Tag Archives: workout chart

Make Your Workout More Efficient and Productive

16 May

squat4[1]According to a Men’s Health survey, the number one reason for not working out is “not enough time.”  I would argue that most of the people who gave this response just don’t know how to be efficient and productive in the weight room.  If you spend a lot of time chatting, flirting, reading, waiting, and flexing, you’re wasting your time — and wasting your workouts.

Here are some strategies to help you be more efficient and productive at the gym:

  • Have a plan.  Don’t “wing it.”  Create a written itinerary and maintain a workout chart.  Keep track of your exercises, weight, reps, sets, and rest intervals.
  • Don’t let socializing interrupt your workout.  Stay on task.  If you absolutely must, chitchat for a few minutes when you arrive and before you leave.
  • Stay focused on your workout.  I realize there may be plenty of distractions.  Don’t get caught up watching the “scenery” at the gym.
  • Be purposeful with your warmup.  A dynamic warmup (movement prep) only takes a few minutes, prepares your nervous system for activity, and builds strength, stability, and flexibility.
  • Don’t rest so much.  Try doing supersets — performing one movement after another without rest (for example, after a set of bench presses, move directly to a set of dumbbell rows).  Then rest briefly and repeat the superset.  Since each exercise works opposing muscles or movements (pushing versus pulling in this case), you won’t tire as quickly and can spend less time resting between sets.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time waiting for equipment to become available.  Grab a pair of dumbbells, medicine ball, kettlebell, etc. and be productive while you wait, or substitute another exercise with a similar movement.
  • Try high-intensity intervals.  Instead of a slow, steady, low-intensity aerobic workout, pick up the pace every 30-60 seconds.  Raising your intensity by just 15-20% will double the calories burned and cut your workout time in half.
  • Skip the isolation exercises, like bicep curls and crunches.  They provide a very low return on investment.  Try combination moves, like the dumbbell lunge to curl to overhead press.  The most basic compound movements — squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, and rows — are often the most effective.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart

27 Jan

work-smart[1]“More is better” is a philosophy that applies to a lot of different situations.  When it comes to strength training, though, more (reps, sets, days) is not necessarily better.  As a matter of fact, research indicates that more can be associated with a diminishing return.  Don’t gauge the effectiveness of your exercise routine by the amount of time you spend in the weight room.  Instead, take a closer look at what you accomplish — in both the short- and long-term.  Effort is important… you’ve got to work hard.  But hard work without a purposeful plan won’t get you very far.

What is Your Goal?

First of all, have a goal.  There are several different reasons for strength training.  Most people who workout want to realize improvement in one or more of the following areas:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Athleticism
  • Hypertrophy (size)
  • Endurance
  • General fitness
  • Weight management

It’s important to understand what you want to accomplish, since different strategies are necessary to achieve different results.  A strength and conditioning professional can help you sort out things like exercise selection, intensity level, sets, repetitions, rest intervals, and days per week.  Make sure to align your plan with your goal(s).

Commit Your Plan to Writing

Once you’ve decided on the plan/strategy that’s right for you, put it on paper (or, I guess, in your smart phone).  Create a workout chart to track your activity and progress.  Refer to them frequently.

Be Aggressive but Realistic

You should challenge/push yourself a little more with each subsequent workout — add a little more weight, one or two more reps, or the speed at which you progress through the exercise.  Don’t allow yourself to plateau.  Your body will adapt to your current level of activity, so variety and progression is the key.

Organization/Commitment

Don’t leave your workout for when you “have” time.  You’ve got to make time for strength training.  Treat it as you would any other appointment or priority — schedule it in advance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Make Your Workout More Efficient and Productive

12 Apr

squat4[1]According to a Men’s Health survey, the number one reason for not working out is “not enough time.”  I would argue that most of the people who gave this response just don’t know how to be efficient and productive in the weight room.  If you spend a lot of time chatting, flirting, reading, waiting, and flexing, you’re wasting your time — and wasting your workouts.

Here are some strategies to help you be more efficient and productive at the gym:

  • Have a plan.  Don’t “wing it.”  Create a written itinerary and maintain a workout chart.  Keep track of your exercises, weight, reps, sets, and rest intervals.
  • Don’t let socializing interrupt your workout.  Stay on task.  If you absolutely must, chitchat for a few minutes when you arrive and before you leave.
  • Stay focused on your workout.  I realize there may be plenty of distractions.  Don’t get caught up watching the “scenery” at the gym.
  • Be purposeful with your warmup.  A dynamic warmup (movement prep) only takes a few minutes, prepares your nervous system for activity, and builds strength, stability, and flexibility.
  • Don’t rest so much.  Try doing supersets — performing one movement after another without rest (for example, after a set of bench presses, move directly to a set of dumbbell rows).  Then rest briefly and repeat the superset.  Since each exercise works opposing muscles or movements (pushing versus pulling in this case), you won’t tire as quickly and can spend less time resting between sets.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time waiting for equipment to become available.  Grab a pair of dumbbells, medicine ball, kettlebell, etc. and be productive while you wait, or substitute another exercise with a similar movement.
  • Try high-intensity intervals.  Instead of a slow, steady, low-intensity aerobic workout, pick up the pace every 30-60 seconds.  Raising your intensity by just 15-20% will double the calories burned and cut your workout time in half.
  • Skip the isolation exercises, like bicep curls and crunches.  They provide a very low return on investment.  Try combination moves, like the dumbbell lunge to curl to overhead press.  The most basic compound movements — squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, push-ups, and rows — are often the most effective.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Don’t Just Work Hard, Work Smart

13 Feb

work-smart[1]“More is better” is a philosophy that applies to a lot of different situations.  When it comes to strength training, though, more (reps, sets, days) is not necessarily better.  As a matter of fact, research indicates that more can be associated with a diminishing return.  Don’t gauge the effectiveness of your exercise routine by the amount of time you spend in the weight room.  Instead, take a closer look at what you accomplish — in both the short- and long-term.  Effort is important… you’ve got to work hard.  But hard work without a purposeful plan won’t get you very far.

What is Your Goal?

First of all, have a goal.  There are several different reasons for strength training.  Most people who workout want to realize improvement in one or more of the following areas:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Athleticism
  • Hypertrophy (size)
  • Endurance
  • General fitness
  • Weight management

It’s important to understand what you want to accomplish, since different strategies are necessary to achieve different results.  A strength and conditioning professional can help you sort out things like exercise selection, intensity level, sets, repetitions, rest intervals, and days per week.  Make sure to align your plan with your goal(s).

Commit Your Plan to Writing

Once you’ve decided on the plan/strategy that’s right for you, put it on paper (or, I guess, in your smart phone).  Create a workout chart to track your activity and progress.  Refer to them frequently.

Be Aggressive but Realistic

You should challenge/push yourself a little more with each subsequent workout — add a little more weight, one or two more reps, or the speed at which you progress through the exercise.  Don’t allow yourself to plateau.  Your body will adapt to your current level of activity, so variety and progression is the key.

Organization/Commitment

Don’t leave your workout for when you “have” time.  You’ve got to make time for strength training.  Treat it as you would any other appointment or priority — schedule it in advance.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Keep Track of Your Workouts

17 Dec

stock-photo-821876-clipboard-amp-pencil-w-path[1]One of the requirements at my facility is that each and every athlete maintains a workout chart.  This ensures an accurate record of all workout activity and progress towards their goals, and enables us to keep track of variables like timing, intensity, volume, and frequency.  We try to keep it as simple as possible, with a written record of the following:

  • Date of workout
  • Name of exercise
  • Amount of weight
  • Number of repetitions
  • Number of sets

I have developed an easy-to-use training/workout chart that captures all of this information on a single form.  Each chart contains three weeks worth of data.  Although this form is primarily intended for strength training, it could easily be adapted for aerobic/cardiovascular (or any other type of) training.

Benefits of Maintaining a Workout Chart

  • Accountability and motivation
  • Serves as your personal training “journal”
  • Provides a record of your training history
  • Measures your progress towards your goals
  • Helps you remember where you left off, enabling a more efficient transition between workouts
  • Useful as a tool for planning future workouts

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

Building Muscle and Strength for the Female Athlete

7 Dec

DSCN0057Strength training can benefit everyone, male or female. And, while there are certainly some gender differences, women have the potential to build muscle and gain strength through a well-designed strength training program. Here are some tips for how to build muscle for women.

Be realistic. Think about (and write down) what you want to accomplish. Understand that progress won’t occur overnight. Set short- and long-term goals, then develop a plan that is aligned with your goals.

Be consistent. Avoid peaks and valleys that can occur as a result of over- or under-training. Commit yourself to a set schedule that fits with your lifestyle, and stick to it.

Push yourself. If you want to build muscle, you have to challenge yourself. That means using weight/resistance that challenges you through a certain number of reps and sets. Heavy weights force your body to recruit more muscle fibers, which leads to muscle growth. It’s not supposed to be easy.

Perform compound exercises — those which engage multiple joints and muscle groups — like the deadlift, squat, and bench press. These exercises are terrific for improving conditioning, building muscle, and increasing strength.

Workout at least three times a week. If you’re a novice, start with at least two times a week. Allow for a day of rest between training days.

Eat well. That means quality and quantity. Ensure that you’re getting adequate calories. Aim for 5-6 evenly-spaced, small meals throughout the day. Your diet should include lean protein, clean carbs, and healthy fats.

Fuel your workout. You need a combination of carbs and protein both before (30-90 minutes) and after (within 30 minutes) a workout. Carbs provide energy and replenish depleted glycogen stores. Protein is essential to rebuild and repair muscle.

Try a creatine supplement. Creatine monohydrate may have the ability to enhance your training — helping you workout harder and for a longer period of time. This could lead to increased muscle growth.

Track your progress. Keep a chart of every workout, including exercises, weights, reps, and sets. A nutrition journal is not a bad idea either.

Get help. Consider enlisting the services of a strength and conditioning professional, at least to get started. He or she can help you to be more effective and efficient.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

You’ve Got to MAKE Time for Strength and Conditioning

14 Nov

“I don’t/didn’t have time.”  As a Strength and Conditioning Specialist who works with hundreds of athletes/clients, I hear that frequently.  Oddly, I rarely hear it from my goal-oriented, high achievers.  It’s one thing to know what needs to be done; it’s another thing to do it.

Here’s the key:  You can’t wait until you “have” time, and/or conditions are “perfect.”  There are going to be days when your schedule is hectic and/or you don’t feel like working out.  If it’s important, you’ve got to make time.  Here are some tips:

  • Rise and shine.  Early AM workouts are a great way to start your day.
  • Workout with a buddy or group.  This strategy is motivating and keeps you accountable.
  • Cut out distractions.  Scale back the time you spend on your cell phone, computer, social media, and television.
  • Make it a priority.  Schedule exercise into your day/week as you would any other appointment.
  • Use time wisely.  Be efficient, and focus on quality over quantity.  Even an abbreviated workout is better than none.
  • Break it up.  If you don’t have time for a complete workout, try scheduling shorter intervals throughout the day.
  • Add some variety.  Try different workouts, like cardio or yoga.
  • Chart your progress.  Keep an exercise journal.
  • Be realistic, but challenge yourself.
  • Get help from a qualified, experienced Strength and Conditioning Professional.

Write down your goals and revisit them often.  Refocus on your priorities and stay motivated.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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