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When you embark on a fitness journey to achieve your health and body goals, it can be easy to mistake training harder for training better. Unfortunately, this can lead to a variety of problems, such as overtraining and burnout, that will not only inhibit your progress but actually set you back.
Instead, aim to train smarter instead of harder. Training smarter involves giving more thought and purpose to your activities, engaging in more accurate and helpful metrics, and choosing to push yourself in ways that are actually beneficial.
One of the most effective strategies for ensuring you train smarter is body composition monitoring. As the general health and fitness industry has developed over time, BCM has become more and more recognised as the best lens through which to assess one’s overall health.
However, before we elaborate on what BCM is and how it is conducted, it’s important that you understand and recognise the symptoms of overtraining.
Training hard is good. Training too hard, on the other hand, is not. When you over-train, you inhibit your body’s ability to recover and rejuvenate afterwards. This can result in not just physical injury and fatigue but can actively work against your ability to achieve your goals.
Read more on our tips for avoiding and recovering from overtraining here.
Body composition monitoring forms the backbone of the ‘training smarter not harder’ workout ethic.
In a nutshell, the term ‘body composition’ refers to the sum of a range of bodily factors. From your body/fat percentage to your bone and muscle mass, and even total water levels, body composition monitoring seeks to provide a holistic view of your overall health and fitness.
Everyone is different and everyone’s fitness goals are different too. By building on your understanding of your own body composition, you can help determine how to best achieve your own goals. For example, if you’re looking to achieve a toned physique, you might need to focus on building muscle. Or you might need to focus on losing fat. Instead of simply working as hard as possible in the gym without direction, body composition monitoring arms you with the knowledge to work smarter and make more meaningful and effective progress.
Body composition tests are also very effective at revealing some health issues that you may not have realised were underlying. Carrying excess body fat can lead to a number of issues including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
In the past, the measurement of Body Mass Index (BMI) was once used and relied upon. This overly simplified and outdated method doesn’t take into account your bone and muscle mass, for example, and simply determines your index based on your weight and height. This inaccurate assessment can lead to ill-informed training strategies that focus on the wrong thing.
Body composition tests, on the other hand, take into account more than just your weight and height to give you as much information and as accurate an understanding of your body as possible.
Similarly, relying on a simple set of scales to inform you of your overall weight and height is not going to cut it. Body composition monitors (BCMs) are designed to measure a variety of factors in addition to weight: body fat percentage, body fat mass, muscle mass, total body water and bone mass.
All of this is calculated and taken into account to give you a body composition rating for your physique and fitness. Without this data, how can you be expected to train smarter?
Once you understand your body, you can begin to formulate a health and fitness plan customised for you. Here are a few tips to help you work out smarter without overdoing it and harming yourself in the process.
Setting goals is important in all areas of life. Goal setting can be daunting but research has shown that it actually does help to focus and motivate you. Remember to make your goals SMART:
Vary your workout
Changing your workout and exercises is beneficial for a number of reasons. Apart from ensuring your mental engagement it’s essential for targeting and activating different areas of your body.
Including a variety of routines and activities will help you avoid overtraining a particular muscle and promotes important elements such as flexibility and endurance, as well as strength.
From running to swimming, cycling to kickboxing, and even rock-climbing to ice skating, there’s just about no limit to the variety of activities you can engage in. The important thing is to find a workout balance that works for you.
Monitor your progress
Knowledge is power and power is control. When it comes to effective training, you need to be in control. The more you are able to track your health and fitness progress, the better position you’ll be in to adjust your workout and training accordingly.
Without ongoing data collection, you’ll be flying blind and opening yourself up to overtraining and muscle straining. Note: This doesn’t mean jumping on the scales every day to measure yourself obsessively. Concentrate on collecting meaningful and helpful information that’s going to complement and enhance your progress. You can find out more about monitoring and measuring your journey here.
Investing in yourself is the first step towards ensuring you train smarter and not harder. That’s where Tanita comes in.
Our top-of-the-range Body Composition Monitors are the essential tool for accurate body measuring. To find out more about getting the right monitor to set you up for health and fitness success, contact us today on 1800 656 444.
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