7 Tips for Making Effective Workout Progress
If you’re like most people, you probably started exercising to improve your health. However, as time goes on, you may find that your motivation dwindles as progress stalls. This can be frustrating, but it’s important to remember that making effective progress takes time and consistency. In this article, we’ll explore seven tips for making the most out of your workouts.
1. Stick to the Program
It’s common to want to change up your workout routine when progress stalls. However, Sohee Lee, an NSCA certified trainer, advises against changing your program too frequently. Consistency is key when it comes to seeing results, so you need to trust your chosen program and follow it diligently for at least four to six weeks before deciding if changes need to be made. You don’t have to follow the latest fitness magazine program; just find one that works for you and stick with it.
2. Increase the Frequency
If you only workout a couple of days a week, it’s unlikely that you’ll see much progress. Shawn Arent, a professor at Arizona State University, recommends increasing your workout frequency to 4-5 days a week, depending on your physical fitness level. However, this doesn’t mean you should do nothing on other days. Strive to be active even on days when you’re not specifically working out. A brisk walk or light yoga session can go a long way toward keeping your body moving.
3. Add Productive Exercises
Compound or multi-joint movements are great for recruiting more muscle fibers and burning more calories. These exercises are also excellent for building overall strength and body balance. Some of the best compound exercises include the bench press, squats, deadlifts, pull-ups, and military press. The effort required to perform these exercises also helps you get a cardio workout at the same time.
4. Warm Up
Skipping your warm-up is setting yourself up for injury. A systematic review of over 32 studies found that warming up (excluding stretching) is known to improve exercise performance. Your warm-up needs to engage the muscles involved in the day’s exercise routine for about 5-10 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous activity; a light jog or series of dynamic stretches will suffice.
5. Progression Training
Your muscles grow when stimulated through resistance training. However, your muscles also adapt to that stimulation. Doing the same exercises at the same intensity won’t do much for you. To continue making progress, you need to increase the workout intensity by increasing your resistance, the number of repetitions, or by reducing the rest time between sets. This is known as progression training. Remember to maintain proper form, and if you’re not sure, seek the help of a certified personal trainer.
6. Perform High Intensity Cardio
High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is an efficient cardiovascular exercise that can deliver great results. HIIT is characterized by short bursts of all-out effort or sprints followed by slightly longer periods of recovery. Interval training is proven to boost athletic performance by increasing the size and number of mitochondria, the energy production components of a cell. Studies show that a 20-minute HIIT cardio session is likely to result in better results than a 45-minute steady-state cardio session.
7. Track Your Workout
Peter Drucker famously said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it.” To know what is and isn’t working for you, it’s important to track your workouts. Whether you use an app or a notebook, tracking your exercise program will give you vital clues as to what changes need to be made when progress halts. Keep track of resistance/weight, workout duration, number of sets and repetitions, type of exercise, rest time, and mood.
In conclusion, making effective workout progress takes time and consistency. By sticking to a program, increasing your frequency, performing productive exercises, warming up, using progression training, performing high-intensity cardio, and tracking your workouts, you’ll be well on your way to achieving your fitness goals. Don’t forget to listen to your body and rest when needed, and if you’re ever unsure about proper technique, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from a professional.