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10 tips to push HARDER during a workout

Posted Jul 12 2012 7:10am

First of all, last night I did my FIRST outdoor run in 2 years! Yes, I did it. It was very short – I set my route to be only a mile and a half because I had no idea how well I would do. I’ve been toying with the idea of running (well, jogging) outside for a while but I’ve been scared. Scared that I wouldn’t do well. That I would fail, and it sucks having to deal with failure. I kept putting it off. But finally, yesterday, I thought to myself – what the heck, just do it! It’s short!

Photo: The Guardian

I LOVED the jog. I didn’t jog the whole way through, but I walked a lot less than I thought I would! The weather was perfect, it was just warm enough with a nice breeze and it was 9pm so that there weren’t that many people outside but still enough so that I didn’t feel unsafe running downtown. I finished sooner than I expected and I wanted to keep going and going! It felt so good. So liberating. I missed this. I really, really did. I’m planning on adding more slow cardio outdoors like this more often. I need to take advantage of the beautiful summer weather we have before it’s gone! Next slow recreational workout to tackle, swimming…

Photo: Spikes + Heels

My workouts have been intense lately. And you know what, I freaking LOVE it. I liked doing the ChaLEAN extreme program but I didn’t necessarily get excited about the workouts. I am starting week 4 of Curvalicious and I have to say I am actually excited and totally looking forward to my workouts. Like, I get giddy and excited inside when it’s nighttime because I know I get to wake up in the morning and go work out. Work that body! Yeah! I love working hard and pushing hard. I have been trying to push as hard as I can (but not beyond my limits) and not cheating during the workouts. I decided to share some of the things that have been helping me get through the workouts lately.

  1. During an exercise, when the thought “okay, I’ve done x reps now, I’ll be done now” comes through my mind, I push it aside and tell myself: “No, I am not fatigued yet. I can do a few more reps. I am only cheating myself if I quit now. I will not improve and progress if I quit before I really have to. I need to quit because I have to, not because I want to.” And I push and get one or two more reps out of it. If I have done too many with the weight, I increase the weight by 2.5lb the next week when I do that exercise.
  2. During my workout, I have been listening to upbeat or intense music. Well truthfully, I never listen to Top 40 or rap unless I’m working at the club/bar on the weekend (I’m a nightlife photographer) but I’ve recently started listening to the Pandora’s workout stations (Pop and Hip Hop Power Workout, Rap Weights Workout, Electronica Cardio) and they’ve been helping me get through by providing me with some good beats at the perfect bpm. The station has worked well both for HIIT, weight training, and slow cardio. When I don’t listen to that, I find that dubstep works well for weight training and Linkin Park (oldies, baby) works well for cardio. Just an example. I’ll probably post a playlist sooner than later.
  3. I prefer to do my weight training in the morning in my building’s fitness center so that I am sure to have the weights to myself and don’t have to worry about people hogging the machines/weights. However, I have been doing my cardio in the gym nearby at rush hour, I like seeing everyone else working out hard because it encourages me to keep going — working out in public is very motivational because you see the people around you that do the same thing and you get in the competitive, or at least inspired, mindset. You don’t wanna look like the “unfit” lazy person at the gym, right? ;)
  4. Looking at myself in the mirror during weight training not only ensured I maintain proper form, it also encourages me to keep going by looking at how hard I am pushing myself. Seeing myself work out and seeing myself improve and progress motivates me to get even better, so that next time I look at myself in the mirror, I can hope to see more muscle and a better toned body.
  5. Breathing out when it’s toughest. I have to remember to breathe during intense exercise and not hold my breath. Breathing out helps me make the push and pull all the way through and it helps the muscles. Thankfully, I haven’t needed to remind myself to do that in a while now, it comes naturally to me now.
  6. Wearing fitness clothing that compliments my body type. This one is going to sound a little vain but wearing the clothes that flatter my body make me feel good and make me excited to exercise to flaunt those clothes on my ever-changing body shape. I actually like when men take glimpses of me when I work out, because it reminds me that this is one of the reasons why I want to get in shape – because I want people to enjoy looking at me and for them to think I have a good body. I’m only being honest here, guys.
  7. I personally prefer to workout right as I wake up so that I have nothing on my mind yet and my body and mind is all set and ready for the workout. I don’t go to sleep hungry so that I am able to workout with power in the morning, if I went to sleep hungry, I wouldn’t be able to workout on empty stomach in the morning. I drink some water and get to it — before my mind realizes what’s going on I’m already exercising and going hard at it!
  8. Post-workout meal/breakfast is my favorite because I am not craving any food yet but yet I can eat anything I want — usually a delicious protein shake or eggs. Both of these options I freaking love. This excites me and makes me happy to workout in the morning so that I am able to reward myself with such a delicious treat following a successful workout.
  9. Doing an evening jog outside is awesome because it naturally pushes us to keep going. We get far from our start place and we can’t just quit whenever we want to. I choose a realistic route before my jog/walk so I know that I have to complete it because I can’t teleport myself back to my apartment if I just randomly don’t feel like finishing it. I have no choice but to finish and that makes me think, I might as well just go harder and so I can get home faster. It’s a win-win!
  10. I let my body rest if it needs it. Without rest, the body has no chance to recover and therefore can’t improve and progress during the next workout. Strive for progression, not perfection!

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