3 Tips To Train Smarter & See Results

There is a big difference between training with intention and just going through the motions. There are quotes that flood the internet that emphasize success being 70-90% just “showing up.” If that’s the case, there is a jam packed and powerful 10-30% ready to erupt when you get there- watch out!

In the beginning, showing up may be enough to form a particular habit or mind set within your fitness and health journey- but it will not be enough to take you to the next level. Beyond just showing up, here are some questions to ponder and get you to train smarter:

What is your plan? What is your focus? What is your intention?
Intention (n.): an act or instance of determining mentally upon some action or result.

When I lived in California, I had an amazing Spinning (indoor cycling) instructor named Katie who I actually featured in one of my videos on the Runtastic Fitness Channel. For those of you that have taken a Spinning class, they’re definitely not a walk in the park. They are intense, they make you drip sweat and require a lot of mental and physical strength to get through that fat burning hour. In the beginning of her class she would always tell us, “Take time to set your intention for this class. What do you want to get out of your workout today?” This statement came alive for me every time and reminded me that to get through this workout I WILL need a focus, a goal—an intention.

You may have a goal to lose weight or body fat, gain muscle, build endurance etc. While you may not fully know how you’re going to get there, you need to act out and treat every workout like you will get there. Today I have some tips for you on how to go from having aimless intentions to knowing how to train smarter.

1. The cardio machine is not a place for talking or texting: This is one of my biggest pet peeves that I see at the gym. When you are working out, you need to be present, alert and concentrating. When you’re on the phone chatting or texting with someone, your mind is not where it needs to be. Meaningful workouts can be completed faster, with better results than disengaged ones. Your workout only needs to be about 60-90 (at the absolute maximum) and, unless it’s an emergency, the conversation can wait. If you’re on the elliptical at the same intensity for more than 30 minutes, no wonder you are bored and want someone to talk to. Try mixing up the intensity by adjusting the incline and resistance and kicking butt for 10-20 minutes and your time will be much better spent.

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2. Pay more attention to your form: I see a lot of people, men and women alike, at the gym who would rather lift heavier than train smarter. Form during exercise is crucial to prevent injury, but also ensures that you are recruiting and training the muscles that you intend to. You may think you are getting stronger by lifting heavier, but that is not always the case and will not happen if your form is not correct. Some examples are shoulder press or chest press with too much back arch, biceps curl using too much momentum, lateral pull down with too much rocking of the upper body & squats with an excessive forward lean. Poor form can be detrimental to your training, and actually one of the number one reasons why I think people should hire a trainer. Even if it’s just for a few sessions to ensure that exercises are being executed properly, it is a really good investment in the long term. If you don’t know if you’re doing something correctly, ask a professional at the gym or look up the exercise online on a reputable training website before you head out for your workout.

3. Mix up your training: A common concern I get from individuals is the dreaded plateau. A training plateau is when you stop seeing changes and results that you were seeing earlier on in your training. You get to a certain point, and then your results seem to have left for vacation. Even though plateaus are frustrating, they are not necessarily a negative sign. They are just a way for your body to communicate with you that it has adapted to what you have been doing and it’s time to mix it up. My training binder is my strongest tool against plateaus. I keep a binder that has different tabs for upper body, lower body, at home, cardio, core & booty. Whenever I find some new exercises online, in a magazine, or just make up on my own I print out, tear out, or write them down and file them under the appropriate tab. When I feel like my body isn’t fully responding the way that I want it to then I go to my binder and start picking out new exercises or workout routines. I have been doing this for years and have hundreds and hundreds of exercises per tab so there is never a dull or boring time for my body in my training. If you’re intention is to get through that plateau, you have to put in some of your own research and effort if hiring a trainer is not in your budget.

The time is now to get focused, in the zone and to become results oriented. No more slow, boring and tedious workouts because staying fit and healthy is a lifelong commitment that everyone needs to make. Use these tips to train smarter and remember to take time each workout to set your intention, focus on the prize and you WILL get there.

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Lunden Souza Lunden is a Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Coach. She inspires Runtastics around the world with her fitness & nutrition tips and workouts on YouTube. View all posts by Lunden Souza »

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