Depnding on your current fitness goals and your individual abilities, each of your lifting sets will consist of approximately 10-20 reps. Keep in mind - there is no magic in lifting the certain number of reps. If you will just count to 10 reps for example and finish your set there because your fitness program is designed to perform that number of reps although you could do more - that will not be so much beneficial for you, The main idea is - it has to be very challenging for you to perform last given reps of set. Let's say, you have taken for your biceps curl dumbbells of 4kg and have to perform 15 reps. If you have performed 15 at the moment and feel that you still could do some more - do more. And then for your next set take heavier weight in order to not be able to do more than those designated 15 reps. And this will be your optimal lifting weight.
If you were not able to perform all desired reps of set, go for lighter weight next time so you are able to complete all your designated reps & sets.
What counts is not that certain number of reps itself, but the challenge you have to overcome while lifting. To load yourself up optimally means it is hard and challenging for you to finish your last lifts.
Correct form of exercise
You can lift as heavy as you can WITHOUT breaking correct form of the given exercise. If you, instead of curling just your biceps for example, are swinging all your upper body and using momentum, it will not be benficial for your muscle growth. Choose the resistance which allows you to perform the exercise correctly while keeping you challenged during your last reps. And yes, it has to be so hard.
Be not afraid of lifting heavy
Most of my new gym clients are very worried at the beginning that they could get too muscular by accident and that's why they avoid lifting heavy weights. Any long-term gym member will just smile at this idea:) Because they know how hard it is to grow your muscle, how much effort and dedication you must put in your workouts. Building muscle is hard long-term work and by any means it can not happen to anyone by accident.
Enjoy your lifts,
The last thing you want to spend your time on after gym workout
is to stretch & cool down?
A very common situation is that you go to the gym, you’re short on time and then you decide that you will do the strength training part in full and skip the “not-so-important” post-workout stretching. Or that stretching after your workout just isn’t so much essential & it’s not worth your time at all.
I, as a Personal Trainer at the gym, hear all of this very often & I can’t stress enough how much important it is to stretch your muscles consistently after your workouts. So why exactly post-workout stretching is an absolute must?
During gym workout your muscles experience being in great tension. If they remain tight after a workout, you can have very unpleasant sensations of tightness and stiffness, especially if they are left in shortened state and are not released in long-term. That also increases the risk of injuries as the muscles are not so flexible as they should. Consistent stretching will minimize the risk of injury. It will also help to relieve the muscles by diminishing the lactic acid which is accelerated during your workout. Stretching improves blood flow and oxygen circulation in your muscles so they can recover faster. Post-workout stretch means less soreness, less tightness, less stiffness.
Slowing down mind & body
In order to finish your workout succesfully you must slow down both – your body after the intense workout and also the mind. These two are not separable. Body & mind are so much connected and one can’t feel good without another. If your body will experience stress, it won’t allow your body to fall in relaxation. If your mind experiences stress, it will keep your body under certain tension. To experience relaxation in it’s fullest you must take care of both – your body & your mind. Stretching will allow you to have that extra time for yourself, to connect with yourself, to slow down your breathing, your mindset & experience relieving relaxation after your activity.
Level up flexibility
And your muscles will be so thankful for this one! Body loves to be flexible, your muscle performance will be so much better and you will feel in your body so much better when you are flexible and strong. Increased flexibility is like a breeze of fresh air inside your body! It helps to improve range of motion, muscles can perform better, blood flow & oxygen circulation in body is improved and you can literally sense how amazing it feels! Being flexible just skyrockets the experiences you can enjoy in your body.
Stretching is not some optional or separate thing you can add up to your workout. Stretching is a part of well-balanced and effective gym workout routine.
Enjoy your workouts,
By my guest blogger: Mentedemadreleona
Yesterday, I was thinking about how perpetual movement watches need to be worn in order to work. The watch needs movement to wind up the internal movement and thereby keep time. This got me thinking about how we as humans are similar. If we don’t engage consistently in activity throughout the day, our energy levels run low, leaving us feeling fatigued; even when we have not exerted ourselves. We need movement to keep our energy levels optimal.
It is easy to believe that if we rest a lot that we should have more energy. But it is simply not the case. Do you ever feel that you have to ramp yourself up to get going after a day of rest? Maybe after a lazy quiet Sunday it can be hard to get geared back up Monday am. We should seek to maintain good activity throughout our day. Because so much of what we do today is sedentary we have to be intentional about finding ways we can incorporate activity into our daily routine!
Pursuing passions, goals, and dreams requires energy, momentum and flow. If we do not have the energy to move along our path each day, we lose our momentum in moving forward, toward our passions, goals and dreams. We can also have less of a flow of creativity and positivity because our minds are not energized, eager to move and see progress.
Here are my tips to increasing and maintaining your energy levels:
The more you move, the more you will want to move. Use a fitness tracker to get a realistic picture of how much movement you get in a day. It is easy to forget how much time we have spent on our phones, computers, etc. We may perceive ourselves as moving a lot throughout or day.
Years ago I began tracking my steps, (I used my Apple watch but any fitness tracker works) I thought I was active but I was wrong, I was very sedentary because I was working on my computer, a lot. This knowledge pushed me to become mindful of the amount of time I sit, stand, walk and run.
Exercise is essential to both our physical and mental health. When beginning a new exercise plan you initially may be sore and tired, but this phase will pass with consistent exercise. As your body adjusts you will reap the benefits of exercise. Having more energy is a great benefit of exercise.
Try this: sit up straight, open up your chest, inhale deeply and exhale slowly. Do this a few times. Do you feel refreshed and energized?
Shallow breathing can zap our energy, especially when we do not realize we are almost suffocating.
Yoga classes often begin with a time to focus on breathing. I love how this exercise in breathing awakens my energy with each deep breath. The awesome thing is you can practice deep breathing anywhere!
Ensuring that we get the best sleep we can is vital to keeping energy levels consistent. I think that the quality of sleep over the quantity of sleep is important. Take time to make your sleep time comfortable, adjust the room temperature, bedding, and sound, give yourself what you need to have the best sleep possible.
Intermittent fasting is great for increasing energy because the body is not focusing energy on digestion. It seems counterintuitive on the surface that going without food could give you energy. But it works. Especially, if you are on a low carb type of diet where you are in Ketosis.
Lowering your sugar intake may seem counter productive on the surface, if you are looking to increase energy. Energy drinks, soda and sugary foods will give you a brief spurt of energy but then your energy dives as your blood sugar crashes.
At first, lowering sugar intake can seem to lower energy levels, as the body starves for sugar we are often left feeling lethargic and tired. The removal of high amounts of sugar in our diet will balance blood sugar levels, avoiding spikes and crashes. High amounts of sugar can also cause headaches, stomaches, etc. All of which drag us down.
The compound result of increased movement, exercise, deep breathing, quality sleep, intermittent fasting and lowering sugar intake will give you consistent, higher overall energy, momentum and flow, to keep engaged with your goals.
We need to wind our internal wheels to keep our energy flow consistent. Keeping our internal batteries charged will allow us to have the necessary momentum to progress forward on our path with a great flow of excitement and stamina toward your goals.
Motivation and Workouts
So, how do you stay motivated for your workouts at every situation in your life, every month and every day? The answer is - you don't. I am not a believer in this motivation thing at all as this is not how we get things done. We get them done by self-discipline.
Thinking that you have to be motivated to work out means that you have to feel like it all the time and that you will go to the gym every time happily chearing in joy being impatient to start the workout. Yes, sometimes it is like this. And sometimes it isn't. The reality is, that there are days we arrive at the gym full of energy & will to lift, and there are days when we are already tired, the day has been tough at the work, maybe we had poor sleep or are absolutely not in the mood to work out. And especially on these days more than ever we have to be enough self-disciplined to go to the gym despite all the circumstances, to do the best we can do there even it is not our best performance at all. Self-discipline is the key how to keep your workouts consistent and get the desired result.
Have clear goals
Having a clear goal for yourself is very important to stay on track. Know exactly WHY are you doing this. Do you want to loose some extra weight? Do you want to have some time for yourself while lifting? Do you want to get desired body shape? Want to feel good in your body? Be stronger? Be better than you were yesterday? Then go work for it!
If you will not know your WHY it will be very difficult to get yourself to the gym constantly because...why should you then?
Make a plan
And be very realistic with that. Yes, in dream world maybe you would hit the gym 5 days in a row, would have enough time to spend 3 hours every session at the gym and could relax at sauna after that. But there is no point of making unrealistic plans just to feel frustrated and discouraged later when you can't accomplish them. Instead just look in your schedule and make clear plan - how often, when exactly and for how long time you can do your gym sessions? Write it down for the next week in your schedule and after that - respect your decision. If there will come up some last minute things you have to do in your scheduled gym time (and they will come up for sure because they always do), you DO NOT cancel your workout. You say, that you can't make it at that time as you have workout then and decide when you can do the things which unexpectedly came up.
Of course, your gym sessions may vary from week to week. Maybe one week you can do two workouts and other week - four. The main thing is to make a clear plan in advance and stick to it.
Do the work
And to be honest, this is the easiest part. Once you are in the gym, have planned enough time for your workout, all you have to do now is - lift!
Wishing you great workouts,
Weightlifting and Yoga are NOT the opposites. In fact, they do perfectly fit together. Yoga can make wonders to improve your performance and is an excellent tool to level up your lifting game at the gym. Here are just 5 benefits what yoga can do for you:
1. Increase your Range Of Motion
Yoga sessions will help you become more flexible for better range of motion while lifting at the gym. Static stretching which is done during yoga sessions is absolutely the best way to improve your flexibility. And the more flexible you are, the greater range of motion during your lifts. The better range of motion of your gym lifts the better performance. Stretching helps your trained muscles to feel good as the tension gets relieved. If you are afraid of stretching because you see yourself as a stiff person, don’t worry. You just need to train for that consistently the same as you train for any other goals at the gym and the results will follow 100%.
2. Speeds up recovery time & reduces muscle soreness
The fact is, yoga helps your muscles to recover faster after the hard weightlifting sessions. By stretching your muscles, you increase blood and oxygen flow in your muscles which reduces soreness and also you relieve tension which is put on muscles during your workouts. The best part is, you don’t have to wait forever for the desired outcome, you will see how much better you feel instantly after your yoga session.
3. Reduce the risk of injury
Yoga takes care of your joint health, including connective tissue – ligaments and tendons. By moving your joints in full range of motion, in different angles you ensure they stay healthy, strong and also better prepared for unexpected situations which can happen in daily life. Along with strength and flexibility training regular yoga practice improves your balance skills. It will also ensure your body gets enough variantion of movement which prepares your body for different unexpected movements.
4. Feel better in your body overall
When your body allows you to move freely and with ease, it is a pure pleasure to exist in that beautiful machine. With no tightness, no pain, no discomfort anywhere in your body, your muscles. Your body and mind feels best when they are strong AND healthy AND happy. All these qualities must be there for you to have the best possible experience in your body.
5. Yoga levels up your mental balance & focus
Making this time for your practice will help you to be more connected with yourself, to stay focused on your goals, to listen to your body and it’s needs. This is the time when you can give your attention to yourself and listen to your own needs without distractions from the outer world. Yoga practice will also give your body & mind much needed relaxation.
Love & Light,
Personal Trainer & Yoga Teacher