These are the components you need to make your workout efficient. Obviously, training efficiency is vital and even more so in current circumstances, with the need to clean more thoroughly in-between exercises, and having limited time in the gym. We need to get the most out of each session.
Before, during and after, what do we need to do? Here are my 13 rules for making sure your workout is efficient.
Before we even get near a gym:
1. Get enough sleep. According to certain studies, skeletal muscles possess the ability to completely regenerate following muscular injury. Sleep is believed to play an important role in this regenerative process. Plus, when you’re sleep deprived, you will be lacking in the energy required to smash your workout, also increasing injury risk.
2. Plan the session. Planning is imperative for success in sport and exercise. Never walk in the gym without an exact plan of what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and how it fits into the bigger picture. This is where the services of a personal trainer can help. They provide a tailored plan and guide throughout the process. If you want to go it alone, then planning is imperative. On a basic level it helps to avoid wandering around the gym aimlessly, wasting time and letting the heart rate drop. This leads to less energy expended, which is bad news.
It’s also a good idea to have a plan B, in case the gym is busy, and you can’t get on the piece of equipment you need to. You should first decide what your goal is and break it down in to smaller goals and objectives, before deciding on the correct equipment, intensity, and order of your workout. Let’s not forget the all-important planning of your workout playlist. Studies show that high tempo music and inspirational music can play a major role in improving endurance and sustaining intensity.
3. Keep a journal or use one of the numerous apps (such as the Everyone Active Planner) on the market to record your workout weights, distances, times, and thoughts. This will help you to efficiently plan progression and alterations into your program. It also helps boost confidence when you look back at all the progress you have made.
During your workout routine:
4. Turn off your phone. If you use it for music, then put it in aeroplane mode, this is your time invested in yourself. Make it count. Otherwise, you’ll be making your workout less efficient.
5. Foam rolling. This helps to relive tightness that can get inhibit the ability to do exercises with a full range of motion. Spending five minutes at the start of a workout rolling, can make your workout more effective. And when you get a spare five minutes at home, roll away.
6. Start resistance training. If weights haven’t been included in your workout routine before, then they should be from now on. Weight training is one of the most effective and efficient forms of exercise, with numerous health benefits. It improves bone density, increases muscle mass, which speeds up your metabolism reducing fat, improving strength and functionality to perform everyday tasks. It also helps your heart to stay healthy by improving cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.
7. Perform mostly compound movements. These are exercises that use more than one joint, therefore recruiting much more muscle resulting in more bang for your buck, great for when the gym has a workout time limit. Examples of compound exercises are squats, shoulder presses, pull-ups, and press-ups.
8. Have the optimal rest period between sets and exercises. This depends on your training, but as a rule of thumb, strength training requires longer rest periods than endurance training.
9. Develop a mind-to-muscle connection. When you’re working out, try to think about the muscles you’re trying to engage, rather than thinking of other things or just going through the motions. This has been shown to have massive benefits, including increased strength.
10. Consider using all-over body routines. These have been shown to be more effective for gaining muscle and burning fat. You can split your workouts so that you have a focused muscle group, but you still hit everything else. For example, if you visit the gym twice a week, one day could focus on the upper body and the other could focus on the lower body. The secondary muscle group can be worked using a higher rep range and focusing on getting a pump.
11. Consider using super-sets. This is when an exercise is performed immediately after another. You can add in more exercises to manage time. These are called tri-sets for three exercise together and giant-sets for four or more. Super-sets can be taxing, so perform them sparingly.
12. Incorporate high intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine. This is exercise involving intense shorter periods or exercise, followed by a timed recovery. It can be very efficient, helping you achieve more in a shorter working out time. And helps to promote a raised metabolism after exercise, thus superior fat burning, especially when performed after a resistance training session.
The last rule:
13. Rest and recover. Time spent out of the gym, is where the body forms itself into the one which you are crafting in the gym. Plan in rest days and make the most of active rest days these are where you go for a walk, a swim, or some other low intensity activity. Get the right nutrition in at this time and you have a formula for success.