4 Tips to Workout Smarter!
When it comes to making exercise a maintainable habit, there are many that go from 0-60. I'm talking 5-6 days a week exercising around 6am (and most of these people are NOT morning goers). It's as confusing as it is unsustainable. I'm a big proponent of consistency over volume. There are weeks where I'll go 5 days to the gym...and others where it's nearing 2-3 times. The commonality? I'm STILL getting my butt to the gym regardless. I'm STILL building a habit of physical activity, and (most of the time) looking forward to it! Here are four key tips that keep me in shape:
1. Variety and planning: In order to dominate your workouts, it's important to come to the gym with a general idea of what you'll be doing that day. I aim for variety to break up any boredom that may arise. There are many different classes and formats usually offered at gyms, so don't be hesitant to try out a group fitness class or two (and yes, I'm a little biased :p). A good rule of thumb is to aim for strength training at least 2x a week, so a body pump or muscular endurance can can lead to muscular hypertrophy.
2. Form and technique are imperative: There's nothing worse than beginning a new workout and pulling a muscle almost immediately. I highly recommend if are coming to the gym as a newcomer, a personal trainer can walk you through exercises with a strong emphasis on form. By taking a good look at your compensations through a overhead squat assessment (measures neuromuscular efficiency and joint dynamics), they will work with you on lengthening your overactive/tighter muscles through various stretching exercises, while strengthening your underactive/longer muscles. Ultimately, they will help your postural control and functional mobility.
3. Get Comfortable with being Uncomfortable: If you're coming to the gym and barely breaking a sweat, you're not pushing yourself. We want to get stronger and reach our fitness goals...and this will not be achieved if you're phoning it in during your sessions. The harder you push yourself our of your comfort zone, the more progress and change you'll see in your body's capabilities.
4. Consistency consistency consistency! I mentioned this at the start of the post, but it's so important to create a sustainable plan that you'll stick with. Note: if you are NOT someone who's accustomed and/or enjoys waking up at an early hour, it will be very difficult to stick to a plan that mainly includes 6am workouts. However, if you are pressed for time and can NOT complete a workout in the evening/afternoon time frame, than morning may be your only option. As for frequency, I hear a lot of people that immediately aim for 5-6 workouts a week. The issue with this mentality is that it DOES become a chore and can strip the joy out of working out. Sometimes, starting out with 2-3 times a week can make you look FORWARD to working out, especially if it's something different each time. Over time, you may WANT to increase the frequency, but I always suggest to initially start small.