I get asked a lot of questions on how to get the MOST out of your workout. I am going to touch upon a few things that I think are KEY into getting an effective and efficient workout that won't have you in the gym for hours.
1) Make sure you are properly fueled. I cannot stress this enough. If you do not have any energy (calories) in your body then you won't function at your optimum level and you are wasting your time. Make sure you have some carbs and protein in your preworkout meal such as sweet potatoes and chicken.
You also want to fuel your body POST workout. You want to consume nutrients within 30 minutes of finishing exercise while our bodies are still in anabolic mode. I like to have a protein shake (liquid gets into your system faster for the repair) and some sort of simple carbohydrate.
2)Make sure you are working the right muscle groups!!! Too often enough I see people come into the gym and do the same workout that they did yesterday. Sorry to break it to you, but this won't get you anywhere. Every muscle group needs at least 48 hours to fully recover. If you work that muscle out without letting it recover fully then you are just doing more harm than good. I suggest trying a split like this:
Sample Workout Split:
Monday: Hamstrings and calves
Tuesday: Chest & Triceps
Wednesday: long duration cardio with core work
Thursday: Quads, Back & Bis
This gives each muscle group enough time to recover. I also split the muscle groups into "push" and "pull" groups, optimizing your workouts. Try to do at least 6 exercises per muscle group. Make sure your movement is done with good form and that you are pushing yourself with weight! If done correctly, you will see results.
Example Hamstring Workout (3 sets of everything):
1) Squats with the barbell superset with Romanian deadlifts
2) Single leg hamstring curls on machine superset with dumbbell squats
3) Single leg squats (sit on a bench with one leg off ground then stand up) superset with geronimos.
I'd finish off with a burn out of jump squats and box jumps- this will really finish off your legs!
3) Lifting can actually get your heart rate up. I like to superset with my clients and for my personal workouts. What do I mean by that? Superset is doing two exercises back to back. They can be the same muscle group or two totally different ones. For example, I might do a close grip row (center) and superset it with a latpulldown (wide grip). This gives my muscles that were worked in the first exercise a second to rest while I work other muscles. This will keep you burning calories for a longer period of time and make you work harder!
4) Lift first, cardio second. There are many different studies on this but I am a big believer in doing lifting FIRST! When you lift you aren't in an aerobic stage therefore you are using quick energy to exert your movement (I call this "present" energy). Once you burn through all this "present" energy you jump on your cardio machine. Since you can't use any more of that energy your body pulls from it's stored energy (aka fat storage). If you do the opposite (cardio first then weights) it will take you twice as long to get to the stored fat and you won't have the energy you need to optimize your lifting session.
Try incorporating these things into your daily workouts and let me know how they go. Don't waste your time doing workouts that keep you running in circles.
In good health,
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Cristina Walterman, owner of CW Physique, let's you in on fitness and nutrition tips, recipes, exercises and much more. With over 8 years of experience in the industry, she loves to inspire and motivate individuals. She always practices what she preaches and leads by example.