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Life Performance Blog: How To Get More From Your Exercise

How are you doing on workouts recently?

Find yourself on the spectrum and ask yourself some honest questions.

  • Are you feeling inspired in your workouts to see just how strong you can be—even in a tiny way?

  • Have you looked over the fence at the badass lifters in your gym, or people playing Ultimate Frisbee in the park, and wondered: What is it like to have that much fun?

  • Or are you fighting inner voices telling you to quit after two sets, 'cause you should get home and let out the dog and you biked to work so it should be OK to bail on the last set and wow—you are really sweating so it must be fine cause you also didn't really get your protein for the day so you should take it easy?

Wherever you are—it's cool (and normal). The key to progress is an honest self-assessment of your starting place.

Progressive Resistance

In exercise, progressive resistance means that things get more difficult over time. We need progressive resistance in order to get better. We can't keep doing exactly the same workout all the time. Eventually, our bodies get used to it and we stop changing.

Yet, if we try to be just a little bit better every time we train, those small efforts add up.

Usually, it's not as easy as just adding a few more pounds to the bar. More weight doesn't help you if you need to progress in a different way—say, by improving your technique, or your focus, or your attitude.

Maybe you actually need to progress by going backwards—by quieting your ego, lowering the weight and improving your pain-free range of motion.

Whatever you need to improve, the only way to discover a purposeful progressive resistance is to do an honest inventory of where you're at right now.

What's your starting point for improvement?

This is the first step in deciding how you are going to stretch your edges in a way that's meaningful to you.

Start With The Awesome

Now that you know where you're starting from, find your joy. Discover what excites you. What scares you or makes you nervous? What makes you curious?

Imagine—for one thrilling moment—what you could do if you helped the little athlete inside you grow. If you faced your challenges and chased your strengths.


Train With A Purpose

Every time you work out, have an objective.

This objective can be very small:

  • Use the 1okg instead of the 9 kg dumbbells.

  • Do another minute or two of cardio.

  • Focus on driving through the heels when squatting.

Or it can be larger:

  • Try a new class or activity.

  • Try a familiar activity in a new way (e.g., if you normally run on a treadmill, get outside).

  • Try something totally different… maybe even a little intimidating! I've booked a mountain climbing vacation in a couple of months. What the heck!

Whatever your objective, use it to focus your workout. Use it to give yourself a purpose and a project.

Use The "Nudge" Approach

Think of one more "nudge" along the "continuum" towards better. What does that look like for you?

  • Add just one more rep.

  • Just one more pound. (Handy tip! Buy yourself some Velcro wrist weights in 1 or 2 lb sizes. Then wrap them around your barbell or dumbbell handle to add a little weight when adding 5 lb is too much of a jump.)

  • Just one more mile. (Or one more yard. Or inch.)

  • Just one more notch higher or lower in my assisted pull-ups or inverted rows.

Also, focus on quality as a progression:

  • Do the same number of reps but do them better. Make your technique perfect. Ask someone for feedback if necessary—or try filming yourself and see what you notice.

  • Do the same number of reps but do them faster. Or more consistently, like a machine.

  • Do the same reps/weight but do it with less rest.

  • Expand your pain-free range of motion.

Focus on what your body is doing, and carefully controlling each piece of it as you execute the movements. This helps you build body awareness along with better form.

Try Something New

Is your regular gym routine feeling a little stale? Try something new. Shake-up your routine.

  • Get outside. Try a different environment, such as a park or playground.

  • Try a new activity or skill. If you normally run for your intervals, try swimming. Or speed climbing. Or salsa dancing. Or boxing.

  • Be social. Train with a friend. Or lots of friends. Run a friendly competition, or sign-up for a formal competition.

  • Look silly. Be adventurous and have fun.

Source: PN Nutrition

Your Health Coach, Chris

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