We can’t deny the fact that we all know working out in some form be it running, gym, yoga, cycling, or anything in between is good for our mental and physcial well-being. But is it enough to simply know that we have workouts scheduled that we complete on a weekly basis, and almost follow that ‘tick a box’ approach, or should we in actual fact be working on getting more out of our workouts and ensuring that we maximise our performance and therefore our results?

workouts - how to know if they are working for you

Let us share with you our thoughts, some key facts and some benefits around ensuring you are getting the most from your workout and then we will let you be the judge.

What are the benefits?

So instead of just turning up in spirit to a planned exercise session, what if you were actually there totally in mind, fully present with a plan of action of exactly where this workout is taking you and how you are going to progess it. Well, we can guarantee that you would see huge benefits:

  • You will see accelerated results from your training.
  • You may find you look forward to sessions more because of the variety and the buzz you get from it.
  • Your clothes may start to fit better.
  • You will feel more energised.
  • Your motivation will increase.
  • You will feel fitter.

So now we have covered the benefits, let’s take a look at some of the things you can put in place to help you get the most from your workouts.

Planned progression

Many of us can definitely admit that we are guilty of turning up to another session and doing the same thing over and over,  we might have done this for the last couple of weeks or months, but actually for some people, for the last couple of years. Whilst this takes the brain power out of your workouts, which can be a nice break, we need to ensure we are seeing progress with our sessions. Therefore, the recommendation is to follow a progressive plan each week so that you are gradually increasing the reps, weight, distance, intensity, hold etc. These changes can be marginal but the effects over time will be huge. Let’s look at an example:

If you are doing weights you may be completing a shoulder press at 6kg for 3 sets and 12 reps. The aim in week 1 would be to increase half in the first set to 7kg and complete the rest on 6kg, then week 2 take the full set up, week 3 the first set and half the second, week 4 the first and second. You can see where this is going..

Variety

So we discussed how common it is for us to follow the same workout and the importance of planning in progression, but there’s another element we want to be looking at too: Adding variety in to our workouts. It is recommended that you change your programme up every 4-6 weeks (I know, some of you will be thinking Wow! “I haven’t changed my programme in the last 4-6 months!” Well now is the time to start). This could be as simple as a new programme in the gym, or switching from continous steady training e.g running/cycling/swimming at a consistent pace for a set amount of time, to interval training (spending a set amount of time at a higher intensity, followed by a set amount of time at a lower intensity).

Intensity

Ensuring the intensity is correct is crucial for getting the best from your workout as well as seeing the best results. It is recommended for weight training for example, that you find the last 2-3 reps of a set challenging but can still do them with good form. You want to make sure that your workout is pushing you, so you are experiencing a little shortness in breath, your temperature is raised, and you certainly don’t want to feel like you could do that activity all day long if you had to. So next time you go to workout, check it out, have you actually been challenged during that session or are you just going through the motions?

Comfort zones

A good test is to make sure that you are not just staying inside of your comfort zone when working out but to make sure that you are challenging yourself to try that next yoga pose for example. Don’t be tempted to stick to what you know and whats comfortable and easy, push your limits and challenge yourself in new ways. You will be thankful that you did down the line.

workouts - how to know if they are working for you

Rest

Controversial right? Here we are suggesting that you challenge yourself more, push yourself out of your comfort zone etc and then in the next breath we are saying to get some rest! Yep, that’s right! We all need it.

If you are following the above recommendations then you will certainly feel like you need and want the well earned rest. So don’t try and go for it 7 days a week 365 days a year, ensure that you schedule in rest days/periods. The rest is when the magic happens so they say. This is when your muscle fibres get the chance to repair and rebuild, this is when you get your energy back and give the body time to recover to then go again, harder and better than the time before. So whatever you do, don’t underestimate the importance of getting rest in to your workout schedule.

We’ll let you be the judge

So we did say that we will present everything to you and then let you decide if your fitness regime is working for you. But we can guarantee that if you are not ticking all of those boxes above then you definitely are not making the most of your workout opportunities and you certainly aren’t seeing the best results that you could see.

So what are you going to try this next week? What is going to step things up a level in terms of performance? We would love to hear your thoughts, and would love even more for you to give it a go and then come back to us with the difference it has made.

Here’s to results!

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6 Comments

  1. Hi, Guys

    Thanks for this great article. I come from a family full of fitness fanatics and I’ve already shared this page with them as well. Planned progression is something we debate about all the time and, for me, it plays the biggest role is seeing major results from your workout.

    1. Hi, it is great to know that you have found the article useful and have shared it, thank you. It is really interesting that you find planned progression the biggest factor in seeing results, I am confident that if many gave it a go they would say the same thing.

      Here’s to the results!

  2. Good article. I have done many various formats for workouts including some of the popular ones like P90X and others from that company. I like them because they are structured in such a way as to not only switch up the routine, but to build intensity, endurance and strength. When I am dedicated to a program, I work hard nearly every day (except the rest day!)

    Do you recommend any specific activity on the rest day? Are there certain recovery foods that you recommend on rest days as opposed to high intensity work out days?

    Ultimately, I always know when a plan is working for me when I can feel a difference in my clothing fit, my endurance and my strength.

    1. Hi Karin, thanks for heading by and giving us your experience. I love that you judge if a plan is working for you based on how you feel, I think so many of us get caught up in the stats, but if we can focus on this it can be a huge tell-tale as to how successful the plan is.

      Great questions which I will aim to answer:

      For your rest day, I think it would depend on what you are doing for the rest of your workouts in the week. If they are intense then something that focuses more on flexibility and relaxation such a yoga would be a great addition and provide a good balance to your workouts. Check out my post on the different types of yoga to learn which would be a good option for you. I would also highly recommend simply taking a day of rest and not doing any structured activity on this day. The body definitely benefits from this time out.

      For recovery foods: Protein is definitely important when it comes to training as this is what helps us to refuel and rebuild our muscles so I would certainly be making sure that this is included in to your nutrition plan on rest days. It can also help us to control our portion sizes, therefore helping with weight loss for example as this is the macronutrient that helps to keep us fuller for longer, also meaning we are less likely to snack on the wrong foods.

      I hope that is helpful, be sure to head back and let me know how you get on implementing them

      1. I thank you for the suggestions. I have been back into a workout routine for a little over a week now. It’s been rough, but after getting past that initial stiffness, I think things are going much better. I can already feel a difference in my hands…. LOL… I always seem to lose weight there first of all things!

        Anyway, I really appreciate your reply and will be bookmarking your site for future references! Thank you.

        1. This is so great to hear Karin, and you’ve taken the hardest step: getting going again.
          Keep at it and if you need any inspiration along the way to stick with it or have any questions I’m always happy to help where I can.

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