The new year gives people a chance to reset their fitness goals and start fresh. Even though the gym is packed with people - many are committed to make positive changes to their health and wellbeing, so use that new rush of collective energy to conquer your workout each and every time you visit the gym despite the short-lived inconveniences.
Here are a few training tips to start the year off on the right sneaker:
Have a Plan A, B and even C
Based on your specific goal, plan your workouts in advance to avoid wasting time waiting for your favorite machine. Write out multiple options for body part exercises and cardio workouts, as well as alternatives for rep counts, loads and tempos.
For example: If it’s chest day and the bench press is full, use a stability ball or try a dumbbell floor press. Or if you can only find one 20 pound dumbell, try a 4/2/1 tempo - Lower the weight for 4 seconds, pause for 2 seconds and then lift up for 1 second.
It’s better to do something than just staring at your phone becoming increasingly frustrated.
The amount of time you have prior to your workout will help determine what’s best for you to eat. Food is fuel for your body, so it’s just as important as your exercises, but it’s also based on your individual needs so there’s no one rule to follow.
Precision Nutrition recommends this option if you want to eat 0-60 minutes prior to a workout. Here’s a smoothie recipe that takes less time to digest so close to your workout:
1 scoop chocolate protein powder
1 fist spinach
1 thumb peanut butter
8 oz. chocolate, unsweetened almond milk
Try progressively overloading your workouts
If you’ve been a gym regular and your workouts still aren’t producing the results you are dreaming of, use the beginning of the new year to start progressively overloading workouts to help improve changes in your body composition. A personal trainer can properly explain the nuances of changing your workout routine, but here are a couple suggestions to get started:
- Add 2-5 pounds to your lifts each week
- Increase your rep counts during a timed 1-minute exercise
- Decrease the amount of rest time between each set
- Slow or increase the tempo of your lifts
Try Something New in 2019
Your favorite elliptical machine might be calling your name, but resist the urge to jump back into the same routine this new year. Chicago Athletic Clubs has a long list of options from classes, to equipment, to personal training packages. Make it your goal to try something new each week. For example, set your alarm for that morning yoga class you’ve always wanted to attend, train with a personal trainer to nail your deadlift form, or head to the weight room and pump out a dumbbell circuit. Branching out of your comfort zone might be scary but the results are worth it!
Jennifer Bonner is a NASM Certified Personal Trainer at Chicago Athletic Clubs