What makes for a good workout? Indeed, a philosophical question.
All joking aside, there is a bit of science to good workouts. Today, we’ll discuss four crucial elements you should always keep in mind.
Effort is kind of a tricky beast. Everyone thinks they are working hard enough. But truthfully, many people are stopping way before they should.
The issue is, we start training with the best intentions and enough motivation to topple a mountain. But as we gain momentum, the enthusiasm fades, and we find ourselves going through the motions. We feel like we are training hard, but we are often capable of much more.
Here is a simple test:
The next time you lift weights, try doing a bit more on each set and see if you can. If you genuinely can’t, congratulations – you’ve been working hard all along.
Effort is important, and you should learn to be comfortable with discomfort. But you also need to learn how to listen to your body.
In the context of weight training, this means two things:
First, it’s important to recognise when you’re feeling unusually good or bad. This can help guide your decision-making and help you adjust your effort on the go. For example, if you feel particularly good, don’t be afraid to push a bit harder. In contrast, if you’re feeling too tired, take it easy – perhaps do fewer sets or lift a bit less weight – and go home to recover.
Second, it’s important to listen to your body and take notice of aches, especially the persistent ones. For example, if you’ve had an ache in one shoulder, it makes no sense to push yourself hard. Instead, take it easy and only do movements that don’t aggravate that area.
Warming up well before any workout is one of the best things you can do to perform at your best, feel good, and stay clear of injuries. A good warm-up prepares your body by:
Warming up also prepares your mind and puts you in the mood for hard work.
The best part is, you don’t need to do anything incredible to reap these benefits. As little as five to ten minutes of general warming up will be more than enough to prepare you.
Too many people get to the gym with no clear idea of what they want to do. “Ah, I’ll just wing
it today. Whatever feels natural.”
Sure, that’s better than nothing, but ask yourself this:
Since you’re already going to the gym and putting the work in, why not make the most out of it?
Planning your workouts ahead of time is fantastic because:
So, take some time to strategise and put together your workouts: the exercises, number of sets, target reps, and target weights. This will instantly improve workout quality, provide clarity, and prevent feelings of overwhelm.