February 26, 2019
Are you training for the right reasons?
Tips for a smarter way of working out
- Stop comparing yourself to other people’s bodies, progress, skills, etc., because that is one of the best way to sabotage yourself and I guarantee you, no good will come from it. One size fits all is not a principle that can be applied to training. For this reason, I’m not a huge fan of home videos or crowded classes where individual attention cannot be given. Each person approaches exercise with a different anatomy, body posture and metabolism; our lifestyles and daily stress levels are different. Health condition, familiarity with sports and injury history varies from one individual to another. You might not be as strong as your coworker, but perhaps you are more agile or flexible.
Instead of making self-defeating comparisons, it is much more productive to set up realistic short-term goals which can be measured.
- Own your workout. Whether you exercise on your own or with a trainer, you should never be a victim of the workout session. Bring your own self-motivating music, or don’t be afraid to ask for no music at all if silence is how you concentrate best. Let your trainer know if you really enjoyed one particular exercise or if you disliked one. Listen to your trainer’s cues, asking about the purpose of a specific exercise, which muscles are involved and what you should be focused on. The goal is for you to get the tools that will make you independent and able to eventually exercise on your own. Be liable for your workout and fully commit to it.
- Be present: I cannot emphasize this point enough. An intense and well-structured training program which is poorly executed is of little value. I often see people rushing through the exercises or spacing out while they go through the motions or they are slouched on a gym bench constantly pausing to check their social media. In doing so you are not creating the proper muscle memory, which is at the base of motor learning. It is much better then, to complete a 20-minute workout where you actually pay attention to what you are doing, adjust your form, monitor your breathing pattern and release unnecessary tension from muscles that are not participating in the movement. When you are focused, you are also able to recognize how your current emotional state affects the ability of your body to move.
Then my question is: why do you workout? Guilt, self-punishment, social pressure, distraction, to get permission to reward yourself afterwards, to see quick results…? Finding the answer to this question is a good start.
Exercising is a great opportunity to get to know your own body – and mind. Being aware of what’s going on causes changes in your motor patterns and ability to produce skilled movements, in a continuous learning process that ultimately will take you to better results and a feeling of empowerment.
So, be patient and enjoy the process.It takes as long as it will take, but it’s well worth it!