TRAINING FOR BETTER RESULTS: 3 TWEAKS TO ACCELERATE PROGRESS
If you are currently training hard at the gym and not seeing the changes you want, then this post is for you.
There is no substitute for commitment when it comes to training to improve health and fitness. But commitment without variety means the same activities are completed in the hope of a different result. That is what Albert Einstein called ‘the definition of insanity’.
Here are 3 training tweaks to liven up your fitness routine and achieve better results in the process.
1. Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)
Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a 10-point scale rating how hard you are working. 10 means you are maxed out and unable of working any harder – 1 means you are asleep. RPE is a measure of how intense your workouts are. The more intense your workouts are, the higher your heart rate and therefore the more calories you will burn.
RPE can be changed through 3 variables:
- The amount of weight you lift for each set
- The speed with which you complete each repetition
- The amount of rest time between sets
By monitoring how hard you are working during your training sessions (with the key point being that you are honest with how hard you are working), you can increase the overall intensity of your training.
An example of this is how people use the treadmill. It is common to see gym-goers use the treadmill at a steady pace for the same time each visit, with no noticeable change as a result.
However, if they incorporated interval training into their treadmill session (i.e. running fast followed by a slower, shorter period of recovery), they would see immediate change. This is due to the forced adaptation that interval training causes, and it reinforces the point that by pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, you can improve your results quickly and efficiently.
2. Switch to full-body training
Walk into any gym and you will likely hear ‘I’m training chest and biceps today’.
These split sessions are very common among training programs available through magazines, and as long as your mission is bodybuilding you are on the right track.
But if you aren’t on the bodybuilding track, there are better ways to modify your workouts to achieve better results.
Utilising full-body movements is a very effective way to shake up your training and achieve improved results for 3 reasons:
- Core strength: You will build core strength, which is at the foundation of improving strength overall plus better posture and balance.
- Symmetry: your body will become stronger and leaner as a unit, as opposed to potentially emphasising and increasing muscle strength disparity (uneven strength is a fast track to becoming injured)
- Efficiency: you can accomplish more in a shorter time frame by using full-body workouts than by breaking the sessions down into specific body parts/zones.
Here are some examples of full-body exercises that will help you achieve amazing results:
Resisted Movements (if you are unsure about how to complete any of these movements, drop me a line at email@example.com – happy to help)
- Kettlebell swings
- Hanging Cleans
- Squat Thrusts
- Jumping Jacks
- Frog Jumps
Adding these exercises into your routine will accelerate your progress and decrease your time spent – sounds like a winning combination 🙂
3. Managing rest periods
One of the most important processes in achieving training results is recovery. But recovery can often be mistaken for taking a lot more time then necessary between sets.
Its important to understand how much time is required between sets to achieve recovery. Equally, it is vitally important to manage those rest periods to keep focus and not lose the training benefits you are working so hard to achieve.
For example, if you are a power lifter you will be focusing on lifting heavy weights for low numbers of repetitions. Two-5 minutes between sets is common (and usually a requirement) to ensure adequate recovery for peak performance.
However, if your goal is to lose body fat, then your mission to allow enough rest to achieve only partial recovery (i.e. even though you haven’t fully gotten your breath back, its time to crack on).
Between 20-30 seconds between sets will be enough time to allow a quick sip of water and collect yourself. It will make the session more challenging, no doubt. But when you leave the gym and feel warm for several hours after, you will know you are benefitting from the shorter rest periods, as your body is continuing to burn calories long after the session finishes.
Additionally, when you feel your fitness starts to skyrocket virtually overnight, you will know why.
When it comes to changing your training regime, start with one change and see how it helps you. If you change everything at once, you will never know what’s contributing to your improvements. Start with one of these training tweaks, give it a few weeks, and then add on more changes so you know what’s working for you and what’s not.
As always, please drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions – I’d love to help you.
ABOUT JAMES STARING
James Staring is a personal trainer based in Clapham. James focuses on building the best version of you and inspiring you to new levels of health and fitness – regardless of your current ability or age.
James is always keen to share the tools he uses to assist others in achieving their goals and has featured in publications such as Your Fitness, Healthy and Hello! magazines.