I'm sure you've heard it before: "No one ever regrets going to the gym." But have you ever stopped to ask yourself why? Is it really because we're all so happy and fulfilled after a good workout? Or could it be that, deep down, we all know that if we don't go to the gym, we'll definitely regret it later? Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. The truth is, there are plenty of reasons to hit the gym other than just avoiding regret. But at the end of the day, most people go to the gym because they want to see results. And when it comes to training effectively, knowing whether you're actually working out or just exercising can make all the difference. So what's the difference between the two? Keep reading to find out!
If you've ever set foot in a gym, you've probably noticed that most people don't seem to be training very hard. They'll do a few sets of exercises without really pushing themselves, and then they'll call it quits. This is what I like to refer to as simply "exercising," as opposed to training. Training is much more specific and goal-oriented, while exercising is simply going through the motions. The problem with exercising is that it isn't very effective. If you're not pushing yourself, you're not going to see results. So, if you're serious about getting in shape, you need to start training instead of just doing exercises.
What makes a workout effective? This is a question that has puzzled scientists and fitness enthusiasts for years. There are a variety of factors that can contribute to an effective workout. In our book, there are 3 main ones: Intensity, volume, and rest times! Let's have a look at those, shall we?
What is the right weight to lift? If you walk into any gym, you will see people of all sizes and shapes working out with weights that vary greatly. Some people are lifting light weights for high reps, while others are struggling to complete just a few reps with heavy weights. So, what is the right approach? The answer, as with many things in fitness, is that it depends on your goals. In general, though, you’d want to do WORKING SETS on each exercise that you have in your routine. Think of a ‘working set’ as a high-exertion set, taken close to failure. This is the basis of an effective workout!
The second factor that makes training effective is the training volume, which refers to the total amount of weight lifted in a given set, exercise, or workout. Think of it as an equation - Weight * Sets * Reps = Volume For example, 100 kg used for 1 set of 10 reps = 1000 kg volume. The more you advance in your workouts, the more volume goes up, as this is one of the more effective ways to apply the principle of progressive overload. Start off with a lesser number of working sets and work your way up to more total sets & repetitions completed! Ultimately, you’d be looking at 8-10+ working sets per muscle group per week when you are advanced.
Why do we need to rest between sets? It turns out that there are several good reasons. First, resting allows your muscles to recover from the work they've done. Second, it gives your heart a chance to slow down and catch its breath. And finally, it gives you a chance to refocus and prepare for the next set. All of these factors contribute to an effective workout. If you don't rest between sets, you'll quickly find yourself fatigued. Your muscles will be unable to perform at their best, and your heart will have to work harder to keep up. As a result, you'll do less work overall and benefit less from your workout. So be sure to take 2-3 minutes of rest between your working sets (yes, you'll need up to 2-3 minutes if your set is done right!)
So, what’s the verdict? Are you training effectively? It’s important to remember that it takes more than just hard work to achieve success. You also need to be smart about your training and make sure you are doing everything possible to get the most out of your time in the gym. If you aren’t sure if you are training effectively, ask a professional for help. They can assess your routine and make suggestions for how you can improve. With a little bit of tweaking, you may be able to turn those lackluster workouts into ones that produce real results. What changes will you make today to start training more effectively?