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  • Ollie McCarthy

Becoming more effective at exercising


We are often short on time, highly stressed and low on energy.


One reason we are so ineffective at exercising is because we a) lack the awareness of what we really need and b) are constantly distracted. This article aims to give you tools to counter both.


When approaching each gym session a key start is going in with purpose. Having a plan to follow and action but also having the self awareness to be able to completely ignore it if need be (more on this later) is key.


Build up to a session


Remove all other stimuli- often people go into their sessions eyes glued to their phones, music blaring in their ears. The thoughts of todays meetings, what’s on TV later and an argument with a loved one still rolling around their head. Stop. Phone on aeroplane mode. Headphones out. 10 minutes to warm up, breath and think. Concentrate on your breathing and body. Where feels tight? Are you tired? how did yesterday session go?


Warm up- raise your pulse using cardio. Mobilise your body- assess your needs. If you feel tight then spend more time working on tight areas . If not, move on.


Activate- Compound movements are brilliant but actively warming up smaller specific muscles is important. Rotator cuff, glutes and core will all benefit from being stimulated before moving on to the rest of the session.


Make the call- this point of the session is where you decide how the rest will play out. If you feel tired/drained then maybe a lighter session will be better. If you feel awful then maybe stopping the session completely will be beneficial. If you feel amazing then go for gold. I would always encourage people to be self aware and act accordingly. Moving past this section you should be ready to exercise with intent.


Moving past the warm up


Stimulate- Add music if you feel it will be beneficial but become aware if you changing music the whole time/ spending too much time on your phone.


Timings- Actively use a timer for rest times. Its surprising how 60 seconds can end up 180 seconds when you aren’t aware. If you are short of time then limit sections of your workouts to time (e.g. strength section is 15 mins.) Be ruthless with the timings.


Rest with intent- actively try to recover. Focus on getting back down to nasal only breathing as quickly as possible. Think about the next set and any adjustments to make.


Exercise with intent- if you have moved past the warm up you should be exercising with intent. This means you focus is on moving the most effectively you can. Focus is on speed, engaging the right muscles, good form and movement.


Building out of a session


Slow the pace- Take 5 minuets to slow your breathing and pulse rate down. Slow cardio or mobility work can be useful here.


Transition- Become aware of how you feel and begin to think about post session recovery. Gently transition back into work/ the rest of your day.


If you have any questions feel free to get in touch-> Personal Trainer Hackney

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