Redefine Your Workout and Define Yourself!

Nicholas J. Perri MA, NASM-PES

Most people who begin training and stop or who have trained for years and don’t see the results they would like to usually share three common factors in regards to their exercise habits. They are intensity, quality and consistency.

I have been training for nineteen years, and in that time I have worked with one client, who when I started with him had very good form. That leaves hundreds that I have worked with, in either fine tuning their form or completely overhauling it. And a good number of these clients are or have been club, high school and college athletes that have been trained incorrectly by strength and conditioning coaches or who have been given a workout on a handout by their team’s coach. Training the body is not rocket science but it is still a science and should be treated as such. A gimmick on an infomercial, a workout in a magazine or a fad diet is not going to get you the results you’re looking for, and in many cases, it may cause more harm than good. The only way to get results is to work hard and have discipline with your exercise program as well as your diet. Diet is outside the scope of this article but we are going to talk about exercise and how to make it work for you by working hard and by working effectively.

The quality with which you perform an exercise plays a great role in the overall effectiveness of the workout. When you’re not using proper form, you are not maximizing the time you spend exercising. In some cases, you may just be going through the Foam Roll Squatmotionsand wondering why you’re not getting the results you desire. And even when you have great intensity with your workout, if you are not using proper form, you are not getting the greatest possible return on your investment. Not using proper form also puts you at risk for injury. Why do you think so many athletes of every rank, including professional, have so many injuries? It isn’t only because of the demands of their sport. It’s because of improper training. Every time I walk into a health club, I see 99.9% of people working out incorrectly. And I have seen it in the ranks of the professional athlete as well. It is the norm…not the exception. With that said, injury reaches beyond the acute nature of the injury itself. It may have longer lasting and more compounding effects such as leading you further away from your health and fitness goals, increasing the vulnerability of the area for future similar injuries, compensatory injuries throughout the kinetic chain and injuries that may reduce quality of life. So, practice safe sets!

Intensity is another important player in the effectiveness of your workouts. Unfortunately, most do not train with an intensity that will derive the results they are looking for. Nine times out of ten, when I ask someone, on a scale of 1-10, ten being the hardest and one being the easiest and seven being considered hard, how intense are they working out? The answer is a five or a six. That’s just not gonna get it done. If you want results, a seven is the lowest number you should be feeling, with the exception of a warm up or cool down. If you walk on a treadmill for 45 minutes every workout and you’re askingimage-21 (2) yourself right now, how hard do I work for that 45 minutes…and the answer is a five or a six. You need to step it up! You are better off decreasing the length of that workout to 25-30 minutes and increasing the intensity to a solid seven. The idea is to train as intensely as you can for that given amount of time. And that amount of time should be about 25 minutes, depending on your goals and the nature of your workout. If you’re training for a marathon, that obviously isn’t going to work for you. But if you’re trying to lose weight, stay fit, challenge your cardiovascular and cardiorespiratory systems or train for some short distance running event…then it’s perfect for you. And there has been a long running debate about whether you should workout longer with less intensity to be in your “fat burning zone” or workout shorter with more intensity to stay in your “heart training zone.” There have been many studies on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) and its effect on weight loss. High intensity exercise increases EPOC and oxygen consumption is required for fat oxidation. Basically, higher intensity exercise leads to higher total calorie expenditures than moderate to low intensity exercise and it’s achieved in half the time your workouts normally take. I’ve applied this type of training to many of my clients for years and the results and success my clients experience is second to none.

However, none of this matters if you are not consistent with your workouts. It has to become a part of you, a part of your lifestyle, something you do as automatic as brushing your teeth. We can all make excuses. We all have the daily hurdles of life, the responsibility of family and work, the holidays, I have to do this or I had to do that. The bottom line is that they are excuses. The fact that you don’t workout for this reason or that reason is a lie. You didn’t work out because you didn’t want to…you didn’t make it a priority. And while all of these other things going on in our lives are very important, they don’t mean anything if you’re not around or not able to experience them with the vigor we were meant to. Your health is the most important thing in life because without it, you can’t experience life and everything it has to offer…and that includes family, friends, work, the holidays or all of those other excuses you may use from time to time to not workout.

This entry was posted in Wellness Community Blog and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Redefine Your Workout and Define Yourself!

Give the Gift of Health