Maximizing Your Workout

When it comes to finding time to get fit for your weekend adventures, it is always hard.  Between kids, work, volunteer demands and pets, you want to maximize your efforts. There are some simple ways to lift those weights or do your strength training, or cardiovascular training with efficiency. Find a facility or place to train that is convenient, your best time of day, make it social time too, or potentially partner time and use proper bio-mechanics (form).

Where to train?

If you are going to train at a facility, it is ideal to find one within 10 – 15 minutes of either your home or place of work.  This will eliminate frustration in traffic as well as time lost to family, work or training.  It will also be easier for you to stay engaged in the training. The facility will have to have equipment that you will want or need to use to meet your needs.  Also enough equipment for the capacity of the membership to avoid time lost to waiting for machines. Some people thrive on crowds and busy environments.  It is my experience that mountain adventurers prefer calmer environments, views of outside or even the fresh air as they train, know yourself. If you plan to do all your training outdoors bear in mind that weather can be a limiting factor. You will have to be flexible and have your own equipment. A facility or gym can be socially intimidating too, so you may either join with a workout buddy or invest in home training equipment.

Timing

It is important to know what you will be able to commit to here and be consistent with.  Training in the morning usually means you are the type of person who can hold a conversation beyond grunts and nods before you’ve had coffee. If you are not naturally a morning person it will be hard to stay with your workout program. If you have kids to get ready in the morning and after school, lunch hour may be the time that will work best for you. Or it’s negotiating time with your parenting partner to find time.

Combining Social and Workout Time

If you have a friend who is equally committed to meeting up to get a workout in together this can increase your chances of completing the workout. Cardiovascular training is often the easiest one to combine with friends or partners. The warm ups and cool downs are done at a pace that always allows for conversation. Keeping pace with each other is often a great way to improve one’s performance.  Or your partner can help keep you true to the required training zone for your workout. Sometimes it can just be the simple fact that you know someone is depending on you being there, to get you to show up. This applies to strength training as well.

Do you need to have the same goal to be doing strength training together? I don’t think so, it’s nice, but not necessary. Another benefit of having a training partner is you can help each other to ensure you are doing the exercise correctly.  In the case of my partner, you can have your own personal trainer to push you and correct every move of your workout each morning. Of course, that after your trainer pulls the covers off to ensure you get out of bed to do your workout. If your workouts can include your significant other this can be a great regular time to discuss those things that need to be or do partner exercises together.

Bio-Mechanics

Efficiency and safety are just two reasons to ensure you are using proper biomechanics when doing a strength workout whether it’s for muscular endurance, hypertrophy or power.

  • Efficiency in your workout using slow controlled movement or lifting concentric and eccentric mean that you will maximize the benefit of each repetition and set you do, leading to bigger gains in strength or endurance.
  • Preventing injury – sacrificing form, with a simple lift such as a bicep curl, by engaging your shoulder or back first could means you are using too heavy of a weight. If you continue to use improper form it will lead to chronic over use injury and not increase your strength or muscular endurance in your bicep as efficiently.
  • Preventing chronic sports related injuries like tendonitis and having muscular balance in your body will properly support each joint.
  • Correct breathing will be easier to focus on once you have mastered your form.
  • Improve your posture when building your core strength and you will be able to sit up properly for a longer period of time.
  • Targeting the correct primary muscle intended for the exercise.
  • Providing relief to hereditary health issues like arthritis or osteoporosis. Muscles not only help move our joints, they help hold our joints (especially the spine) in proper alignment

Some other important things to a safe workout are warming up, sensible progression, not over-training and if needed hiring a qualified trainer or coach.

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