1. Focus, focus, focus! With regards to working out, it is vital to prepare mentally as well as physically. I have found that the best time for me to do this is during my warm-up. During your next warm-up session I want you to close your eyes and answer the following questions: Why am I here today? What specific areas of my body have I been particularly concerned about lately? And finally: What am I going to do about it today? Spend the remainder of your warm-up mapping out your plan of attack. What exercises are you going to do? What order you going to do them in? Planning your next 15, 30, 60, or 90 minutes goes along way in maximizing your productivity with the time you’re allotting to yourself.
2. Did I mention focus? Maximize every exercise by concentrating on the specific muscle you’re trying working on. Research has shown that keeping focus on the muscle you’re training actually results in increased muscle contraction and enhanced results. While performing squats, focus on your butt and quads. While performing biceps curls, focus on your biceps. Letting your mind wander to work, cleaning, daily errands, etc. can wait. This is your time.
3. Pump up the jam. Research shows that training with music actually helps you be more productive and get more out of your workout during a given period of time. Train with music and change it often! Keeping fresh, high tempo, upbeat music on your MP3 player ensures less boredom and increased productivity. Who doesn’t get stoked when their “jam” comes on?!
4. Grab a buddy. Find a friend to workout with. I don’t care where they come from – a colleague at work, a member of your book-club, or even the person on the treadmill right next to you. The benefits of working out with someone are endless: you keep each other focused; you keep each other honest (it’s a lot more difficult to cheat your number of reps when you have someone there counting for you); you have spotter to finish that last rep that otherwise you may not have gotten; you will get to your work out if you know someone is there waiting for you (the snooze button on the alarm has a lot less pull when you know your friend is counting on you to be there); etc. Working out with a partner is an excellent way to maximize your time and potential.
5. Intensify with intervals. Interval training is an amazing way to maximize your aerobic efforts. Click here for more details on interval training. The short explanation is this: don’t just spend 10 minutes on the treadmill at a constant speed – mix it up. Run in 1-2 minute intervals at speeds ranging from comfortable jog to”Jared really expects me to do two minutes this fast??”. These changes in speed and bursts of energy are an excellent way to keep your body guessing and enhance your cardio workout.
6. Step out of your comfort zone. The next time you’re working out – be it in the gym, at home, wherever – I challenge you to do an exercise you have never done before. Tired of crunches? Grab physio ball. Don’t feel like doing lunges? Try some squats on the Bosu. The introduction of new exercises breaks you out of routine and adds vital muscle confusion. New kinds of muscle soreness equals new kinds of results.
7. There’s an app for that. Download a fitness app and start using it regularly. Many of these apps are free or cost $1-3 for a few extra bells and whistles. Start tracking everything from exercises you do to calories you consume. Closely monitoring your caloric intake and energy expenditure is the quickest way to identify those areas in which you may be lacking and easily becomes the first step in correcting these issues.
Try these simple solutions to maximizing your workout effectiveness and start to realize your potential no matter your circumstance.
Make it happen,
Have a great day!