5 Ways To Get The Most Out Of Every Workout

Posted on 28. Jun, 2016 by in Get Motivated, Lifestyle, Workouts

My career as a CrossFit competitor is over…before it even started.

Why? you ask. Because I now have two kids.

I didn’t have the kids myself, my wife did. But those two free-loaders are now my responsibility to take care of.

There’s no questions that “Dad” is my most important occupation. I’m not trying to be the best at exercising, but I do take pride in trying to be the best father I can be.

There is nothing that could ever trump the priority of my son and daughter. As my paying side gigs go, I’m a CrossFit box owner and manager, a CrossFit coach, and I work with my dad in our family’s real estate businesses.

Nowadays, time is a special commodity.  

Gone are the days of wandering into Gold’s Gym for two hours and spending most of that time psyching myself up for the next set. Forget the “two-a-days” as well.   

Owning a gym means, out of the 5-6 hours I’m there in a day, I’m lucky if one of those hours is spent working on my own fitness.  If I don’t plan which hour I work out, there won’t be an hour to workout. It’s the opposite of what you might think, it’s even HARDER to get my workouts in. For fellow gym owners, you know what I mean. 

I still have lofty health goals though, I want to be “Superhuman” in the eyes of my kids. Heck, I want to be “Superhuman” in the eyes of my grandkids…something my dad has already set the standard for.

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I know that if I’m going to hit my health and fitness goals, I better take full advantage of my one hour to workout in my CrossFit gym each day.

Whether you workout in a CrossFit gym or not, these tips can help you be more efficient with your time and get the most out of your workouts.  

CrossFit is great because each class is only an hour long and the coaches do all the planning for you. You just show up, do the work, and enjoy the results. (There’s my plug for CrossFit.)

Here are Five Rules For Getting The Most Out of Every Workout:

1. Decide on a goal for each day.

The number one reason I see people drop out of CrossFit is not injury, not even close, it’s failing to meet their own expectations.  When athletes continually try to meet the standards of others, they will fail more often than not. They will walk out of the gym unfulfilled and wanting more.  They will wonder what’s wrong with them.

On the other hand, I know what’s wrong with me. I’m a 32 year old father of two. I know my weaknesses and capabilities.  I know I’m not Rich Froning, and I’m good with that.

It’s important to go into every workout knowing what you want to achieve. This doesn’t mean what weight you want to hit, but what do you want to get out of today. It could be hitting a new PR, but it could also be simply sweating out the mistakes of yesterday.

“Setting goals” sounds ambitious, but “set expectations you can meet” sounds like a lazy man’s plan.  My advice is to walk the line between both. Set goals that push you to get better, but don’t ever stress you out if you can’t meet them.

2. Apply the five-minute rule.

The five-minute rule is not one you’ve heard before because I made it up and haven’t told you about it yet, but I use it religiously.

It’s a simple rule: Don’t listen to your body in the first five minutes upon waking up, AND in the first five minutes you arrive to the gym.

Remember when your parents told you to be home by 12 because “nothing good ever happens after midnight”.  Well this is like that, nothing good comes from your thoughts in the first five minutes of waking up.  It’s all just lazy brain bullshit noise you don’t need to hear. “Hit that snooze button. Go back to sleep. Skip the gym today. You are too sore to do anything productive today. It is way too rainy/cold/hot/etc to workout.”  

You may think that one decision to sleep in is no big deal, but each time you decide to listen to the lazy brain, you could be delaying your goals by weeks, months, or even years. Each decision is life changing because you have the power to make your life better every day you wake up and breathe oxygen.

In order to beat my own lazy brain, I plan out the first twenty minutes of my morning every morning so that I don’t force myself to make any decisions under sleepy circumstances that may alter the outcome of my day. How many of you have talked yourself out of going to the gym?  The problem isn’t in the decision you made, it’s in the decision you made to allow yourself to make decisions that early. Decide before you go to bed what tomorrow will hold for you, and more importantly, hold yourself to that decision.  

Ok now that you’ve made it to the gym, we have to apply the five-minute rule again. I love our gym because we plan out your whole hour.  All you have to do is show up. 

As a coach, I don’t have any special powers. I have lazy man’s brain, I have two kids among many other things fighting for my time each day. I have many things grabbing at my attention once I step through the gym doors.

Often it’s a battle just to show up on time for class.  But I know once I show up and make it through the warm-up with a positive outlook, I’m going to have a great workout and an even better rest of my day.

The mentality you decide on during your first five minutes of class is the same mentality that will last you the whole hour.  When you get to the gym, do not think about how sore this muscle is or how tired you are from the baby waking you up five times last night.

Telling yourself you’re tired will only make you more tired, telling yourself you’re weak will only make you more weak. Decide when you arrive to class that you are going to give 100% effort to the warm-up no matter how crappy you think you feel. I promise it will help flush out the negative thoughts and it will flush out some soreness as well.

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3. Enjoy the process, honestly.   

If your workout is simply a means to an end then you won’t last long in this game. You have to enjoy the journey, embrace the struggles, and celebrate every tiny win along the way.

Numerical goals, whether it’s pounds you want to lose or kilos you want to lift, are great goals to have, but they can leave you feeling empty if that’s your sole motivation. After all, there will ALWAYS be “more weight” to lose or lift.  

Think about what really drives you. Besides the physical results or expectation of, what gets you excited about going to the gym?

On my way to the gym, I look forward to who I might see and workout with. Every morning I get to hang out with a bunch of my friends. How lucky am I?  I also know I will learn something new that day, and it motivates me to grow as a coach and person.  I also get excited to test my limits physically and mentally. The curiosity of wondering, “what am I capable of?” is a huge driver behind why I show up each day.

IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE: If you find that you struggle a lot with the last two points, you might want to start looking at a new gym or workout plan. Sure there will be tough days to get yourself to the gym and find the right motivations, but if this is happening to you more days than not, you need to make a change. I latched onto CrossFit five years ago because I needed to find a change from my stale Gold’s Gym routine.

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4. Get your diet and sleep on track.

Are you eating, drinking, and sleeping enough?  I know I wasn’t.  

When you are focusing all your efforts on keeping two other humans alive, you tend to forget about your own well being.

This is not the typical “eat this, not that, get 10 hours of sleep, drink 8 glasses of water,” advice here, at least not in this post.  

If you are deficient in energy due to lack of sleep, diet, or hydration, changes need to be made.  At this point, we aren’t looking at these things to improve performance, we are getting them on track so we stop sliding backwards.

We can’t walk into a workout malnourished and expect to have a great day.  

So, how do I know if I’m getting enough sleep, food, or water?  

You will know, when you feel good. You need all three working in tandem. When I started eating and drinking more to match my active lifestyle, it was only then that I felt Superhuman throughout my day.  I got myself on a meal delivery plan to supplement my wife’s already amazing services (I eat A LOT), and I made a system for drinking more water and making electrolyte drinks (NOT Gatorade), and I made an intentional effort to get to bed earlier.  When I have all three on point, it’s then that I feel Superhuman.

Another Side Note that fits this section most: Take 5 minutes before and/or after class to address your own mobility and soreness issues. This can go a long way in your training for the short time investment. I make sure I roll out or stretch any problem areas before every workout and do 2-3 stretches after every workout.  My post workout cool down may also consist of 5 minutes on the bike or rower at an easy pace. If you had to pick, I’d suggest the post workout is more important because the class warm-up will probably work out any problems anyways, but next time just take 5 extra minutes and see how much it can give back to you.

5. Start Tracking or Journaling.

Competitive athletes track, dads journal.  I’ve done the weight tracking thing and I’ve done the food tracking thing, and both have helped my fitness.  I will still do both in the future as I choose. But this is a post about finding enough time to have a great workout. If you find it too tedious to add paperwork to that problem then don’t do it.

We only want to incorporate new actions that will make our workouts better, and more frequent.

The act of writing down an action, whether it be in the future or past tense, is going to motivate you to follow through with that action and repeat it.  I’ve used The 5 Minute Journal and The Freedom Journal to help me keep my life in perspective and motivate me to accomplish more.  If you’ve never tracked before I suggest starting with journaling and maybe graduate to a more detailed tracking system if you feel it fits your goals.

 

If you’ve made it this far in the post I know time is important to you so I appreciate your time in reading this.  

If it’s your job to run a family, or run a business, or both, I know how much you give to other people each day. Always take care of yourself first.  You will be much more useful and helpful to those around you when your health and head are taken care of.

Keep Living Superhuman.

-Tony

 

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