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4 Ways to Take Your Workout to the Max

One of the biggest complaints I get from new clients is that they have been a gym member for six months or a year or however long, and they just aren't seeing results. My explanation to them is simple: they aren't getting the max out of their workouts. Many people, myself included, suffer occasionally from this. Whether it's a lack of knowing which exercises to perform for a challenging workout or a lack of motivation or a pressed schedule, we all sometimes have mediocre workouts. Here are four easy ways to alleviate that feeling and take your workout to the next level.

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1. Consult the Pros

It's a personal trainer's job to make your workouts interesting and fun. It's also their job to push you to your limits and help you get the maximum benefit from your workout. They are the best resource to help you reach your goals in the gym. They will motivate you, make you work, and help you benefit the most with exercise advice and instruction, as well as nutritional information. This is the "two prong" attack to getting fit.  

2. Warm-Up, Lift, Sweat

The biggest thing most people lack in their workout isn't a perfect number of reps or a single magic exercise, it's how they structure their workouts. Structuring your workouts is a huge part of getting the most bang for your buck. I recommend a simple formula: start with a five minute light warm-up with some dynamic stretching and an easy pace on your favorite cardio machine, follow it up with your strength training, and finish with intense cardio. Not only will this help you stick with your workouts, this routine will also maximize your metabolism for optimal output and optimal results.

3. Interval Training = Beast Mode

One of the most popular training methods for athletes to get into peak performing shape is interval training.  Interval training is short, medium, or moderate periods of intense exercise output followed by short periods of rest. Think of it like a boxer or mixed martial artists: several three to five minute rounds with one minute breaks in between.  I have an interval workout I dubbed "Caveman Strength" that I get in once a week. As the name implies, you can imagine the types of exercises it entails, heavy lifting and throwing things not withstanding.

4. Find What You Like

I've said this before, if you aren't motivated, you aren't going to do the work required. As it goes in life, so it goes in the gym. It's also fine to enjoy what you're doing to get in shape. Find something you like to do. Maybe it's jiu-jitsu, or tennis, or bikram yoga, or extreme mountain biking. Whatever it is, you're more likely to be actively involved in it, which means you'll attend more regularly and participate your hardest. That means you'll see more changes, more often.  What does that mean?  Maximum results.

Ryan Barnhart, MS, PES, is a certified Performance Enhancement and Injury Prevention Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM). He also holds a master's degree in exercise science, as well as a bachelor of sport management, both from California University of Pennsylvania. Ryan has worked with numerous collegiate and amateur athletes across many different fields. Ryan also has had the opportunity to work with several professional athletes. Recently he has worked with amateur and professional athletes within the emerging sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

Ryan is currently the director of fitness at a 700+ member gym near Pittsburgh, PA. He enjoys working with weekend warriors, athletes, and everyone in between. You can contact Ryan at rbbarnhart@gmail.com.




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