While I was training the other day I watched a girl schlep through the gym. She carried a fit journal, a heart rate monitor, a smart phone, headphones, a jug of water, and a shaker cup filled with some kind of red liquid. She was also wearing a waist trainer outside of her clothing. She’d get on a machine and do a set, then immediately write in her journal, check her heart rate, and look through her phone. After about 5 minutes, she’d complete another set. In the 45 minutes that I was there, she had done more work carrying her belongings than actually training. Many more gym-goers walk around with a similar set up and they wonder why they’re not seeing results.
There are hundreds of thousands of apps, training programs, and gym accessories. But, how much of this stuff do we really need? Athletes of all disciplines tend to eliminate distractions and fluff when they train. They are working towards a specific purpose, which I think makes it easier to simplify.
What are you training for? Give your goals a name – training tends to fall into place when you can objectify a goal. Choose one workout plan and stick to it for 3-4 weeks. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and scattered when you’re doing a variety of different plans.
Make sure your goals align with your lifestyle. For most, training is a hobby. This means it should be enjoyable and rewarding. Don’t like cardio? Incorporate more circuits, HIIT, or conditioning into your workouts. Don’t like lifting heavy weights? Change your workouts to incorporate more body weight movements, and keep the rest to a minimum.
Make sure your goals align with each other. I have talked with countless people who are training for a half marathon or marathon, and they want to gain muscle. It’s not going to happen at the same time. At best, you’ll be marginally successful at both. At worst, you’ll end up over training or injured. You may also be unhappy with your physique. If you’re currently working towards opposing goals – choose one for now. You’ll ace your race, and then be able to add muscle afterwards!
What about gym accouterments? What do you really need? If something truly helps you train, use it! A journal can be great, especially when you’re just starting out. I think it’s important to keep track of your exercises, but you should get to a point where you know how much weight you can do on major lifts. The heart rate monitor can be effective for HIIT training, but you can also use a stop watch and count your heart beats (count for 6 seconds and multiply by 10). If an app or accessory prevents you from training with intensity, your results will be hindered. The same goes for recovery between sets. I think weight belts can be useful for heavy lifts, but waist trainers are just unhealthy and dangerous!
What accessories do you currently train with? Are they helping you reach your goals? One of my favorite training aids is supplementing with BetaTOR. It helps me train with more intensity, especially towards the end of the workout!
Thanks for reading! Until next time, train hard, y’all!
- Erin Stern, 2x Ms. Figure Olympia