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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.