How would you rank your work ethic?
How many times have you left the gym feeling like you didn’t work out hard enough? If you are not seeing the results you are hoping for, it’s simple, you’re probably not.
Just because you’ve been working out consistently, doesn’t mean you are getting the most out of your training. Every so often, it’s important to re-evaluate your goals, purpose, and your level of intensity. Do you want to gain strength, lose fat, tone, build lean muscle, build endurance, or maybe even a mixture?
Once you know your goals, you must now decide what exercises you will need to achieve them. Choose the ones that work the basic muscle groups and that you enjoy, and expand from there. You must then budget your training time so you can maximize your time at the gym to achieve your goals. Will you be focusing on separate body parts at a time, a full body workout, a HIIT routine, will it include cardio, and if so, how much?
To see results, how do we define what is hard enough?
It is a threshold that of course is very unique to each individual, but here are a few ways to determine whether or not you are working out hard enough:
Breathing and heart rate zone:
It’s simple, working hard at the gym requires effort and focused breathing. You should be breathing harder than usual and focusing on proper techniques to maximize the effort you are putting into the exercise being performed. This also includes striving to keep your heart rate up. You can always wear a heart rate monitor to assist you in staying in your target zone. For most individuals, a heart rate zone between 130 – 160 bpm is a good standard in achieving great results.
Concentrate on the exercise you are performing. Reading, texting, or talking is taking you away from what you are there to do which is to train hard!
What you get out of your workouts also depends on what you put into your body. Properly nourish your body before your workout, and feed your muscles after your intense workout.
You need a certain level of exercise frequency to see results. Some weeks may be more productive as others of course, but you should try to get at least 2-3 scheduled workout days a week to see the results you want. Of course, the more frequently you work out, the greater the results will be.
For weight training, if you can get to your goal number of repetitions for the exercise you are performing, and you can still do more while maintaining proper form, then you aren’t working hard enough and could probably increase the weight you are lifting. In contrary, if you cannot reach your goal number of repetitions for the exercise without extreme strain, you should decrease the weight.
Take a look at your form. Are you doing all your exercises correctly? Sometimes the smallest changes can lead to the biggest results. Never substitute good form for weight.
Never stop pushing your limits. Your body is unbelievably capable of handling a lot. If you want to see better results, you must push past the barriers on an ongoing basis. Re-evaluate and create new goals, focusing on constantly challenging yourself. Showing up to the gym is only half the battle. The other half is the effort and level of intensity you bring to it.