Written by: Paul Hodges, General Manager, O2 Fitness - Cary
What are we doing with our time when we go to the gym?
Many of us focus on how many calories we burn or working ourselves to complete exhaustion. However, do we really have a goal in mind?
No matter what that goal is; whether to look better or to improve the quality of life, we all have health goals which drive us towards working out, and we should consider the first step in setting these goals. Health maintenance is key to living longer, stronger, and happier, but we have to take the first step in achieving a better workout than the time before.
When we focus on achieving a better workouts, we can achieve greater consequences for our body composition (less body fat and more muscle), training goals, and overall health. Training specifically for improved performance is the best way to reach your goals, as you increase your awareness of getting stronger in resistance training.
Getting Past the Numbers
When I often ask new prospects that come into our facility about what their health goals are, they usually respond by saying, " I want to loose 30-40lbs." With too many individuals, there seems to be a "number" in mind that they correlate to their success. However, I challenge this by addressing the needs to feel better, or have more energy, and ultimately be a stronger individual.
We often preach that it takes 21 days to make a habit, so that is why it is crucial to find greater motivation to train consistently. Almost anyone can start a training program, but not everyone sticks with it.
Many people get bored, burned out, or don't get the results that they had hoped for from the beginning. So the simple retreat? They quit just as fast as they begun. However, turning your focus on improving your performance, you'll be motivated to return to the gym week after week, month after month.
This goal is a positive motivator— as opposed to something like trying to lose weight. Instead of going to the gym trying to burn as many calories as possible, you’ll aim to do better than last time— performing an extra rep or adding more weight to the bar. That’s the ultimate way to achieve the results you want because you know exactly what to accomplish every time you’re in the gym and you can easily track your progress.
How Strength Training and Performance Can Drive Motivation
Most people don’t realize the tremendous impact strength training and performance can have on confidence. In general, you’ll become aware of what you are able to achieve physically. Feats of strength such as body weight chin-ups, parallel bar dips, and dead lifting twice your body weight may seem unrealistic, but reaching those goals will take your confidence to new levels of health and fitness.
Alternative Ways To Show Your Progress
- Each time you repeat a training session, try to perform at least one more rep than last time with the same weight. You can also add more weight to the bar or use a heavier dumbbell, kettle bell, or whatever tools you use in your training.
- Train to achieve feats of strength you aren’t currently able to perform. Maybe you can only perform push-ups on your knees or you think a body weight pull-up will never happen.
- Follow a sound training program to achieve those milestones. You’ll have a stronger body and mind once you’re able to perform body weight exercises like push-ups, parallel bar dips, inverted rows, chin-ups, and pistols.
The challenge I present is very simple: Go to the gym with the sole purpose of improving your performance. This goal will keep you focused and motivated. After a few weeks, you’ll notice the developments in your strength, body composition, and confidence. Ultimately, you’ll achieve your training and health goals.