Am I doing the right workout?

Just making sure that you are exercising for a certain amount of hours a week is not enough to guarantee that you are actually improving physically. With the usual increase in the consumption of both food and drink at this time of year, a lot of us feel that as long as we make sure we get into the gym and stay there long enough that everything else will just take care of itself. So how do you know if you aren’t exercising correctly?

Around this time of year the last place a lot of us want to be is inside the gym. We’d rather be at home with friends and family keeping warm on these cold nights. But then you are just giving yourself more work to do by the time that the New Year rolls around.

Making sure that you are getting a good workout and that you are training in the right way is one of the hardest things to measure in a gym. So a lot of this is down to interpreting what your body is trying to tell you. At the beginning that can be quite difficult; you don’t know if the pain you are feeling is good or if you need to get to the hospital straight away. Thankfully over time this becomes a lot easier and will enable you to ensure that you are getting the most out of your workouts.

The first thing you need to consider is how hard you feel you have worked and the normal way to do this is by just rating it on a scale of 1-10. So if you are feeling like you are just sat at home relaxing you’re at a 1, but if you genuinely feel like you have given everything that you possibly can then you are going to be closer to a 10. The chances are that your perceived level of exertion will fall a great deal higher than a 1 but not quite close enough to be a 10. But if you aren’t regularly hitting 7/8 then there could be an issue with how you are training.

How you feel during an exercise will tell you a lot about whether you are getting right or wrong too. Everything that you do should be a challenge and it shouldn’t come easily. That doesn’t mean that you should lose all control though. If you are exercising correctly, ensuring that your form is as close to perfect as possible, then you should feel like even though you are working your socks off, you are in control the entire time.

That is all to do with how you feel during or just after a workout. Another thing to consider is how you feel well after a workout, like the next day for example. The more you train, the more you will get used to the feeling of DOMS. And that is both perfectly natural and to be expected. But if well after a workout your muscles feel fatigued and you have a constant dull, aching pain then your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong. More times than not what it is trying to tell you is that you are probably working it a bit too hard.

Then there are the things you can actually measure. For example your heart rate during and after exercise. If your resting heart rate is too close to your heart rate as you workout then that is a clear indication that something isn’t quite as it should be. There are less obvious things to measure as well, such as how much sleep you are getting at night and how often you feel hungry during the day. Both of these things should tell you if your training isn’t quite working for you.

Your primary goal should be to enjoy yourself this time of year. But make sure you aren’t wasting your time by doing the wrong things in the gym. Just try to work out what your body is telling you and that should give you a good idea as to whether or not you need to change up the way that you are working out.

Ollie Lawrence
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