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Fitness Hacks That Work For Me (And They Might Just Work For You, Too)

Time to hack your fitness. Born from computer nerdery, the definition of a “hack” is a “workaround”– a little something that allows a task to be done better or easier. A hack doesn’t have to be pretty- a hack just has to WORK. In our case, we’re talking tricks you can kick into gear that get fitness to stick.

I don’t mean to be too harsh buuuut… most of the fitness hacks out there are kind of lame. They’re no-brainer content grabs like “Drink water”. “Warm Up”. “Do Cardio”. Really? Thanks for the tip that’s pretty much EXACTLY WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING ANYWAY. No, a hack needs to be something you may not have thought of yourself and something that actually CHANGES the way you workout, or enables you to do it better. Drinking water? Well, I’d call that a less a “fitness hack” and more a “do it or you’ll die” life hack.

Anyway, all that griping aside (I’m really a happy, upbeat guy- honest) I wanted to deliver a couple hacks that really worked for me- hacks that really made a difference in helping me achieve my results and stick with the fitness program:

Fitness Hack #1: Go to Bed in Your Workout Clothes

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What the what!?

First, a confession. I know saying this will break the honesty of my post title but I wanted to come clean right off the bat- I’ve never gone to bed in my workout clothes. BUT… think about it!

First, going to bed in your workout gear saves those couple morning minutes spent shuffling through your closet, trying to figure out if that’s a navy blue or black pair of shorts. It also keeps you from unfairly sucker-punching your significant other’s eyeballs with an early-morning “turn off the freakin’ light!!!” wake-up call. Second, hitting the sack in your workout clothes embeds the thought of working out in your mind just before you hit dreamland- conditioning you to wake up with fitness-minded gusto because you’re PREPARED to push play and get your sweat on.

See? You’ve already taken ACTION hours before action is needed to be taken, thus giving time to think up excuses a big ol’ wedgie. In short: I’m a big fan of working out in the morning and the way it opens up your mood and day and this crazy hack gets you started right in making it happen.

 

Fitness Hack #2: Double (or Triple!) Your Recipes

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Nutrition is king in not just your health but in looking awesome half-naked. And really, isn’t that what we are when we’re sitting poolside? I don’t mean to be crass or anything but… yes. Yes we are. OK, topic derail but back to that life hack: doubling your dinner recipe not only gets you dinner… it gets you LUNCH for tomorrow as well. And maybe even dinner for a couple nights.

See where I’m going here?

By doubling your recipe at night, you’re taking the guesswork out of your meal plan tomorrow. You’re planning without thinking about it. You’ve already got a meal with the right mix of complex carbs, protein, fats and deliciousness… you’re just making more of it so you can hit round two the next day. You do this with every meal and you really only have to worry about breakfast and snacks. And Shakeology and Quest bars (review)have that part covered already.

 

Fitness Hack # 3: Buy Stuff (You Know…. Reward Thyself)

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Buying stuff can make you happy. For a couple hours anyway… until the void it filled in your soul comes back in the form of a credit card bill and a guest spot on an episode of “Hoarders”. OK, but seriously- rewarding yourself is the goods. And I’m not talking about big-ticket, checkbook/financial sanity destructive items and I’m DEFINITELY not talking about a “reward meal” of a night of binge-drinking or snarfing a semi-tire sized pizza known as the “gutbuster”. I’m talking about something that gets you excited about continuing your fitness journey: A new pair of shoes. A pair of compressions shorts or a top. Maybe some fancy workout socks or even a set of wristbands.

This may sound silly but if there’s one thing that helped me in my fitness journey, it was adding things to my fitness arsenal. Cool shorts might help you mentally step up your game and feel the part. A recipe book might help you refine your nutrition. A new workout (say, like P90X2’s V-Sculpt) adds some fresh workout fun to your library. Either way, like I said, reward yourself with items that will help you continue, or remain excited about, your body-changing fitness project.

 

Fitness Hack # 4: Use A Mirror

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OK, in the beginning a mirror might not be that fun to look into as you’re working out. But I promise, as you change and see new muscles and veins… it gets fun… and maybe a little more time-consuming than it should be. I’ve been busted on more than one occasion flexing or posing. Nobody’s perfect.

But beyond the ego-centric aspect of having a mirror in your workout room, there’s the critical element of seeing what you look like when your work out. I mean, gyms have them plastered all over for a reason: they help get your form right. You know how many times I’ve struggled to get that last rep and practically broken my back bending over to get that last bicep curl? Too many. A mirror changed that. I saw my butt was up in my pushups. I saw I was leaning over in my lunges. A mirror lets you fix your form– and when you fix your form, you workout better, get better results and avoid injury. That’s a high five trifecta there.

Read more about using a mirror in your workout.

Fitness Hack # 5: Make Your Own Pumped Up Playlist

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I’ll be the first to admit- this hack is a little generic but sometimes the music in Beachbody workouts isn’t the most inspiring. Not that there’s anything wrong with it but I’m just not a blue collar rock’n’roll kind of guy and something like the P90X soundtrack, well… it doesn’t inspire me. So I went OCD and created my own playlists that got me pumped through the workout. Now instead of listening to “ohms and scitars” during Yoga X, I’m listening to the thumptastic beast of Deadmau5. And while that might not be your thing, any workout CAN be your thing if you put your own musical tastes to it and cater your playlist to ramp and flow with the pace of your workout.

So hey… if music is the soundtrack to our lives, why not make the soundtrack to this body-changing, life-changing moment of your life something to get excited about? Make listening to your favorite tunes a highlight of your workout- sing along, jump higher, lift harder… make your workout HYPE.

That “hype” will keep you in the game as you get your own awesome results that bring a hype of their own. Now get out there and hack on!

Real-world support, accountability and motivation on your fitness journey can be found here at HDIGF when you make me your free Coach here. You can also find me on Facebook, Google + and Pinterest. Hit me up any time at dan@howdoigetfit.com. Got your own fitness hacks you’d like to share? SHARE ‘EM BELOW!

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