Logan Williams, Contributing Writer
Whenever I walk into a gym, one of the first things I usually see is people walking around and looking lost. With their eyes glazed over, they seem to be mindlessly moving around the gym. They pick up a weight, do an exercise, then pause and look around as if they don’t know what to do next. After a moment, they go to a machine and do a random exercise for an unspecified repitition count. This continues until they are tired.
Weeks go by and the person isn’t seeing any results. They become frustrated saying, “I am doing what everyone else is doing, and it isn’t working. There must be something wrong with my body.” I am sorry to say the problem isn’t your body. Rather, it is your mentality and approach to working out.
First and foremost, if you want to see results, you need to have a game plan. Going into the gym and throwing weights around for a half hour then hopping on the treadmill is only going to get you so far. Instead, you should form a workout routine.
Start by thinking about your goals. Perhaps you want to lose weight. Okay, well, how much? Set a goal, and make sure it isn’t too lofty.
A good rule of thumb for weight loss is that you should be losing two or three pounds every week. This range will make sure you don’t lose too much muscle, and you don’t tip the scales (no pun intended) too far by practicing an unhealthy rate of weight loss.
As for those looking to gain muscle, if you are putting on one or two pounds every week, you can safely assume the majority of it is muscle. Note: This assumes you are eating a clean diet. Bulking is no excuse to be downing Twinkies!
Okay, so you have a weight loss or weight gain program set in place; what’s next? Well, now it is time to plan out your workouts. Planning is mostly personal preference. Perhaps you like working out Monday through Friday with the weekends off. Or maybe weekends work better for you. The point is, it is up to you to figure out what days work best.
Science has shown that it takes 21 days to form a habit. What this means is that in order to get in the habit of working out, you need to have three weeks of consistent workouts. So, stop reading this and plan what days you are going to work out.
Now, you have found out what days work best. It’s time to pick out what workouts you will do on those days. I recommend incorporating at least one day of resistance training for both lower body and upper body, along with two or three days of cardio.
Once you have broken down what days are resistance training and what are cardio, it is time to pick exercises for each day. For instance, let’s say I decided that Monday was going to be a lower body day. The exercises I would do are squats, calf raises, and Bulgarian squats.
You have the exercises picked out, now what? Well, you need to decide how many sets you will be doing for each exercise and how many repetitions each set will contain. The break down of repetitions will be based on your goal. Pure strength (bulking) would be four to six reps. Strength and endurance (mass gain and toning)would be eight to ten reps. Endurance (toning) would be 12 to 15 reps.
Alright, your plan is all set up. You have one thing left to do: Get paper, use your phone, no matter the means, and keep track of your workouts.
How much weight did you lift? How many repititions? How many sets? Are you a runner? How fast did you run your mile? What about your 5k?
The only way to see improvement is to keep track of what you are doing. This way you will be able to see if you are making progress from workout to workout. If you aren’t, give it a little time, and if the numbers still aren’t moving, it’s time to try something different.
Hopefully these tips help you refine your workout regiment.