Personal Trainer Tips for an Effective Work Out
Do you ever feel like you're not getting the results you want from your workouts?
Here are 5 tips straight from my personal training course to make your workout more effective:
Choose the right weight
The magic words are: progressive overload
Over time, your muscles adapt and become resistant to the effects of the weight you are using. This means that you need to increase the weight you are using for any resistance training at a rate faster than your body is adapting.
The key to knowing if you have the right weight is that when you finish your reps you should feel that you only could have done 2-3 more reps before losing your form.
Track your heart rate
To boost the effectiveness of your cardio, track your heart rate. You can do this directly on a cardio machine, with a fitness watch, or the good old-fashioned way by checking your pulse (count beats for 10 seconds and multiply by 6).
First, you want to calculate your maximum heart rate: 220 – age
Next, calculate percentages of that number
Here’s the numbers you want to hit:
Beginner aerobic endurance: 60%
Weight management: 60-70%
Aerobic improvement: 70-80%
Peak aerobic performance training: 80% +
Change your routine
I always say that the best exercise is the one you actually do. Find something you really like and stick with it, even it’s not the highest calorie burning or the fanciest new workout.
However, no single exercise is perfect so it’s really important to occasionally change your routine. If you love running, try yoga for flexibility. If you like weight lifting, try spin classes for the cardio-vascular and respiratory benefits. If you like Zumba, hit the gym floor for some bicep curls and push-ups for strength.
Track fitness goals, not weight goals
I get it, it’s so tempting to set goals based on weight. Weight is nice numeric value that is easy to measure, easy to track, and it’s a language that everyone speaks. Unfortunately, it’s also extremely imperfect.
Physically, weight does not tell the whole story. Muscle gains mask fat loss on the scale, water retention can make the number look high, and even something as simple as time of day can skew the results. Mentally, tracking weight can be problematic with the body’s natural ups and downs sending your brain into a tizzy.
Instead, try tracking fitness goals. This can be anything you want to set your mind to. Finish a 5k, take 1 minute off your mile time, complete a pull-up with good form, do 10 push-ups. Taking your mind off of weight, you will notice your body getting stronger, more flexible, more capable. You can feel a sense of accomplishment by achieving something you have never done before.
Also, you can have a lot of fun with this. Training to do a pull-up doesn’t mean struggling at the pull-up bar day after day. You can try new back exercises, spend some time working on your core, try a new sport like rock climbing as a functional way to increase strength.
When you achieve those fitness goals, the weight goals will be achieved naturally. And you may even notice a difference in how your clothes fit before the scale shows you a change.
Form is key
I cannot stress enough the importance of good form. This is not only important for safety (and it’s incredibly important for safety) but also for effectiveness.
Take a bicep curl for example. A mistake I see a lot is people swinging up into the movement. This means that you are getting the benefit of momentum and are also using other muscles in your arm to complete the move. By keeping the elbows still and perfectly positioned in line with the body, and completing the movement at a pace of 2 seconds up and 4 seconds down, you isolate the bicep and get the right time under tension to actually work the bicep and get the results you want.
This applies to every single exercise. If you don’t have the right form you are not getting the full benefit. If you are already comfortable with what good form looks like, try recording yourself and watching it back, or positioning yourself in front of a mirror. If you don’t know what good form looks like, as a member of gym staff or invest in a personal training session to find out.
Do you have any exercise tips to share?