You’ve seen or possibly even experienced one of the following examples of how NOT to use your workout time.
The first mistake is having no idea what you’ll do during your workout. You get on your bike, you put on your running shoes or you go into the gym and realize you don’t know what you’re going to do. The end result is often doing a little of nothing and getting no real benefit.
Will it be a hard day or an easy day? Will it be a short workout or a long one? Will you lift weights or do some cardio? At the last minute you settle on something and get it over with. You finish up, look back at the workout and realized you got absolutely ZERO accomplished.
Now THAT was a waste of time, wasn’t it?
The other big workout mistake is to go from “0 to 60” immediately – with no warm-up. This is potentially the worst mistake to make because of the high risk of injury. And since training consistency is the most important component to a successful program, remaining healthy, and able to train should be your #1 goal.
Let’s eliminate these negative experiences FOREVER.
A few simple steps, each of which only requires a few minutes and a few brain cells, can help each workout be an effective one and can help keep you on track to achieving your goals. These steps include:
Pre-plan. Each workout should serve a purpose and should have a definite desired outcome. Many athletes plan their entire season; including monthly goals and plans, weekly, and all the way down to the specific day. Of course, this takes a little more time and effort, but it pays off. If you don’t plan to that level, that’s fine. One day per week, just jot out your goals for the upcoming week, and include as much detail for each day as you’re able. And this takes but a few moments to do.
Warm-up. Each workout should include a thorough warm-up. While this will likely be different for each different type of activity, the necessity of a warm-up is constant. The goal of a warm-up is to get the heart rate to increase, to open the blood vessels, to warm up the body core temperature and to prepare the muscles and connective tissue for the work ahead. A proper warm-up is critically important to not only improving the quality of the workout, but to help keep you injury-free as well.
Main set. After a proper warm-up, you can then jump into the “guts” of the workout. Whether this is an interval session, a hill climbing session, or any other quality work, your body is completely ready!
Cool down. As you complete the main set of your training session, your heart is pumping, you’re sweating and hot and your muscles are fatigued. This is NOT the time to simply jump in the shower and carry on with the rest of the day.
Take a few minutes to allow your heart rate and breathing to come down to normal and you’re sweating to stop. This cool down period should occur while you’re moving your body; whether this is walking, spinning your pedals easily or doing your activity at a very, very low intensity.
As you cool down you should perform a series of static stretches, which gently allows your tight muscles to stretch back to normal length.
Each workout should include these 4 steps. Your workout time will be efficient and effective, and your chance for injury will be significantly reduced. What more can you ask for?
Let me know if you have questions or comments, then GO WORK OUT!
Bob McEnaney trains triathletes, cyclists, runners and other endurance athletes. These athletes encompass all ages, genders, ability and experience levels. Learn more about Bob at his youbsite and blog: www.totalcyclingperformance.com. You may contact him directly at: Bob@totalcyclingperformance.com
5/25/2010 at 4:50 PM