"Muscle Confusion" seems to be a hot top fitness and fat burning trend in and out of the gym these days. This is why intense work out programs like Insanity, P90x, Beach Body's Combat, and CrossFit are so popular. Especially when different cardiovascular and strength movements are mixed with plyometric, explosive and powerful movements. I always recommend to clients (regarding fat loss and lean muscle building) to change up the workout and type of body movement. Not only the specific workout but even when the same types of activities are done vary the speed, intensity, duration and or load. Our bodies are very intelligent and adapts quickly to new foods, new environments, and movements, but the best way to achieve noticeable results in strength, power, flexibility, athletic performance, and endurance is to explore new ways the body can handle different exercises or the same exercises, but just keep it guessing as to what the next challenge will be.
Yogis can testify to this as well. You can perform adho mukha śvānāsana, (downward facing dog), for example, every day, and it will feel different every time. How you approach the downward facing dog, your intentions and new approaches and transitions into this fundamental position can make a world of difference.
One of my favorite machines at the gym is the LateralX Elliptical Machine by Octane Fitness. "Move in a New Direction" is their motto on this machine, and it certainly is one of the most progressive pieces of equipment available today.
Typical elliptical (non-impact, feels like standing upright on a bicycle with Nordic track cross country ski arms) moves in a front to back (and vice versa) fluid circular, or elliptical motion. The LateralX from Octane Fitness is offering not only the same motions of the traditional elliptical, but also sidesteps (like a skating motion) and works out the quads, calves, glutes, and core. "When at the widest setting (level 10) users burn 23% more calories and receive 30% greater muscle activation in the hip abduction, hip adduction and knee extension over traditional elliptical trainers" states Octane Fitness. Below is a great introductory video as to how to use the machine. I personally find the MMA (mixed martial arts) interval training program one of the most effective. It is extremely hard, as it also incorporates upper body (back, shoulders, deltoids, biceps), as the arms must "push and pull" through different levels of resistance in each round that you are "fighting." If you seek a different but effective workout, give the LateralX Elliptical Machine a go!
Kettle bells are a very versatile and effective workout. They are easy to use (once you get the hang of them) and improve functional strength and adds great body mass and lean muscle (plus they are fun). Do not be shy or intimidated! Try them out and you will see why athletes of all realms choose kettle bells to increase core stability, muscle range of motion, blast body fat and accelerate fat metabolism. Buying a set of kettle bells are also much cheaper than an entire set of dumb bells, and you can always come up with different and effective kettle bell exercises. Below are a few basic but effective kettle bell exercises and resources.
29 Kettlebell exercises by Cavemantraining:
BodyFit by Amy’s 20 Minute Kettlebell Full Body Burn for Strength & Cardio:
30 Minute Kettlebell HIIT Workout for Strength Training and Fat Loss - At Home Kettlebells Routine by Millionaire Hoy
30 Min HIIT Kettlebell Workouts for Fat Loss & Strength - Kettebell Workout Training Exercises by HASfit
Not just for children, jumping (even skipping) releases many feelings of being free and happy. These great exercises are often over looked as even exercise because they are so fun. Jumping rope is very inexpensive (and can be free if you do not have a rope and simply use your arms to mimic ropes in hand), portable and helps the body learn coordination, timing, and builds cardio endurance and lower body (legs) power.
Trampoline parks are very popular in most major cities and offer three-dimensional jumping options (off walls and various polls and equipment into foam pits). Most trampoline parks offer fat burning aerobic classes for the cardio warriors, and you don't have to be an experienced gymnast to attend! Building self audacity is just one of the great things about jumping. You begin to lose the sense of fear and start springing from one place to another. . . with a smile on your face.
No rope or trampoline? No problem! Find a nice corner (the size of a yoga mat) and just start jumping to your favorite music. Dance a little while you are at it. Jump in the sand at the beach (improve your vertical for the next pick-up volleyball game), or jump off the diving board! Don't think so horizontal. Get up and increase the vertical. Jump in max-intervals, on and off, side to side, front to back, do 180 turns and incorporate some squats and push ups. It's heart pumping good!
Developed for Navy Seals, the popular TRX suspension training exercise uses gravity and a person's body weight to perform hundreds of exercises. By adjusting your own body position, resistance can be added or decreased. Extremely effective in building a solid core, muscle endurance, fine-tuning the micro-fibers as well as the major compound muscles, this very portable and easy to learn to use exercise program should be on everyone's (new to fitness and exercise and seasoned athlete alike) "to-do" list.
I like body movement and exercises that do not depend on clunky, complicated machines. The more versatile and portable, the better. Trainers across the country are adopting these new trends to help their clients achieve faster, more effective results with a more fun approach. Think outside the gym-box, and make working out and sweating enjoyable. Good luck and train hard!