You are required to workout regularly, and for that reason it is not recommended to overdo with your workout sessions. It is suggested to reconsider any form of exercises you find quite hard to do. “In case you feel not ready for your next workout session because of pains your body is going through after your last visit to the gym – you need to extend your rest and give your body some time for recovery,” says Idalis Velazquez, a personal trainer and founder of IV Fitness.
1. One workout session shouldn’t influence on other workout sessions - Risk of injury or overtraining is high if you workout really, really hard and it can be a cause to missed workout sessions which compromises your ability to keep doing more over and over time. “Results can be not of those you were expecting,” explains Velazquez.
2. Make Sure You’re Pushing Enough - Over-training may cause physical pains and discomfort however it’s worth pointing out that not going hard enough can’t do the work. Remember – workout sessions should be hard, they must be challenging. “Pay attention to how effort you are putting throughout the workout. Your first rep and the last rep should not feel the same – you are instructed to add more weights and work harder,” says Tony Gentilcore, Boston-based personal trainer and strength coach. Make sure that you do your whole workout – cardio and strength.
3. Aim to Reach Harder Intense Level – No matter you are doing cardio, strength training, mix or a specially designated workout program – make sure they are done at an intensity that feels challenging but possible to handle. On the scale of 1 to 10 (where 1 is rest and 10 is the hardest you can possibly do), this should be around 6. “The duration of these workouts can be anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes,” instructs Velazquez. When cardio is concerned, comfortably hard means you can keep a conversation with some effort. However, remember the ground rule – do not overdo!
4. Keep High-Intensity Exercises Short and Sweet - If you workout at about 7 or 8 – that can be considered as high-intensity workouts. “Being very effective for fat loss, running workouts and bigger muscles gain, high-intensity exercises are suggested to do only a couple of times per week,” adds Velazquez. The ground rule here is to alternate volume (which means amount of work you are putting) with intensity (how hard you go). When it comes to cardio – this might mean – doing a shorter exercise (15-20 minutes) of alternating sprints along with rest periods. However when a strength training exercise in concerned, this might mean - doing fewer sets and reps when you want to lift close to the maximum you can.
5. Give Yourself a Day Off Between High-Intensity Exercises – When you workout hard without sufficient rest in between sessions “your body needs time for recovery and grow stronger,” says Velazquez. Workout with 100% effort 2-3 times a week and be involved in lighter exercises other days. Note that your body requires 1-2 days per week for total rest and recovery.
6. Workouts Should Give Energy, Not Take – According to our guest and personal trainer Idalis Velazquez: ideally, workouts should provide you energy, reduce stress and make you feel stronger, bring positive mood and increase your overall well-being. If it is different in your case – than you are probably not going to progress. Your workout program should not leave you exhausted, grumpy or take away your “I can do this” attitude. Don’t give up if you feel down about your workouts – all you need to do it to develop a workout plan that actually works for you! Note that even though you are not gaining visible muscles, you are maintaining your overall wellness!
7. Do it Properly, Wholeheartedly! - At times, the only way to handle the final rep (sets or some particular exercise) is if you do it in a sloppy way. Our experts suggest snaking up your body from the floor and get your workout program 100% done. “Make sure you are following your workout plan, working the right muscles and moving safely,” says Tony Gentilcore, a certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS). Velazquez suggests taking things easy, having control over workouts and finish all you have to in a proper manner. If your physical abilities require being slow – than be slow, but steady!
8. Track Your Progress and Learn to Appreciate It – “Looking at your progress, you can assess how you are handling your workout program, balancing recovery and work,” explains Velazquez. Regular workouts should make you stronger to lift heavier weights or faster, as time passes. “In short – you should feel stronger in everyday activities such as: carrying groceries or walking up the stairs,” he adds.
9. Progress is Not Always Associated to Numbers - Progress comes pretty quickly in the beginning. Results are not always related to how much weight you can lift or how many miles you can run. Progress can be in the form of better health condition, improved balance or stability in a challenging movement. Remember – progress is not always measured with numbers. Moving from 10 pound dumbbells to 12.5 pound dumbbells or doing 7 sprints instead of 6 – these are progress too! “Even if you lift 1 pound more than last week – it’s a progress, it’s great,” says Velazquez. Taylor Matheny, a fitness model of International Federation of Body Builders and healthy chef agrees with Velazquez and adds saying that being able to do the same number of reps as your last workout session is a progress, doing 1 more rep is a progress. What really matters here is how properly you are handling your workout program.