One of the biggest reasons people are unable to train consistently is time constraints. Often these people opt for weak promises of 10 minute workouts to get to their goals, but they quickly find out how ineffective these workout programs are and fall right back off the wagon. This may sound like a similar concept but trust us – its much different.
First let’s look at what makes a workout effective.
An effective workout is simple, meaning it is not made up of every exercise you saw and saved on Instagram this morning. It consists of measurable variables – i.e. not “a good pump or burn”. Measuring the weights, reps, and sets you perform with specific exercises is the only way to see if you are really progressing or not. Even if your main goal is not to get stronger (which we think should be everyone’s primary focus), you should be tracking your numbers.
If more weight on the bar is proportional to the muscle you build, and the muscle you build is proportional to the fat you lose, then tracking your strength is the best way to quantify your weight loss. The weight on your scale may vary based on water intake, sleep, hormonal balance, etc. The muscle you build is much more consistent day to day, and your strength gains are much more consistent over a long period of time, and therefore are easier to measure success with.
Finally, an effective workout is not only simple and measurable, but is also challenging.
Simple and challenging may seem like opposites – buthang on. The simplicity of the workout on paper allows us to put our energy into the workout itself. If we only have to perform 2-4 exercises, 3-5 sets per exercise, and 3-5 reps per set, then all your energy can go into perfecting each rep you do. Perfect execution makes sure that you’re training each muscle in it’s most effective range of motion and gets you the best bang for your buck in the gym. Instead of going through the motions for rep after rep of bicep curls, try a set of five perfect heavy squats – you’ll immediately see the difference.
If you’re not sure where to start, why not hire a coach?
Cam Cox is a Starting Strength Coach in James Island, South Carolina. His attention to detail and keen coaching eye has helped many people just like you. Whether you’ve hit a plateau and don’t know where to go from here, or are brand new to weights and the gym, let Cam walk you through a workout and you’ll see the difference a quality coach can make.