Everyone’s schedule is different and we all have days when time is really tight and we just need to fit in our workout somehow.
Before you plan your workout schedule for the week, make it a priority to take some time before and after your session, so you get the most out of your workout in the short and long run.
There may be a lot of information out there about having the perfect diet or program and certain exercises for a healthier body. The truth is that taking care of yourself and paying attention to your body is more important than a miracle cure and any workout can be effective with the right strategies.
Here are some efficient strategies to help get the most out of your workout.
Schedule Workouts Like You Schedule Your Meetings
Most of us struggle with making time for exercise. But it’s exactly during those times when you feel like you’re running out of time and that is when workout becomes more important than ever.
Not just if you’re working toward a goal, but because even 20 minutes of physical activity can drastically improve your mood, mindset, and overall well-being. (And that’s great for you, your family and even your boss!)
Remember that exercise plays a huge role in Stress reduction, so make time and motivate yourself for exercise so try scheduling appointments for exercise just like you would with other important tasks and you may also jazz things up by making a longer workout schedule also part of your weekend plans.
Remember, exercise isn’t something you should force yourself to do, the key here is focusing on the activity that you truly enjoy and taking it one step at a time!
Swap stretching for an effective warmup
One study of people who warmed up with light leg extensions and squats were able to squat with 8.36% more weight during their workout than if they had performed standard “bend and hold” stretches.
Their lower bodies were also showed to be 22.7% more stable. Just like a rubber band -If you stretch it around often and then pull it back to shoot it, it’s not going to go as far. We recommend making your warmup as activity or sport-specific as possible, using exercises like walking lunges, high knees, lateral shuffles, etc that replicate the activity you’ll be performing.
During this dynamic warmup, Agility Ladder drills can be beneficial to increase speed, quickness, and agility and your muscles will be activated and your heart rate elevated as well!
Try and switch things up!
It won’t just keep you from getting bored with your exercise routine but changing those variations every month will also keep your body guessing as this changes the muscles recruited and the amount of weight you can lift leading to greater benefits than if you did the same exact movement month after month.
Same holds true for any exercise, but this doesn’t mean you need to completely overhaul your workout -especially if you do like parts of it. Making a few adjustments however, can set your routine on the best path to being enthusiastic about your workout instead of heading to borefest.
Mind to muscle connection
The mind-muscle connection is a conscious and deliberate muscle contraction. It’s the ability to focus the tension you create during exercise on a specific muscle or region of muscles in the body, which is the difference between passively and actively moving the weight.
In other words, the more your mind is focused on the muscle as it contracts, the greater your benefits will be. So simply put, if you consciously and deliberately place your attention on the contraction of the primary muscle you are working, the quality of the contraction is enhanced.
When you practice it properly, you realize how much it can enhance your workouts. You will see faster progress and changes in your strength and physical appearance. There are two types of attention that are essential during exercise:
Internal focus and external focus
Internal focus is concentrating on the specifics of what your body is doing. During a crunch for instance, your mind focuses on contracting the anterior abdominal muscles while flexing the spine.
Or another example with bicep curls, think about how the muscles in the front of the arm contract to move the weight toward your shoulder. This also goes for all strength exercises. An external focus however would be a shift of focus to things in the environment or outside of the body.
On a leg press machine, for instance, the external focus is to push the platform away from your torso with your feet or another example of external focus would be to have the athlete think about pushing the earth away during the concentric phase of the lift.
Though external and internal focus improves performance, evidence shows that internal focus plays a more integral role in muscle growth and development. When you focus on your technique and how your muscles really feel, you’re training that mind-to-muscle connection and improving your workout quality.
The most essential tip of all and yet the most powerful, is just to be mindful while you work out. Try to stop thinking about anything except your breath, body and movement.
Keep your phone away while you work out and keep whatever might get you immersed in something that has nothing to do with your workout.
If you enjoy listening to music, create a playlist beforehand. The time you put into a workout matters just as much as the time you spend working or watching your favorite TV shows.