For most people today, efficiency is everything. We are masters of multitasking and obsessed with how and how efficiently we spend our time. Despite being constantly pulled in multiple directions, we are expected to perform at our optimal potential. With so much expected of us and so little time, we end up feeling overwhelmed. The feeling of overwhelm is our body’s response to external forms of stress. These stressors, and how our mind and body react, are more harmful than you may anticipate or imagine.
All too often, the stress from our daily life leaves us stuck in a fitness rut. When we actually get to the gym, we often end up doing the same exercises or same workout routine day after day without much change. This can make fitness feel like just another tedious chore instead of a challenging and invigorating treat.
To make the switch from dull, stale, and ineffective to shiny, exciting, and effective calls on you to mindfully listen to how you and your body feel when exercising. The key is to hear its cry for more. Ask yourself simple questions like “is this exercise easy, medium, or hard?” or even, “am I challenging myself?” When exercises start feeling “easy” and/or you do not feel challenged, it’s time to implement a systematic progression to increase difficulty and challenge. Achieving your goals to get stronger, faster, and more agile is dependent on this progression.
Make small challenges to start, like refocusing your attention on both the body parts that move and those that stay stationary throughout the movement. Then, up your weight or advance the choreography.
As you listen to how your body responds to each incremental step, you can guide yourself to greater peaks, rather than running to the top at full speed and finding yourself crashing down with fatigue or injuries.
Progressing in your exercise regimen will result in better health, lowered stress levels, and boosted self-confidence. And it will give you the energy you need to be efficient in all the other areas of your busy life!
- Identify areas for potential improvement. Ideally your workouts are both invigorating and challenging. During your next workout, take note of the challenge level after each exercise. Choose at least one exercise you’d like to improve or take to the next level.
- Make a small adjustment. Make one minor shift to tweak the exercise—increase or decrease range of motion or speed, increase the incline, add balance, add weight, etc. Notice the difference one small change makes. It may add more challenge and reward than you expected!
- Keep it up! You’re exercising—that’s great! Now continue to systematically change your workouts, one exercise at a time. After each adjustment, listen to your body’s reaction and assess whether or not the change was beneficial.