A workout is defined in the dictionary like this: “a period of physical exercise that you do in order to improve your fitness, ability, or performance”. There are many ways to do this but they’re not all the right ways. The big question is, what makes a workout truly great?
- The best workout is the one you enjoy doing. You need to have fun doing it, otherwise it’s not a great workout and you won’t stick with it. Coaches should recognize what makes you tick and include elements into a workout that make you happy, even when they challenge you.
- The workout should be a tool to help you accomplish your ultimate goal. The goal could be short term weight loss, long term performance or simply having a good time. Whatever it is, the session should facilitate your road to fulfilling your fitness goals.
- A great workout doesn’t get you hurt. Safety is key. No one has ever gotten injured before saying: “That was awesome” in the same training session. You should be safe and make your body stronger, never weaker.
- A great workout will challenge you with assignments you have to work hard for, but which are within your abilities. A coach should be able to piece this together perfectly. In group sessions, there should be optional adjustments to accommodate different levels and/or physical restrictions. If you’re working out by yourself, have the discipline to give yourself a hard time but also know your own limits. The biggest reward lies within an accomplishment you had to work hard for (but without coming close to dying).
- It should teach you something. When you learn new things, you keep your mind engaged. When you’re doing some brainwork, you’ll enjoy the session more as well as add a level of complication. Most of us like learning new things, no matter how small or big they are.
- Add variety into the workout. Work on multiple aspects of fitness at the same time. Add a balance factor, hand – eye coordination, do reps on music etcetera. It’s ok to isolate one aspect to completely focus on it but make up for it by adding a twist to the drill later on. For example: During a heavy biceps workout, add a TRX (or any strap) single arm bicep curl burnout set to it. This will also work the core, balance, coordination and muscle endurance. My personal favorite thing to do is adding a partner exercise or group game into the workout to switch things up.
- Start with a great attitude. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the athlete or the coach. A positive outlook is key to a great workout. Be excited!
- You feel accomplished at the end. This one is key. Without feeling accomplished and good about what you just did, a workout can never be considered great. The accomplishment can have many sources. It can stem from a great connection with your workout buddy, motivating music, a challenging workout or something as simple as breaking your push up record. Regardless where it comes from, the feeling needs to be present.
Take some of these tips into your next workout and see how you can improve your training sessions. It never hurts to have more fun working out!
By Sander Vanacker for FitGuana
Sander Vanacker is a personal trainer, CEO of Bring Back Nature, Inc. and founder of FitGuana. He believes in improving health and wellness by incorporating more nature into our lives, being active and spending more time outdoors.