Social media has now overtaken society and now we can see more of people’s actions and ventures than many of us care to; however, one thing that always makes me happy is seeing friends and family posting pictures of themselves after a workout or talking about their fitness journey that they are about to begin. It makes me think back to when I first started getting into fitness quite seriously and putting in some long hours at the gym. All in effort to attain that certain, jello-like feeling when attempting to walk out of the gym. Oh, how we all
hate love that feeling!
When I first began, I was obsessed with what a “pump” felt like and how sweaty I was upon leaving. However, there came a time when I got bored of the same, monotonous routine. I started to see less and less results and the workouts became more of a task, instead of something I looked forward to doing. It was around this time I met one of my soon to be best friends, Dustin Barton. He invited me to do a workout with him in the gym the following day and began educating me on how to be a bit more mindful while in the gym. Improved technique soon followed and my capabilities to perform varying exercises increased exponentially! We used many different rep schemes and pieces of equipment (not just machines, but also jump ropes, kettle bells, boxes, rowers, med balls, etc.)
It wasn’t long before I was switching out of nursing and into exercise and fitness. I knew this was where I wanted to be. Soon after, I got my first job as a personal trainer at a local facility. I began to learn the anatomy of a workout and how to give purpose to each one. All of the sudden I was obsessed with thinking of ways to pair movements that contrasted well with one another and more importantly, learning why I picked certain exercises. All is well to be in the gym, but I now believe that a purposeful workout with a bit of intensity for 20 minutes can be exponentially more beneficial than two hours doing the same routine week in and week out.
After getting comfortable creating hard workouts for myself, I had to start putting together better workouts for my clients that were tailored to what they needed. It got me thinking how most general fitness clients want two things: to feel good in their bodies and be able to move in a pain free manner. However, most lifestyles don’t support this “feel good movement” pattern. As a society we are constantly looking down at our phones in an effort to keep up with emails and respond to your text messages. I’ve also come to notice that we sit…a lot. Driving to work, in front of your computer (or at school), while eating lunch, on the way back home, again for dinner, and finally relaxing on the couch before calling it a day. What does this mean for you?
Well, it means that you simply need to counterbalance this at every opportunity you have; unless, of course, you are okay with having a hunch back at the age of 60. The good news is this can be done in the gym with a little bit of forward thinking and planning. Showing up to the gym without a plan is a guaranteed way to cut yourself short and typically avoid doing exercises you don’t love.
My training philosophy is simple: “Lengthen the front, and strengthen the back.” This means the mirror muscles that you’ve been training may actually be working against you after all. I’m not saying you should skip chest day (Monday…obviously), but I am saying that you should aim for two pulling exercises for every push/press. Another commonality in my clients’ workouts is compound types of movements. Think of total body exercises such as a “squat & press” or a deadlift.
Below is a basic, sample program for you to follow next time you are in the gym from the warm-up to your finisher.
The following movements are to be done standing (working laps around a track works great if your gym is short on open space!)
- High Knee Hugs x 5 each
- Lunges x 10 each
- Inchworms x 5
- Leg Cradles x 5 each
- Lateral Shuffle x 10 strides
- Karaoke x 10 strides each direction
- Row machine: 200 meters – 1,000 meters
These groups of exercises are to be done as supersets, with minimal rest between movements. Perform each round three times through before moving on the next grouping.
Here we want to really jack your heart rate up and get you comfortable being out of breath! So work hard for a small interval (20 to 30 seconds) and then take two or three times as long to rest (60 to 90 seconds).
- Heavy Ropes 4×20 seconds
Last, but not least, it is important to keep in mind that the workouts are meant to be challenging, yet fun. The moment you lose interest in your routine is the exact moment when you are most likely to fail at making it back to the gym. Find a buddy that will be your accountability partner, or better yet, find a trainer that you work well with and will do a good job at keeping you excited to come back.
For more information on how to progress your workouts or ways to switch up your current routine, reach out to me at email@example.com.