It happens to all of us. One minute you’re as motivated as anything to get training, rain or shine. Next minute, that couch is calling and nothing can seem to get you going.
So here are 9 top tips to get some enthusiasm back into your training...
1. Watch the clock
Give yourself a time budget. It's all too easy to spend time faffing about in the changing room, chatting or on drinks breaks.
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2. Skip the machines
Whilst machines are often an easy option requiring little thinking and often less effort, free weights are best to work more of the body in a short amount of time. Free weights give you an efficient workout.
While exercise machines do make resistance training user-friendly, free weights are your best bet if you want an extra-intense session. Without the help of a machine, you'll engage more stabilising muscles during each rep and work your body way harder. The same goes for bodyweight exercises, which can be more effective at strengthening the core than workouts done on machines.
Roll outs – one of the toughest abdominal exercises. Ensure you don’t let your back drop into too much lordosis - begin by only rolling out to the point you can keep good form and build up to the complete movement.
Handstand Press Ups - The ultimate test of strength. A great progression from a floor press up and a military press.
3. Hold your pose
Mix up different muscle contractions within your workout. Contracting a muscle and holding it in a flexed position (a.k.a. isometric exercise or static holds) provides strength and endurance benefits that can't be achieved through traditional isotonic exercises (i.e. lifts that are in constant motion).
Isometric training is also very useful to overcome strength training plateaus. Hold the load at the sticking point of your lift to develop greater strength in that point and watch your strength levels rocket.
4. Train one side at a time
Too often we are creatures of habit and stick to doing simple bilateral exercises such as squats, bench or deadlifts.
Performing unilateral exercises that force each arm or leg to work independently (think: pistol squats or single-arm push-ups) ensures no one side is compensating for weak areas and is a useful way to mix up strength training.
Struggling with single leg squats? Try this easy regression to build up your strength. Gradually lower the box height week upon week. Try 30 seconds on each leg, for 4 rounds.
5. Add resistance
There's a lot of debate about whether lifting heavy weights or light weights is more effective.
The most recent research suggests they're equally effective, so long as you're working your muscles to exhaustion. But you'll exhaust your muscles sooner with heavy weights (maybe after 10 reps instead of the 25 or so with lighter weights), and harder work in less time means maximum intensity.
6. Build a circuit
Quickly moving from one exercise right into the next is a great way to create a time-efficient, workout. Exercises can be mixed up using lower and upper body exercises.
Keep rests short to give a metabolic blast or use longer rests to challenge strength levels. Plan your circuit before you begin using our collection of circuit inspo to ensure you aren't thinking as you go and giving yourself extra rest periods!
All you need for this leg circuit is an empty room! This is a great leg circuit which can be used any time, any place, to target glutes, quads and hammys.
Mix up your conditioning with this dumbbell complex. Aim to complete this circuit for 4 rounds of 30 seconds.
Try a barbell complex to build up muscle endurance and as a great variation to your conditioning.
7. Get explosive
Using power training can be a useful addition to your training to maximise muscle recruitment and use a greater number of muscle fibres.
Explosive movements like box jumps, plyometric push ups, kettlebell swings not only give more variety to your sessions, but enhance your athleticism, and build muscle creating a calorie burning furnace. Power training targets fast twitch muscle fibres meaning a stronger, more powerful you.
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) burns a maximum amount of calories in a minimum amount of time. Try this circuit, performing each move for 30 second blasts, aiming to complete as many contacts with the bench or box as you can in that time.
Smash this strength based, Kettlebell circuit and feel the burn. Remember you can use a heavier kettlebell weight for the first 3 exercises and switch to a slightly lighter weight for the single arm exercise.
8. Find a partner
Having a training partner gives your immediate accountability.
People who have an exercise partner are more likely to sustain training than those training alone. Plus, it's way more fun.
Gym Buddy Core Circuit feat. Life By Equipe Co-founder, Harry Fisher & Performance Tennis Coach, Conor Macdonald - Gym buddies for life!!
9. Record everything
Keeping a training log has been shown to give people more consistency in the amount of sessions completed than those who don't record anything.
You can extend this further and even keep track of the food and drink you are consuming to maximise your overall wellbeing. Often people are shocked how much they are snacking or how much sugar they are consuming, but seeing it written down give you no where to hide, and somewhere to improve from.