No More Crappy Workouts: 5 Rules to Train By

definition of a good workoutMany people show up to the gym day after day to go through the same old routine that never changes their body. What baffles me is why anyone would KEEP showing up if they aren’t getting results or change.

Is it because they don’t really have goals? Is it because they  don’t realize their potential? Is it because they don’t realize how much harder other people are training? Could it be because they have nothing to compare their workout too? Maybe they just don’t know what they are doing.

Ironically, many people would tell you they are working out hard and that they know how to workout. Even worse, they may tell others what they do and teach others “their” type of training. 

Listen, if your body is not changing, you need to change something. Even if your diet is wack, you still should see muscle development, tone and increased strength and stamina. If you don’t struggle through your workout, then maybe you aren’t working out hard enough.

No Crappy Workouts!

gym girlsLast night I was taking 3 of our girls (pictured right) through a full-body circuit on equipment at our gym. I had them doing 30 seconds ON and 30 seconds OFF. My goal was to teach them the intensity I was wanting them to experience. As they each got on the equipment and started their first set, I watched their breathing and their facial expressions. I could tell their starting weight was a little too easy. Their eyebrows were not ruffled, they weren’t getting out of breath or straining and, when the 30 seconds were up, they weren’t really relieved to hear me say stop. Of course this was the first round to test their strength so we could adjust. I explained, “you need a weight that is challenging enough that you can’t WAIT for me to say TIME”.

The next set was very different. They were really pushing it to keep moving, they were getting winded and they were very happy when the timer went off. The 30 seconds of rest didn’t seem long enough and the 30 seconds of work seemed like forever. THAT’S when I knew we had it right.

If my girls did all the same exercises, but just were told to do a certain amount of reps and sets, they would have not had NEAR the intensity. They might have preferred to just go through the motions because that would have been easier, BUT I guarantee they prefer the results they will get from pushing it.

5 Rules to Train By

straining workout1. The last 2-3 reps should almost be impossible to finish on your own. If you train using a workout based on reps and sets, pay attention to how your last reps feel. If you can do a few more reps than prescribed, it’s time to go up in weight or reps.

2. You should be sweating. Unless you are just one of the lucky ones that don’t sweat much, you should be breaking a sweat during your workout if you really want to get the most out of your workout (toning and calorie burn too). If you aren’t getting your heart rate up and your blood pumping, it’s likely you are resting too long between sets or your resistance isn’t hard enough.

checking heart rate3. Your blood should be pumping. If you are sculpting your body with weights, throw in a tough conditioning exercise or circuit to take your overall workout intensity up, like burpees, mountain climbers, jump rope, jacks, air squats, box jumps, etc. A conditioning exercise is a great way to build more intensity and make any bland workout a lot more challenging.

4. The workout should be challenging. Trade reps and sets for time. If you don’t want to count reps and sets, try working out to the clock. Choose the amount of time you want to work and the time you want to rest, and use that set time as your trainer. For instance, I use the  GymBoss to track 40 seconds ON, 20 seconds OFF. This forces me to stay on task and get back to work whether I feel like it or not (and often times not. lol)

spotter5. You may need a spotter. Having a spotter can really help take your training up a notch. A good spotter will give you just the help you need to keep the weight moving those last few reps when you normally would have had to quit or go down in weight.

So NO to crappy workouts and say YES to results. If your workouts are easy and fun while you are doing it, it’s likely you just aren’t pushing yourself and working to your fullest potential. Don’t get me wrong, some people love a crazy tough insanely hard near-death workout. If you are one of those sickos that really love it when your muscles are on FIRE and your heart feels like it’s beating out of your chest, just keep it up – you are just the minority.

Whether you like the workout or not, if it’s intense enough, you will always be happy when it’s finished – and happier with the results!

Sample Upper Body Conditioning Workout

If you are doing this solo, start by timing your reps at station #1. Use that time to set your pace for #2 and #3. If you are doing this with a workout partner, Rotate  stations #2 and #3 each round (do #1 and #2, then do #1 and #3). Watch the video below to get an idea of how the workout goes. This workout isn’t a bulking workout and it’s great for guys and girls.

pull upsSet up 3 stations:
#1 Pull up bar (or pull down & pull up station)
#2 Resistance bands (or cable) with low attachment
#3 Floor space

The person at the #1 pull up bar station sets the pace for the other stations.

The Workout:

#1 5 Pull Ups & 10 Toes to Bar X 2
#2 Band Adduction Iso Hold (peck deck/cable flies)
#3 Push Ups

#2 & #3 continue until #1 is finished with 2 sets of pull ups and toes to bar. Then everyone switches stations until they’ve hit each station. Complete 5 rounds. Watch the video to see the pace and feel of the workout.

This workout is part of our BCx Boot Camp conditioning training.
Subscribe to our youtube to get more creative workouts for individuals, partners and groups.

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About Bonnie Pfiester

Fitness Columnist and Lifestyle Coach, Resident Trainer for Designer Whey, Fitness Advisor for FitStudio, powered by Sears, FitFluential Ambassador and Owner of Max Fitness Club, home of BCx Boot Camp in Vero Beach, Florida.

Posted on July 23, 2013, in Exercise & Training, PFIT TIPS, Workout and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Its everything you said: (Is it because they don’t really have goals? Is it because they don’t realize their potential? Is it because they don’t realize how much harder other people are training? Could it be because they have nothing to compare their workout too? Maybe they just don’t know what they are doing.) Plus, they may be lazy, or they may deep down think they’re good enough already… Its one of my pet peeves… 😉

  2. um yeah your blood should be pumping! My face gets beet red and I start sweating during the first 2 minutes of my workouts…

    Apparently its “my body’s defense mechanism against overheating”. Thanks body.

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