17 Tips for a Better Workout Routine
We always over-complicate things.
Exercise isn't an exact science — everyone is a little different. But one fact that still remains true is that "something is better than nothing." In fact, a healthy exercise habit should blend fun, fitness, and effort with results.
Related - How to Build a Workout
So instead of dreading the gym, start streamlining your process to by using these healthy habits to get more out of your workout routine.
Build a Better Workout
1.) You Have to Commit
A wise man named Yoda once said: "do or do not, there is no try."
Straddling the line between wanting to get fit and actually doing it won't get you results.
Instead, take the first step towards healthier habits and commit to a 30-day fitness challenge. You could go for a walk or run on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while performing some bodyweight exercises on Tuesday and Thursday.
If you keep this up for a month, the habit will really start to stick.
2.) Have a Plan
A trip to the gym can be a waste of time if you haven't planned ahead. Instead of walking around aimlessly from one station to another, plan your workouts and weight ahead of time.
This will help you set clear training goals.
3.) Form Habits
Having healthy habits don't just happen, you form them. Find when it is the best time for you to exercise — there's no "right" time, so find what works for you.
Consistency is important, so form healthy habits by sticking to them every day.
4.) Track Your Progress
If you think going to the gym and lifting the same weight every time is helping you, it isn't. You need to track your progress.
Keeping a workout journal will allow you to record your reps, sets, and amount of weight you used each session.
These notes you can use to see what works best for you, and what doesn't.
5.) Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Playing follow the leader with the biggest guy in the gym won't get you anywhere.
Don't be afraid to talk to a trainer or getting a fitness assessment so you can learn the ropes.
6.) You Need to Warm Up
Warming up helps us remain injury free and primed to lift optimally. Perform exercises and dynamic warm-ups for the workout at hand.
7.) Use the Right Form
Using proper form means you are working the muscles you intended to. It's impossible to have perfect form from day one, but you need to strive to improve it.
Keeping good form throughout your workout will lower your risk of injury and make your workouts more effective.
8.) Have Someone Hold You Accountable
Willpower can run out, sending those healthy intentions up the street — so don't go at it alone.
Call in a friend or two to boost your motivation and encourage some accountability. You could always start sharing your story on social media and get people enlisted to support your goal.
9.) Quit Hoping for a Magical Pill
While perfection would be nice, but we need to aim for fit, not flawless.
There are always going to be new sensational fitness products — be wary of them.
Put your trust in tried and true methods to improve your health — regular exercise promotes health an happiness... not a shake weight.
10.) Try a Workout Partner
I personally prefer to train alone, but flying solo at a gym is like going to a bar without a wingman — you'll spin your wheels with nothing to show for it.
Find a workout buddy to train with you, to hold you accountable, and to give you a spot.
11.) Use the Free Weights
If you really want to get the most out of your gym visit, don't be afraid of the free weights. Jumping on machines is sort of like riding a bicycle with training wheels — you're exercising, but not getting the most out of your efforts.
Focus on compound movements and strive to lift more weight if you want to build more muscle and burn some fat.
12.) Focus in the Gym
Taking the time to reply to an email between sets is not how you make progress. When going to the gym, you should be focused more on working than resting.
Try to keep your breaks under 90 seconds and stay off of your phone between sets.
13.) Don't Be Afraid of New Things
There is a world of fitness out there other than your treadmill.
Try something new like swinging a kettlebell or sign up for a Zumba class — you never know what you'll like.
Learning new skills with new people in a new environment can really make those healthy habits stick.
14.) Try High-Intensity Interval Training
Instead of slogging along on the treadmill for hours, consider some high-intensity interval training.
Try sprinting all-out for ten sets of 30 to 60 seconds — this can torch more fat in less time than a long run.
Get creative and push your body to perform better.
15.) You Don't Have to Be in the Gym
Getting healthy doesn't mean you have to live in a gym. Think outside of the box.
No equipment? Do some bodyweight exercises. Try a yoga class, or go out for a run. You could do like I have and build a home gym with dumbbells, a kettlebell, some resistance bands, and a jump rope.
16.) Get Your Rest In
If you don't get enough rest and recovery between your sessions, your body won't grow to its full potential. Regular exercise is a healthy habit, but if we exercise too much, it's called overtraining.
Results equal work plus recovery.
Never underestimate the importance of sleep and a plate of nutritious foods.
17.) Celebrate Your Progress
Forming new healthy habits can be a challenge. Set manageable goals and take small, actionable steps to achieve your goals.
Changes won't happen overnight.
Celebrating progress with food can be a slippery slope. Instead, try to reward yourself with a new workout clothes or go to a concert you've been wanting to go to.