Now that the health and fitness industry is back open, have you got a weekly plan? Do you have a target in mind or a goal you are working towards? Do you know what you are going to do at the gym before you get there? Do you track your strength and fitness levels on certain machines tomonitor progress?
If you answered no to any of the questions above (hopefully not all) then this article will help you.
In reality, most of us won’t say yes to all the above questions. My previous article last month, spoke about not doing too much too soon. Now that the gyms are open, you need to be smart with your training. If you try to exercise at the same intensity, do the same amount of classes, or lift the same amount of weight as before, there is a high risk you could injure yourself…you need to build it back up gradually.
Have you got a weekly plan?
This is referring to the 7 days in the week. For example, what days will you workout? What times? How long for? What days will you take as rest? Knowing the answers to these questions before the week has begun allows you to plan ahead. That way you can pack your gym gear or leave it in the car, so you can train after work. You know when to relax and recharge on a rest day. You know when to eat 2-3 hours before to give your body the fuel and energy before you exercise. Very basic but very effective. Little adjustments that make a big difference.
Do you have a target in mind or a goal you are working towards?
This is the main reason you are exercising. Why are you even training? What is motivating you? Once you have established what you are training for, this could be weight loss, muscle gain, rehabilitation, general health and fitness etc. you can now strategise your training to streamline towards your goal. If you don’t have a goal in mind, then you will go to the gym and ultimately waste time. You can use the acronym ‘SMART’ to set your goal, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time. If you want to lose weight, don’t spend all your time on the treadmill, you need to strength train. Once you achieve one goal, reset your focus and follow the same procedure for your next goal. Little adjustments that make a big difference.
Similar to the first two questions but slightly different so let me explain. If someone asked you, what are you training today? And you reply ‘bit of this, bit of that’ or ‘not sure maybe some chest and arms’ it is going to take you longer to get results than someone who knows exactly what they are going to train. This plays a big part of mental preparation and can improve motivation. When planning your week and the days you are going to work-out, you should also plan what you are going to train on that day. For example, if you train legs, wear low to the floor, flat shoes. If you wear running trainers with a cushioned raised heel, you won’t be as stable when performing the squat or lunge. Have a pre workout or a coffee before you do a Bodypump or RPM class to get you fired up because you lack motivation to do classes. It also saves time when you have a plan because you don’t have to aimlessly walk around the gym and use only the machines that are free, you can use the ones specific to your goal, so take the time to prepare before you train. This will also increase the chances of you actually going because you have structure. Little adjustments that make a big difference.
Do you track your strength and fitness levels on certain machines to monitor progress?
If you shook your head and answered no to the above questions, it is likely this one will be a no. Tracking is very important. You cannot remember everything you do in the gym, all the weight you lift on each machine or the amount of reps or sets you do. It is worth keeping a log book or a note on your phone of maybe one or two exercises that you want to improve on. Then write the exercise, the weight, reps and sets along with the date. That way you can visually look back on the week and see if you are improving. Of course, you will start to physically feel fitter or stronger, but it is important to have the figures to back it up…the stats don’t lie. Little adjustments that make a big difference.