Don’t we always say it’s the little things that matter? Often we get so caught up in what we are doing that we fail to notice how we are doing it. The ‘how’ is the difference between an effective workout and one that just won’t cut it.
Here are 4 very basic rules to keep in mind when you are ready to tackle your next workout.
Rule #1 RPE
This stands for rate of perceived exertion. This is a very general guild line you should follow to gauge your workout intensity. During exercise, you should be able to have a conversation with someone but you really don’t want to. This means you are breathing in a way that would allow you to speak but your focus and attention is on what you are doing and talking to someone would not be ideal. If you are chatting away during your workout time, step it up!
Rule #2 Counting and Programs
Everyone wants a program with an exact number of times to complete each exercise and a step-by-step guide to follow. I completely understand this and I am not against the idea. However, you must consider that your body does not know how to count nor does it care how many times you complete a movement. The quality of the movement is what matters. There is no benefit to rushing 15 quick squats because your ‘program’ tells you to. Completing just a few proper squats with full range of motion will give you a better muscular contraction, which leads to better results.
Rule #3 Breathe
It is very common to hold your breath when performing an exercise. Many industry professionals will have different opinions on when to breathe during a certain exercise. I say, for now, just focus on natural breathing since most have a tendency to stop doing that much while working out. If you’re curious (and think you have the natural breathing down), I always say breathe out during the concentric contraction, which is the shorting of muscle (usually the difficult part of the motion moving against gravity).
Rule #4 Stop with the Rules
I gave you my top three rules and now I’m asking you to ditch the rules, yes let me explain. There is no rulebook to exercising or step-by-step instructions on the way to fitness. The truth is there are many ways. The only rule is you must do it. The point I am trying to make here is that most focus so much on trying to figure out exactly what to do, how many times to do it, when to do it that they end up doing nothing at all. The key is to move and use your body. Find something you love to do and focus on loving the journey of being fit and healthy. That is your only rule…for now!