What truly makes a good workout? I get asked this question allllll the dang time! As soon as someone finds out that I am a personal trainer, they always ask me what is a good workout, then proceed to tell me all these things they do right now! And I hear all of it! “I don’t think a good workout is good unless I am sore!” Or “I have to work out at a certain time in the day.” Or “A good workout is if I can’t move the next day.” Raise of hands if this has been you!! But what research is showing, is that WE DON’T have to kill ourselves in the gym 10, 12, 14 hours a week. That is INSANE! And if this, is you, you may want to rethink that!
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Research shows that 150 minutes a week of working out is a good workout! And this is research comes from the the ACSM! So, you can take that 150 minutes a week and spread it out however you want, or do 2-3 hour long sessions a week. Whatever works with your schedule! But I am here to tell you that you can do this, and these guidelines are something MOST of us can meet! So why aren’t more of us doing it?
Let’s jump into it and break down the basics and how you can start getting your 150 minutes in per week starting now!
For me back in the day, if my workout wasn’t 2 hours in 1 day, it was crap! And I know that many people feel that way right now! So, if that is you, you can’t take a day off and your day off is yoga, keep listening so you can start to listen to your body. Because you may be doing too much, and it could be stopping you from getting the results you want. I know…. I know.. 150 minutes seems so small to some people, but that is ok! This is for people who are just getting started or can’t be consistent! It is a great way to make working out attainable!
Alright, let’s focus on what makes a good workout! We don’t have to do HARD CHALLENGING stuff to get the results we want. A workout DOES NOT, I repeat, DOES NOT have to be soul crushing!! As a trainer, I am looking for what is going to get the best adherence to consistency, because my main focus is how can I help you to become consistent. The gym should not be your second job! And your workouts don’t need to be fancy. Always remember that the basics still work, and they can still get you great results!
The Basics: (just think of things that you are doing and can do every day.)
- Squat – everyday movement, getting off the toilet!
- Deadlift – Picking something up off the floor, knees slightly bent.
- Lunging – Kneeling down with 1 leg to pick something up from the floor.
- Pulling – Pulling something down from the cabinet.
- Pressing – I am pushing a drawer closed in on my dresser.
- Rows – I am picking something up off the floor with my back.
These are all foundational movements because this is what we do in life!! Those movements work and these are all you have to do! And I love these basics because they allow for me and the client to see progression during our time together.
And we can see that progression through our programming together. The programming is every 4 to 8 weeks and this is what we have found to be the sweet spot for when we need to change up our workouts. It’s become a very popular thing amongst people that every day our workout changes. (We can thank Crossfit for this.) ????????♀️ But we see the adherence when we do the same thing over and over again, and then we add weights or something onto that to switch it up a bit. So, if you are just getting started, just think about the golden number as doing your workouts 3 times a week. We want to be there 3-5 times a week, but 3 is a good starting place.
Let’s look at this in the Good, Better, Best that I love so much! So for example, for me, for the most part I can work out 5 days a week. (Best week) But… Sometimes life happens and I get 4 days in that week. (Better week) Some days I may go away or get sick or have meetings and I do 3 days. (good week) I know this will happen sometimes, so I NEVER beat myself up about it! I am constantly living with what is possible! I know what works with my life, so can you keep the pace?
Remember your REPS formula when it comes to this and planning your workouts.
- Is it REALISTIC?
- Are you EXCITED about it?
- Can you make a PLAN for it?
- Is it SUSTAINABLE?
If it doesn’t answer one of those 4 questions, you have to revisit the plan you are on!
How do I mix up my workouts?
Frequency – How many times a week are you going to the gym? That Is how much you can mix it up.
Intensity – Increasing my weight? What is the load? (Always with good form of course.)
Volume – The number of exercises that you have in your program. Plus, the number of sets that you are doing.
You want to start off with 5 exercises and 3-5 sets. Whatever you are more comfortable with. And you want to always rest between workouts. If you are lifting heavy stuff, then that time of rest will go up during your workouts.
Challenge yourself with workouts by changing up my time under tension. This is how much time it takes you to lift and lower the weight. Then you can change the position of your feet and hands to make little subtle changes to manipulate the work to get different angles and muscles.
REP Range – Research says 6-10 reps is our sweet spot! My programming goes around that range as I progress people through the program. Lower REP ranges, I can lift heavier. Every REP range has its place. All high and low REP counts have a place. A place where you can see progress!
How do I personalize my work out?
How do I make this me? We have to focus on form, range of motion and mobility. Mobility will be your bread and butter! No one wants a cranky lower back. We have a life. What can you prioritize in our workouts that works best for us?
If looking to get smaller or stronger, strength training is the way to go!! Strength training is a priority. If I have 3 hours a week to work out, I am going to work on metabolic combos! And that is strength training and cardio brought together. P.S… Kettlebell training is great for this! I have so many workout recommendations for this!! So, you will want to check out my Fat Burning Fridays over on the socials and you will see a number of workouts done for over 5 years that you can get some inspiration from!
If you are working out for 3-5 hours a week, you are going to want to focus on strength training. 3 days of full-strength training. Strength training, HIIT of 30 minutes or less.
If you have 5 or 6 hours a week to workout, add in 3-5 days for lifting, adding HIIT and adding in leisure walking. Walking is paramount because this will help regulate our hormones and help us with our stress management! Walking is exercise! And my walks are my godsend!
For fat loss, focus on strength training, walking and cardio. Looking to build muscle, focus on strength training with a small dose of cardio!
But when it all comes down to it, exercise is great, but we always have to look at our diet! Jack LaLanne said it best, “Nutrition is queen and exercise is king!” When the queens are not happy, no one is happy!
I do want to take a minute to talk about Energy. And how can we look at our energy levels and how that determines what the workout looks like for the day? The biggest thing is to listen to your body! So here are some ways to determine how you are feeling, what your day is like and how your workouts will be.
- You feel amazing!!
- You got a good night’s sleep.
- Can do the workout and lift heavy.
- Go sprinting.
- May spend more time at the gym because you just feel good.
- You feel Mehhh
- May feel a little beat up or sore.
- You may be coming off a green day and thought you’d be an incredible hulk.
- Slow and steady.
- Less intense.
- Longer rests between sets.
- Many people are just like I need to go with my will power, my motivation and discipline.
- You feel burnt out and sore.
- Why are we doing this?
- Recover day?
- Stretching, walking, foam rolling, mobility work.
- Slow movements not 110 degrees!
Modulate with red, green, yellow and how you are feeling daily.
I have… been told by a client they feel orange most days, so what does this mean?
This tells me you are overtraining… especially if you feel this all the time!
It’s not always about going big or going home, it’s about how I am feeling today!
Checking in with your body is so important. Tuning in with your body and stop pushing yourself up this mountain every day! Think about what this looks like?
If you are someone who regularly works out 7 days a week and 2 are a yoga class or spin class, can I stop for 1 day and take a walk? It’s an experiment. See how you feel with that! Just please remember that you don’t always need to press the go button to save results! If you are at a 7-day pace and you are consistently not seeing results, sometimes it’s a matter of making a change to do less or check on your nutrition and see what that is like! That way you can do less or overworking your body and do more of seeing results and giving yourself some grace!
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Reboot and Refocus for all the women who feel like they’ve been dieting forever and can’t do it any more. The focus here is all about how do you reboot your mindset so you are no longer chasing your tail trying to lose weight.