With my hectic schedule and all the traveling I do, it’s important to be smart with my fitness regimen. My time is often limited and when I do have time to work out, I need to utilize it so that I can make the most of it.
That’s why I went out and hired a trainer to help me have a plan, stay on track, and keep me accountable (Hello, Zach). And while I understand that having a personal trainer to help me with my workouts is very much a luxury – I wanted to have him share what we are working on together. It’s a win, win. Zach helps me to stay on track, he passes on the workouts and tips to you, and we all feel better together 🙂 I wish you could all have Zach there with you to motivate you and sometimes call you out when you’re resting a little too long (not that I ever do that). But, since that’s not quite possible, I asked him to pull together this post and share some of his pro tips to help all of you stay fit, healthy, and happy. Take it away Zach.
Everyone wants to workout hard! You want to leave the gym sweaty, sore, and feeling like you pushed yourself as hard as you possibly could. You watch people on instagram do crazy workouts and get motivated to do the same.
I love to workout hard, but after a LONG list on injuries and setbacks I’m here to tell you that’s not always the best. Here are some of the things I think about when planning workouts for myself and my clients.
Have a plan
Doing random workouts will get you random results. Having a plan will help you continue to see consistent results and give you a better idea of what works for you. Exercise requires a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for you and your body. Trainers refer to it as “The Principle of Individual Differences”, but it basically means you need to find what works for you. Don’t just try a workout once. Try to find a program (or make your own) and stick with it for at least a month or two. That could mean finding a program online, sticking with a certain set of classes each week, or finding a good trainer that can help you narrow down what works for you.
Not sure where to start? Here are some of my favorite fitness apps!
This app has a great variety of workouts for whatever you’re into. From HIIT to Yoga to one just called “Better Butt” (who doesn’t want that) you should have no problem developing a well rounded routine with the NTC app. The best part? It’s totally FREE! You can also shop directly from the app and it’ll even send you coupons only for NTC members.
You’ve probably heard of the Peloton Bike or their new treadmill. While those are both great for getting your sweat on at home, they’re also a big investment. For $20/month you can tune in to live classes from the comfort of your own home, or take it outside and get some sun while you sweat. They have everything from bootcamp to running to cycling.
This app is exactly what it sounds like. It’ll help you get up and get going with a full running schedule. If you have an Apple Watch it’ll sync up so you can stay on pace. Keep track of your results and see your progress as you go from couch potato to running phenom!
Mix it up
I know I just told you to stick with a plan, but that plan shouldn’t mean doing the EXACT same workouts every week. I’m going to get a little science-y on you for a second and go over a few more principles of exercise. The first is “The Principle of Adaptation”. It is a fancy way of explaining that your body will adapt and get better at dealing with a certain stress. That’s why whenever you do something new it can make you really sore, but as you get used to it your body has adapted to deal with it and you’re able to recover quickly. If you continue to do the same thing for too long your results will start to slow down or even stall.
The next one is “The Principle of Overload”. These two principles work hand in hand. Overload means you need to give the body a stressor greater than what it is accustomed to in order to create change. That means increasing the intensity as you get more fit. Make sure you’re constantly pushing yourself in ways you haven’t before. For example – if you are lifting 10 lbs this week then next week move it up a little bit to push yourself even more. Our bodies are very resilient and to see results you have to challenge yourself.
Keep the intensity sustainable
The key to making steady progress is about finding a good balance between intensity and recovery. We call this “The Principle of Progression”. A hard, kick ass workout is great, but you can’t do it every day. The risk just isn’t worth the reward. You don’t start training for a marathon by running 26.2 miles (unless you’re crazy). You go run a mile, then two, then eventually you’re running a marathon! I like to split up my most intense workouts and plan them before my rest days. If my rest days are Thursday and Sunday then my most intense workouts are Wednesday and Saturday. I also ramp up the intensity on consecutive exercise days. Think about it this way, it’s better to train at 70-80% for five days a week than to train at 100% for a day and then 50% rest of the week.
Stretch it out!
I used to rarely stretch and it led to more than a few strains and sprains. I thought “why focus on mobility if I’m just trying to get stronger”. The funny part is, since I started adding in mobility work my strength has gone up! Even if your goal isn’t strength better mobility can lead to an increased quality of life. You don’t want to be that elderly person hunched over with a walker. Spending 10-20 minutes a day on mobility can lead to HUGE differences. If you’re not sure of what to do there are a few great apps that guide you through a routine. I really like ROMWOD, the Nike Training Club app (as mentioned above), or Daily Yoga. You can also keep checking this site for some routines that we’ll put out soon!
How many of you actually prioritize it? I know this article is supposed to be about working out, but sleep is too important not to address it. I mentioned before that balancing intensity and recovery is important. Sleep is essential to recovery and without it you won’t be able to handle much intensity (at least not for long). This doesn’t mean taking a bunch of naps, although I do love a good nap (don’t we all?!). True recovery happens during REM sleep, so quality is key. If you have trouble sleeping, try reducing your use of electronics just before bedtime, take melatonin, using essential oils like lavender, or keeping the temperature around 66-68 degrees.
lastly, listen to your body
No trainer, website, or app knows you better than you know yourself. As important as it is to have a plan and work hard you need to tap into what your body is telling you. If you feel sluggish then lower the intensity. If you’re sore then work a different body part. If you feel great then go crazy and push yourself! The longer you exercise the better you’ll get at this.
I hope this helps you get the most out of your workouts. We’ll keep putting out more content to help you feel better, move better, look better and live better, but in the meantime let us know below if you have any questions. To get you started I’ve linked up a few of my favorite fitness items below.