4 Ways to Start Improving at the Gym
A common question from personal training is why someone has stopped seeing positive changes in their workout and fitness routine. Maybe you’re following a consistent routine with exercises you’ve mastered, you’re at the gym longer, you’re coming more days each week, so why aren’t you seeing the changes you’d like? Someone’s total fitness routine, which includes strength training and cardiovascular exercise, has a lot of moving parts and working components inside of it that all contribute to the goals you’d like to receive from exercise. Many of us, although well-intentioned and knowledgeable about the exercises we perform, can fall into different “traps” that prevent us from achieving our goals. Let’s dive in!
When we talk about the concept of variability in the gym, we’re speaking to the idea of frequently changing up your workout routine. One of the most common reasons someone stops seeing improvements in their fitness routine is because the body becomes well adapted to the same routine, exercises, reps, and sets they perform. Our bodies and muscles love to become more efficient in the tasks we give them daily, including the ones in the gym. What happens is over time, the same set of exercises you always perform becomes easier and less challenging for the body. Less challenge equates to fewer improvements in strength, tone, etc. We can combat this with variability. Whether this means swapping in one or two new movements each week or changing the number of reps and sets you do, this can be a significant helper to get back on track for your goals.
Another important concept in the gym is specificity in training. Whether you’re training for a marathon or looking to become more flexible, specificity is key. Essentially, we can break this exercise concept down to training as specificity to our goals as we can. For example, if I want to train to compete in a marathon, I should primarily focus on my running form, and frequency, and performing weightlifting exercises that will complement my running capacity and strength. Specificity will be very different for all our individual goals. The more specific we can be in our training, the better our muscles can respond to help us along the way.
3) Frequency of training
Similar to the idea of variability, as our bodies become more and more adept at the goals, we set out in front of us, the more efficient our muscles will become at performing our routines. In addition to variability, the frequency of training comes into play as another strategy we can take. Frequency doesn’t have to mean completing more and more reps if you’re goal lies within the strength realm. Instead, we can add in more training days, or slightly lengthen the amount of time we spend in the gym. It is important to note that you shouldn’t increase our frequency until you have established a baseline and regular training routine. Increasing frequency too soon can result in more fatigue or overtraining syndrome. If you have questions about overtraining, reach out to our fitness staff by stopping in the gym or calling 608-782-5029. 4) Other team players in the fitness
Now that we’ve covered several different areas to help you keep your routine moving forward, let’s end by addressing other accessory team players for your fitness plan. Remember that eating a nutritious diet and properly fueling yourself with food before and after working out is essential. Additionally, consistently working on getting enough sleep and managing stress levels will be a helpful ally. Now that we’ve covered the basics, jump back into your routine!