“Ghosting” Old Training Habits: Maximize Your Workout with Better Execution

By Leo Shveyd, Co-Owner of Advanced Wellness

If you’ve been challenged with less than optimal training performance, the problem might not be inadequate preparation, it might be due to the way you’re executing your workouts. Some people love training; for those individuals, execution is easy!  But if you’re not one of those folks, you might benefit from “ghosting” some of your old habits and following the 4 workout tips when executing your fitness program:

Training Tip #1: Don’t Forget to Warm-Up

A well-designed warm-up is gradual, includes nasal and belly breathing (helping to raise body temperature from the inside out while exercising your lungs) so that you can increase blood flow in preparation for more intense exercise.  A solid warm-up also provides movement variety by training in different positions (varied developmental positions), optimizing mobility and providing a stabilization challenge.

You can also think of the warm-up as a conversation with your body. As you move, ask yourself:

  • “How does this feel?”
  • “Is this efficient?”
  • “Is it light or heavy?”
  • “Is my movement like normal/like in the past?”
  • “What is working in my body?”
  • “What should be working?”
  • “What adjustments do I need to make?”
  • “How can I optimize it?”

Be present and attentive to your body during your warmup. Understand your holes (pain, competencies and asymmetries). Based on our experience training fitness clients and athletes, a major benefit of a well thought out and executed warm-up is it helps to reduce the likelihood of injuries (especially sports related) and improves over-all training performance.

Training Tip #2: Pay Attention to Movement Selection, Exercise Order & Stimulus

Selecting movements is a key component of training efficiency and effectiveness.  Two guidelines (not rules) that we consider when developing a fitness program include prioritizing big, multi-joint exercises prior to smaller, one-joint exercises and positioning fast movements before slow ones.  Time is critical and you want to get the most benefit for the time you invest. Precise movement selection will provide valuable returns.  You also want to provide your body with the appropriate amount of training stress.   What I mean is you can do too little, too much, or you could be like Goldilocks, “just right”.   As a safety net, you should always listen to your body to prevent “too much”.  With that said, training consistently at least twice per week, while keeping your training stress level between a 7-9 on a 10 scale will yield sustainable, long-term results.  It is important to know weights, speed, times and reps are ONLY relevant if you can do the movements WELL. It is important to prioritize quality over quantity.

Training Tip #3: Keep Up Your Motivation & Accountability

As we age, our intrinsic motivation to work out and remain fit wanes. Perhaps this is because we are less concerned about our own aesthetics and our ability to procreate. Who knows? Whatever the reason, in order to keep our workouts thriving, we need an extrinsic motivator (a partner, coach, goal, etc.).  Recently, I heard a story of four gentlemen that worked out together 3 days a week for 25 years, rarely missing a session.  They did this by exchanging each other’s dirty gym clothes at the end of every workout, with the understanding that the training partner was responsible for laundering and bringing the clean clothes to the gym for his partner prior to the next training session.  Not wanting to let your training partner down is a tremendous motivator and provides the necessary accountability, especially as we age.

Training Tip #4: Managing Pain 

Pain is your body’s way of talking to you.  It is your job is to figure out what it is saying, despite the fact that the body speaks a complex sometimes cryptic language.  So, acknowledge your pain and address it without training into it. What I mean by that is that you can still continue to train but figure out what movement patterns, planes and ranges of motion cause you pain.  Make sure that you work out just shy of the pain point.  This way, you can still maintain your fitness while you also address your health by dealing with pain.

Paying attention to these 4 important performance variables when you execute your workout will allow you to set realistic goals and achieve great results. This is otherwise known as the better BETTER process: positive input, with great execution and sufficient recovery, equals a BETTER you!