I’d choose open-heart surgery over any day of the week (ahem… cycling and kickboxing.) We’re not going to go there today. I realize every fitness enthusiast is different and while sharing my A-list, I hope to inspire you to create your own. Your list should involve ENJOYMENT as much as it involves results.
#1 JUMP ROPE
Why I enjoy this activity: I can take my rope ANYWHERE and find somewhere to skip; it’s a FREE exercise; it’s a great warm-up for upper or lower body weight training days too; it’s also fun trying to skip like the top boxers and seeing the improvement over time.
How it transformed my body: I can’t tell you how much it has increased my agility and foot/ankle strength. I used to stumble excessively on hiking trails before I became an avid skipper, and now I’m confident while walking or running on all terrain. It also gave me noticeable shoulder, calf and upper back muscle development.
#2 RUNNING (When I say running, I mean RUNNING)
Why I enjoy this activity: The no-brainer answer here is FRESH AIR. Who doesn’t love exercising outside? I have to admit I’m a high-maintenance running enthusiast. I’m not a fan of running on treadmills or through nondescript residential areas – I love to run on ocean side sea walls or in picturesque parkland.
It’s also free of charge and you can go at your own pace. You can utilise distance running, short sprints or uphill techniques for various health goals. Low intensity jogging has its place in fitness, however, if your body can handle it try RUNNING. I know plenty of long distance minimal-intensity joggers who struggle with their weight, but I do not know any high-intensity runners who do.
How it transformed my body: Believe it or not, running remedies a knee condition I’ve had since I was a teenager. Patellofemoral syndrome isn’t fun. My outer quadriceps develops rapidly compared to my other upper leg muscles. This affects the alignment of my knee caps and causes knee pain. Regular running seems to work the opposing muscles and my inner quadriceps, allowing me to manage the condition and build muscles in a health-conscious and balanced fashion.
Running also helps my cardio conditioning more than anything else. Cardio health is the first to go when I stop running. I have asthma and poor lung capacity, and not surprisingly my lung health is best when I’m running regularly. I choose medium distances and run them at an uncomfortable pace the entire time. I like five to seven and a half kilometres runs best. When I’m finished, there’s sweat everywhere and I feel like I’ve run a marathon. I have to wear very minimal clothing or I’ll overheat – it’s that intense. This method of running is so effective at keeping my body fat down, that I have to watch for muscle loss, and eat plenty of food.
Why I enjoy this activity: It’s FUN! It’s a total body workout; it builds muscles at a slow, healthy pace and builds cardio health rapidly; It helps to lower body fat and increase muscle through muscle confusion and consistently challenging applications. It gives females lovely delts, toned backs and smaller flatter waists to balance their figures. I suppose it does the same for men too, actually.
How it transformed my body: Boxing increased my cardio health, muscle development and my core strength. Much of the conditioning exercises worked my abs and back muscles while the speed drills built my upper body and improved my breathing.
The unfortunate part of boxing is that you need to be very conscious of how symmetrically your muscles are developing. Since you are either in a right-handed or left-handed stance for much of the repetitive activity, you have to be accountable by ensuring all of your muscles are getting equal attention overall. My right calf seems permanently smaller since I started boxing and I’m still discovering small muscles in my body that are incredibly weak on my left side compared to my right. My jab (left arm) works different muscles with a different intensity than my cross (right arm.)
#4 WEIGHT TRAINING – Exercise ball CRUNCHES with weight over-head
Why I enjoy this activity: Oops, did I say I enjoy this activity? I don’t really enjoy this at all, but I find it incredibly efficient and convenient. I can do it at home any time. If the gym closes before I can get my ab workout in, I can finish it at home without worry. What do I mean by efficient? I’m trying to say you can go hammer out 200 crunches every night like Halle Berry does, but I’ll take the ball crunches any day, due to how little you have to do to see amazing results.
How it transformed my body: Through the magic of my coach’s custom program, including variations of this exercise (in surprisingly small doses) I watched a six-pack grow on me faster than with any other abs activities.
#5 WEIGHT TRAINING – Walking Lunges
Why I enjoy this activity: It gets my heart rate up quickly and works all of my leg muscles and glutes. It’s most effective to venture across the entire length of your gym and back, a few times – feeling like you’re in a weight-infused cardio session. (For the record, I’m referring to LONG, DEEP and intense walking lunges with heavy weights in hand).
How it transformed my body: My flexibility is at it’s best since I began performing these. My rear-view has improved very much as well. From my glutes down the back of my legs, it’s a much smoother and prettier picture.The residual benefit is the core strength I’ve built from carrying heavy weights while taking care of my posture while lunging.
Check back later today for part two of this post.
This article was researched and written by Follow @MindyAmbrose
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