Friday, July 26, 2013

Power Up: 7 Ways to Amp Up The Energy and Focus in Your Workout Routine

1.     Switch up your workout schedule. If you’re stuck in a rut, and your gym life feels repetitive instead of exciting, you need to change something and this is one of my favs. Do you  normally hit the after-work rush at the gym? Do you set your alarm for 5 AM for a morning pump? Whatever it is... do the opposite. Ha! You are breaking your routine so you are already telling your brain “this workout isn’t going to be like every other workout” even if it’s just by changing something as little as your schedule.

The vibe in the gym is different at different times of day and believe it or not, this has more effect on your workout than you realize! The jazzercise junkies and stay-at-home moms that workout from 9-11 AM will (not always! but generally) be doing lower-intensity workouts and bring a different energy to the space than the hardcore bodybuilders and younger crowd that usually fills the gym after work. Sometimes just seeing someone else banging out some sprints on the stairmill or killing a set of walking lunges is enough to inspire you to push just a little harder. And lastly.. my secret confessional reason behind this one... I get distracted by sexy sweaty athletic men!!! Ha ha ha! I notice some days when I am at the gym between 5-9, I find myself spending maybe a bit too much time checking out babes, which takes away from my focus. Switching my workout to 11 or 1 works really well for me because the gym is almost empty and I am free from distractions!!! (Seriously though... some days I wonder how many times I’m gonna have to stare RIGHT AT my gymcrush for prolonged periods of time before he gets the hint... lol!!)

2. You Rock. Remember that.
Before your workout, find somewhere that you can go sit down and write without distraction. Take 5 minutes to reflect on 3 things that you have accomplished that make you go “Wow, I am badass.” Write them out, in detail, on a blank sheet of paper. What are 3 of your biggest proudest accomplishments? I like to keep mine related to fitness, but it can be something in your personal life too! These were mine for this week:

- I hit my sales goal yesterday and got my bonus 2 days before month’s end. Badass.
- I visualized one of the hardest workouts from my last contest prep (a killer crossfit sesh that involved lots of rowing, 100 burpees and 2 x 1 km long sprint where I kept up to the elite hockey guys that were there that night). I literally thought I was going to die in that gym.... but I  made it!! Badass.
- I looked at a few pictures from a year or two ago. The difference is hard to believe. Badass.

Taking the time to write these things out reminds you that you ARE awesome and you CAN accomplish amazing things and if you did it then, you can do it now! Now lace 'em up and grind one out!
3. P-WO POW! While I’m not really a fan of the long-term, everyday use of Pre-Workout, caffeine supplements and fat burners, I do think they are valuable at the right time and place. When you’ve had a long day at work, have a tougher than usual workout ahead, or just need that extra boost... Go for it!!! Monday was one of those days for me. Lol. So I doubled up... down the hatch: a Lipo-6 Ultra Concentrate (black) and a scoop of BSA’s No-Xplode in blue razz. In my pink Magnum Shaker Cup. That I LOVE!!! Scored this one at the last show I did from Magnum Sponsored Bikini Athlete, Emily Adams (IG: @emmybikini). It makes me happy... :) Thx MAGNUM and Emmy!!!

4.     Tick Tock. 
If you are doing Strength Training, set a timer.  I first started doing this when I noticed some of my workouts were taking me up to 90 mins -- and that's just for the weight training part of it! Some days, I'll still have another 30-90 minutes of cardio on top of that so you can see how the time would easily add up. I would say that in general, a 40-60 minute strength training workout is a pretty good range to aim for. When you end up taking much longer than that, your rest intervals are off, so the intensity and effectiveness of your workout will also be off.  Try this one out and I'll bet you'll be trying to beat your last workout time before you know it! ;-)

5. Burn, Baby, Burn! During your cardio sesh, try switching your focus from total minutes logged to total calories burned.  Remember, endless hours of steady state cardio are not necessary, and not effective or sustainable in the long run, so try looking at things differently and focusing on intensity instead. For example, if you normally do 30 minutes of cardio on a crosstrainer and burn 300 calories, try adding in a few high intensity intervals to torch calories quicker and aim to complete your workout in 28 minutes instead of 30. You are still getting the same net effect of a 300 calorie burn, but your workout becomes more challenging, engaging and efficient! (Bonus!)

Try a workout sans specs...
even if they match your outfit! ;)
I like to make it a bit of a game for myself - if I normally burn 300 calories in a 30 minute workout, I should be at about 50 calories after 5 minutes, 100 calories after 10 mins and so on. So, I would try to put myself ahead of the "expected burn" right off the bat - and try to get to 60 or 70 calories by 5 mins in. I mix in intervals of steady state (at around 140 BPM) for maybe 5 minutes in a row just to zone out for a bit then refocus on playing the "calorie game" and racing the clock. This changes the goal, mindset and pace of your workout and when you feel like you have a new  and exciting challenge ahead, you are able to tackle it with a new energy and focus! ;-)
6.      Take It Off! I get that some of you actually need glasses or contacts to see, but as long as you can see where you’re going, try a work out sans specs.  This goes back to the distraction thing and trust me.. I am easily distracted! Every time my mind wanders even just a tiny bit, I obviously am not focusing on what I'm trying to achieve in my workout and end up losing intensity and drawing out my workout. The gym can turn into a zoo at some hours of the day - lots of different people to look at, lots of different workouts going on - so  if you can't physically see all of these micro distractions, you're able to more easily block them out and focus solely on what's in front of you; the iron.

7.      Go hard on Monday. Monday being the first, fresh new day of the week, getting off to a good start and accomplishing something puts you ahead of the game for the whole week. It’s the same kinda thing as sitting up in bed, wide awake, an hour before your alarm goes off in the morning.  #winning

Remember, the body can not go where the mind does not take it.

Have a fantastic, fit and focused day!!




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