Three Important Tips to Improve Your Workouts and Results

Guest post by our cool intern Martin Matheney

mindsetSince the middle of January, I have had the opportunity to intern at the Fitness Revolution locations in East Memphis and Cordova. Over the span of approximately three months, I have been able to see a large core group of people participate in the workouts. As the days became weeks and the weeks became months, I saw a large group of dedicated individuals striving to transform themselves by reaching his or her personal fitness goals, ranging from losing body fat to increasing strength and stamina. As my time as a student intern winds down, I have been tasked with detailing a few aspects of the overall atmosphere that I would change in order to make the workouts more efficient and flow more fluently for everybody involved.

The first point of discussion that I will touch on can be broadly described as the “workout mindset”. What that means to me is not allowing any internal or external distractions to have a negative impact on how well you exercise. I completely understand and sympathize with the people who have to try to juggle more than they can handle in their personal lives. I also realize that occasionally thoughts about a multitude of stressors tend to creep into the mind at some of the most inopportune times. The reality is that not much can be accomplished at the gym other than bettering your health-so why worry about anything else? In a perfect world, I would like to believe that people view the gym or fitness class as a time when any negatives or shortcomings of the day have no relevance; as a time when other extraneous obligations don’t exist. That type of steely determination and eagle-eye focus can be seen through all facets of the daily workout, including the intensity shown, the responsiveness displayed during the exercise demonstrations prior to the session, and the attention to detail for the duration of the hour.

i+can+i+will+big+thoughtFurthermore, the most prevalent issue I see regularly is people who become complacent with their current level of performance and never strive for greater heights. The fear of failure plagues far too many people’s thoughts and actions in fitness settings all over the world. The question I must ask these people is, “What’s the worst that could happen?” Will all of the strength and prowess acquired while building to this level all come crashing down if you can’t lift heavier today? Will this be the first time you have ever gone all in and come up short? Is temporarily decreasing your weight really that awful? If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, please accept this invitation to join the rest of us in the real world. The long term benefits of trying and potentially failing can be compared to looking under the hood of a car when it breaks down. Sometimes you have to be willing to identify what went wrong before you can determine how to fix it. As one of the greatest basketball players in history, Michael Jordan, once stated, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”

Lastly, the chief technical aspect of the exercises that I would like to see enhanced pertains to going through a wider range of motion. Especially on exercises like the push-up and pull-up there are numerous instances where a bunch of people lose out on the full benefits of the given exercise due to going through a narrow range of motion. Studies have shown that both absolute and relative strength measurements were greater for those who completed certain exercises (bench press and bicep curls in this case) through a full range of motion as opposed to those participants who only did partial range of motion for the same lifts. Although going through a wider range of motion for exercises such as push-ups, curls, or chin-ups will indeed be more challenging, the positives of doing them correctly far outweighs any alternatives. With that being said, never hesitate to use some type of assistance (bands or box) in order to maintain proper form. In my view, one must know how it feels to execute an exercise soundly before he or she can actually do so.

In closing, the three most commonplace issues I would like to see changed apply to focus during the workouts, the fear of fitness failure, and restricted range of motion. How can this be achieved? Lock in mentally. Test your limits. Do things the right way. Be better.

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