It might still be cold outdoors, but as we enter the last few weeks of winter, now is the ideal time to kickstart your fitness regime. With spring just round the corner, make sure you optimise your workout routine with these smart tips from well-known South African fitness expert, Arnold Vosloo.
Gamify your fitness routine
“When people start working out, they often jump straight into rigorous and strict workout regimens. Because it’s so intense right from the get-go it’s easy to become overwhelmed and give up. One way to get into fitness is to find opportunities where you can incorporate games or play around,” says Vosloo.
“Everyone likes having fun, so fitness newbies should look to activities that they already enjoy doing or that they have an interest in. This could be signing up for a group sport, working out with their friends and turning it into a competition, going to a dance class or playing a game of padel. By doing activities that bring you joy you will be more likely to have some consistency,” explains Vosloo.
A growing trend in the fitness industry is “gamified fitness”, which is including video game-like elements into your routine. There are various gamified fitness platforms or apps available online. These programmes involve components such as earning points and rewards and leaderboards to compete with friends.
What was once an underground interest in the early 2000s is now one of the biggest wellness trends of the last few years. In simple terms biohacking is a DIY biology approach to optimising health and performance. While the term may sound extreme many people have already done some form of biohacking before – like intermittent fasts or meditations.
Under the umbrella of biohacking is nutrigenomics which centers around the ways the food you consume relates to your body’s gene expression needs. Essentially, nutrigenomics is how you can achieve better health through certain foods with nutritional benefits. A personalised DNA test will help you uncover your own genetic blueprint and inform what and how much you should be eating of particular foods.
Of course, not everyone will want to go to the extremes of a DNA test or have an interest in the science of nutrigenomics, but many of us can agree that finding ways of boosting our nutrition is vital!
“One way in which I ensure I am getting enough vitamins and minerals is by adding microgreens into my daily diet. Microgreens are a delicious and affordable source of vitamins C, E, and A, minerals like copper and zinc and phytochemicals. I personally use MicroThumbs’ peashoot powder in my daily smoothies, but you could use their microgreens pesto in various ways like in pasta or sandwiches. Or grab a punnet of greens at your local grocery store and top your meals with them.
“I recommend eating microgreens because they contain up to 40x more nutrients than their mature vegetable counterparts, and aside from the health benefits microgreens can enhance the flavour of so many dishes,” Vosloo adds.
Workout like an expert
Some seasoned gym-goers have particular days for training specific body parts – think Monday leg days or Wednesday arm and abs days. However, Vosloo recommends, if you are starting out and you want to see great results, try a set of workouts that will work your largest range of muscles in one go. Push-ups, for example, work the muscles in your chest, core, shoulders and triceps, and moving further during an oblique twist by bringing your elbow outside your knees during reps will work your upper and lower abs.
When it comes to weight training Vosloo cautions against picking weights that are too heavy for you, as you won’t grow muscles properly. “Ultimately the time you spend training your muscles is essential in growing them. If you struggle to weight train for under or around the 20-second mark, then you’re definitely picking up weights that are too heavy to achieve results. I would suggest selecting a weight that pushes you until at least the 30 to 40-second mark,” he adds.
If you are aiming to achieve big muscles then don’t overdo it on cardio, cautions Vosloo. This could lead to you burning too many calories, so if you still want to do cardio workouts then aim for a 20-minute jogs. “If your goal is to burn fat then you need to ensure that you are eating enough protein daily, which is ideally between 1.6 and 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight, while still being mindful of your general calorie intake,” Vosloo concludes.