Get the Most From Your Workout

healthy fitness routine


Ten Ways to Maximize Your Workout Routine
By Harold Irby, Personal Trainer | Health and Fitness | Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This question might make you squirm, but I’m going to ask it anyway…How effective are your workouts? Do you regularly push yourself to the limit? Do you feel the burn with each rep? Do you have nothing left to give when it’s over? Or would you describe your workout as being more like a comfortable trot? Do you coast along, breaking a respectable sweat while doing the same old routine?

Well, if you answered yes to the last two questions, the following tips are going to show you how to maximize your workout routine and spend less time exercising, while achieving quicker, more noticeable results. Sounds good, right?...

1. Be Focused
It sounds obvious, but this crucial requirement for an effective workout is often overlooked. Don’t be one of those people who exercise their jaw muscles (from chit chatting) more than any other muscles. When you’re lifting weights, focus on that specific muscle group. Researchers have found significant increases in muscle activity when people focused on what they were doing, compared to thinking about unrelated topics.

2. Be Confused
Er, more specifically your muscles should be confused. Do this by changing up your routine often. This helps to avoid plateaus and to continuously challenge your body. Try new exercises at new intensities and new weights.

3. Be Nourished and Hydrated
Stay on top of your food and your hydration levels. The best results are achieved when you’re drinking enough water and eating real, wholesome foods.

4. Be Strategic 
The time of day that you workout makes a huge difference in your results. And no, I’m not going to say that there’s a universal ‘right time’ to workout. Your job is to figure out when your body is at its best and to make that the time that you consistently exercise. If you’re not a morning person, then don’t force yourself to wake up at 5am, try working out after work instead.

5. Be Watched
Believe it or not, there are benefits to working out in a group setting. Researchers saw a significant increase in strength and endurance in the people who had an audience versus those training on their own.

6. Be Caffeinated
Caffeine has been shown to help burn fat and to increase endurance. If you don’t have any medical conditions that would otherwise make moderate caffeine intake unsafe, then drink a caffeinated beverage one hour prior to working out.

7. Be Pumped Up
Check this out: researchers found that personal music motivated weightlifters to complete two more repetitions on average than those who were not listening to music. That’s a great reason to listen to upbeat music while you exercise.

8. Be Comfortable
Not only will you be happy to put comfortable workout clothes on, but you'll also be able to focus better on your workout, rather than wondering if your pants will split when you squat.

9. Be Smart 
If you don't already have a personal trainer, then now is the time to get one. Working with a professional ensures that you’re being challenged and are seeing results. And that’s just smart, right?

10. Be Strategic 
Do you have a goal for each of your workouts? Having a goal is more important than you may think. When each session is goal-oriented, you'll get the most out of your exercise time. Decide how long you'll go for, how many reps you'll do and at what intensity before your workout begins. Then go for it. 

To take it a step further, set clear goals, write them down, and keep a record of your workouts. There's nothing quite like knowing exactly where you want to be, where you currently are, and what you've achieved.

Harold Irby is a certified personal fitness trainer and Mr. Michigan body building champion with over 20 years of experience in weight training, body building, sport specific training and strength conditioning. Harold has worked with many professional, college and high school athletes, as well as celebrities and business professionals seeking a healthy and fit lifestyle through his personal training and fitness center Xtreme Advantage. 

Photo credit: ©iStock/arekmalang

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