Is your workout routine getting you results? If the answer is no, maybe it’s time to evaluate how and what you’re doing in the gym. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference. You can hit the gym, sweating on the cardio machines and doing endless squats to build a better butt until your quads and glutes are screaming, BUT is your form flawless? Is your focus on point? And are you remembering to breathe? If you answered no to any of these questions, it’s time for a reset to get you the body transformation results you’re seeking.
Strength training is a not just for meatheads—especially when it comes to sculpting results in all the right places. It’s a precise practice. Even the smallest tweaks—like a properly placed inhale—can totally change the results you're getting. Whether you want to build strength, improve muscle tone, or torch calories, these tiny changes will make a huge difference.
Form is infinitely more important than picking up a heavier weight. Pick an easy weight at first and get the form right, then go up in weight from there. If you’re unsure of what to do, hire a personal trainer for a limited number of sessions to help you refine your form. How to hire the right trainer? Watch them in the gym with their other clients to see if they are paying attention to their client, and focusing on form first and always.
Engage. Activate and engage your muscles beginning first and always with your core before you begin every move. Stabilize and engage your core first and always. Remember that what's not moving is just as important—and sometimes more important—as what is moving, so be mindful of your core and other stabilizers throughout every exercise to keep the movement as functional and healthy as possible. Always start your leg workout with activation exercises like clamshells and bridges. These will help activate your glutes while improving your strength and efficiency. Activate upper body exercises by pulling and keeping your shoulders down, then slightly in back together.
Multitask. Try to incorporate compound movements for more efficiency, like combining a single-leg deadlift with a biceps curl to challenge the glutes, hamstrings, core, and biceps while also improving your balance. For body weight training, try a squat to side plank demonstrated by American Fitness Couture Fitness Influencer Breann Mitchell wearing our Capri Bootylicious Shapewear Legging, Chambray Get Shredded Tank, and Gunmetal DTLA Strappy Back Sports Bra.
Go the distance. It's important to strengthen through a joint's full range of motion. For example, when doing pushups, try to start in the 'up' position with a slight bend in your elbows and make the 'down' position have your upper arm parallel to the floor.
Pump Rubber. Substitute weights for resistance bands during your next workout. Resistance bands provide constant tension in your muscles to help isolate and tone your muscles. The Core Transformer is an excellent total body “weight” training resistance tube that automatically trains your entire body. It’s the perfect addition to your Fitness Tool Box.
Mix it up. Doing the same weight lifting/cardio routine every day will lead to boredom and your body quickly reaching a plateau. Changing up your workout routine will give you better results. It’s called Muscle Confusion, causing your body to burn the most calories and grow the leanest muscles. Alternate cardio and strength training days, upper body, lower body/core, try taking different group fitness classes offered by your gym or yoga or barre.
Just breath. Connecting your breathing to your movement is key to a great workout, and will lower stress level in life. A good general rule is to exhale on the 'work,' so in an overhead shoulder press, for example, the exhale would happen as you extend the arms overhead and inhale as you bend your elbow back down.
Mirror, mirror on the wall. Work with the mirror. Knowledge is power, so watching how you're moving is incredibly important. Hey, you don't need the trained eyes of a professional to see if your knees are falling inward on your squat or your shoulders are way up in your ears in an overhead press—you just need a good mirror!
No pain, no pain. Know the difference between discomfort and difficulty versus pain. Exercises should be difficult, not painful. If you're feeling pain, have someone check your form or decrease the weights. If the pain persists after your workout, back off and make an appointment with your doctor to get checked out.
Make a Plan. Pick a plan and stick with it, because like the expression goes, “Fail to plan, plan to fail”. There are hundreds of plans out there—pick one and try it for six weeks. Then if you get bored or want something new, find a new plan and repeat. It will keep your mind, body and spirit best involved, motivated and fresh.