“Yes I exercise” is a sentence that you hear more and more often these days. With fitness becoming more mainstream and popular it appears as though the war against obesity has officially begun. Whether you’re into traditional weight training, belong to a running club, spin, cycle, yoga, functional fitness or crossfit, it’s extremely important to set short term goals for ourselves in an attempt to avoid getting derailed from our training. Long term goals are great, however i have seen or heard too many people say that lose sight of their goal due to various reasons, such as lack of time (usually associated with work or family), stress, injuries, and boredom just to name a few. Trust me there are a thousand excuses out there and without a short term goal to focus on these excuses pop up more often than not. Which leads me to finding the “why behind the workout.” Whatever method of exercise we chose to take part in, there are a few things that we need to be conscious of…
- You need to train with a purpose. A purpose is different than a goal. By training with a purpose this will allow us to reach our goals quicker. Training with a purpose means being prepared not only physically but also mentally for your training session. You need to understand that every step you take, every weight you lift, everything that you do is being done for a reason.
- Train in all the primary and secondary components of fitness, strength, balance, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, speed, agility and quickness. By training with these components in mind this will ensure that all our muscles and joints are being used which will lessen the chance of injury.
- Train with passion. Whenever you enter your training venue be ready for whatever you are faced with or for whatever you have planned. Stay focused, be efficient, get in, get after it and get out. Some days will always be better than others. We’ve all had days when we sail through workouts and feel indestructible. We’ve also had days where we’ve had to grind our teeth to get through the workout and there are also times where we’ve simply felt our time training was a complete waste of time. We need to appreciate those good days and recognize the bad days as a sign that you could be suffering from one of the following: over training, fatigue, dehydration, poor nutrition, or the onset of a cold or the flu.
- Mix and match high intensity training both during strength workouts as well as conditioning workouts. An example of a high intensity strength session would be doing a circuit (perform five different exercise for a minute each followed by one minute rest at the completion of the circuit. Repeat circuit 3-4 times), or tabata (20 seconds on/10 seconds rest) training which focuses on shorter periods of work with even shorter rest periods. Your training program should also include sessions where the volume is high and the intensity is lower. A prime example of this would be a long run (five miles plus) or long cycle session (20 miles), or a strength training sessions where the weights may be heavier with a lower rep range and a longer rest period. Be a student of the fitness game, find what methods work best for you and implement them into your programs.
- Proper warm up and cool down. People today only have a certain amount of time to spend exercising, which is a shame but is a reality of the world we live in today. You can’t be afraid to sacrifice some of your workout time in exchange for a proper warm up. This is something that I believe has gotten lost when talking about training routines. What exactly does your warm up consist of? Your warm up should consist of movements similar to what movements your workout will require. Using rollers are a great way to lengthen out our fascia, before getting our senovial fluid going, then into the movements that will mimic those in your workout. Take the proper time to ensure that your mobility is where it should be before starting your session by using a dynamic warm up. At the end of your session also ensure that you take the time to properly cool down and stretch. Static stretches can be used at this time as should recovery treatments such as ice baths (for high performance or longer training sessions).
Identifying the “why behind your workout” enables us to have a purpose with our training programs with the focus on meeting a goal or end result. Regardless of what you are training for, commit to it, embrace it, understand it and most of all enjoy it!