Workouts are something we do on our own time, they should be fun and each should be different and exciting. Too often we get bogged down in the same routine and patterns which make our workouts monotonous, lifeless and unproductive.
Back when I first started training my workouts were too regimental with all the sets and reps, timed breaks and slow pace. I would go to the gym and not even break a sweat let alone have fun. We should practice Chaos in our workouts making each one slightly different and fun, here’s my guide on how to do it.
Have a Rough Plan. You don’t need to hit the gym with a piece of paper to hand with a workout let alone with a strict workout memorized somewhere in your head. Simply having a rough idea of what you are planning to do is enough to get you were you want to be. This also allows you to improvise and add or subtract exercises, or if a machine is taken you can hop onto something else. I like to have a short mental note of my workouts, something like - start with compound legs, then move onto a supersets of compound upper body exercises and finish with core work - is enough to give you some direction but allow for flow and creativity in your workout.
Do Natural Exercises. Many times we focus on the wrong exercises and get hooked on damaging and unfamiliar movements which can do more harm than good. To me a chinup just feels right as does something like a front squat or shoulder press. Whereas doing excessive leg curls or triceps push downs can put too much strain on small muscles leaving your joints worn out and injured. I also love things like ab wheel rollouts and static holds which really work the core muscles deeply and build functional and strong muscles. You will usually find the most natural exercises are the most corrective one’s and normally compound movements, think Pushup, Pullup, Dip, Press, Squat, Row………
See How You Feel. Sometimes we just feel better than others. Of course there is a pain threshold that sometimes we need to push through but in general some days we will be more motivated than others and somedays we will be stronger than others. Listen to your body every time you workout and scale your workout appropriately. If it means cutting off a few sets or moving a bit slower then so be it. Other times you will be raring to go…..
Workout Light. Gone are the days of working out feeling bloated and burping up my food. My best and favourite time to workout is first thing in the morning either totally fasted or an hour after a small piece of fruit and a coffee. Once you get used to the feeling of working out light you won’t want it any other way, plus have a look at this post for some of the benefits of working out fasted. Another good alternative I find is to workout before eating dinner a few hours after lunch or late breakfast this is a good time in which you will probably feel light and ready to go!
Intensity Counts. Not only for making workouts effective but just as importantly for making them fun. Your workouts should take no longer than 20-40 minutes after this you start releasing Cortisol and the workout will become counter productive. I like to keep breaks instinctive meaning I wait until I get my breath back and feel ready to go again, this is usually anything from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Taking breaks that are too long or chatting in between sets is not the way to train.
Stretch and Walk. Finishing a workout with a light stretching session and a walk is great. I like to stretch from bottom to top starting with a good swinging of legs and arms to loosen them up and get blood flowing, some other important stretches are the hamstrings, and lower back I find these two spots can hold a lot of tension. Walks are the best thing you can do after a workout to promote recovery they will get the lymphatic system flowing and your large muscles flushed of toxins and refreshed with new blood. Going for 10-20 minutes of low intensity cardio is also a good idea if your at the gym. Otherwise a brisk walk of no more than 20 minutes is a great way to finish up at the gym.