10 Ways to Train Smarter, Not Harder

As much as you may want to go all in to your workout, remember the title of this Top 10: “Train Smarter, Not Harder.” What that means is finding the right training pace, frequency, and exercises that won’t overexert your body and mind but will instead help you achieve your short and long-term fitness goals. So, where do you go from here? What can you do to ensure you train smarter, not harder? Before your next workout or training session, consider these top 10 tips from Coach Andrea: 

  1. Build a solid (and functional) foundation.

In order to build this foundation, you have to be nice to your body. That means no benching the house with an unstable shoulder or lunging to London with bad knees. Pushing past your body’s limits may result in an injury and take you away from doing what you want to do most. Instead, keep in mind that you need to develop structural stability in your joints.

  1. Progress slowly.

While a Porsche can go 0 to 60mph in 2.2 seconds, you cannot! Whether you’re just getting back into physical activity or adding a new exercise to your routine, it’s important to find your pace, instead of treating fitness like a race.  Rushing to lift heavy weights, log miles of distance, or speed through a workout without a technique or fitness base can lead to injuries that can significantly impact your ability to reach your training goals.

  1. Perfect your technique. 

Anything worth doing is worth doing well, especially when it involves movement. Imagine a tennis player swinging off-balance or a weightlifter doing squats with bad form. The more athletes continue to repeat these poor techniques, eventually over time, they are bound to develop an injury. To nail down the technique, be patient, study the technique, and practice, practice, practice! 

  1. Let go of the EGO. 

There’s such a thing called healthy competition, which can help motivate you to be better in your workout or sport. When you start to experience competition getting in the way of your performance and mindset, it’s time to take a step back and let go of your ego. There’s nothing wrong with stepping away from a squat challenge if your body physically can’t lift enough to beat your opponent or not being able to lift at the same weight you could 20 years ago. Channel your energy back into your own training and focus on what you want to work on that’ll help make you feel more confident, powerful, and ultimately unstoppable. 

  1. Listen to your body. 

If something hurts, stop doing whatever is making it hurt and give yourself time to rest and recover. If it’s still hurting a few days later, you’ll want to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist or doctor. A personal trainer or coach can not diagnose the program unless he/she happens to be a doctor. 

  1. Don’t kill yourself working out.

High-intensity training is AWESOME and can give you great results, but remember it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. The same goes for lifting weights. It’s been ingrained into our brains that going hard is the best way to get “gainz,” but going to war against heavier weights, crazy timed circuits, or an over ambitious trainer when your body isn’t ready to take them on will only end up with the workout beating you as opposed to you setting new PR’s, being on top of the record board, or earning the treasured “I survived the workout” t-shirt.

  1. Avoid burn out. 

By now, you’re probably catching onto how moderation is key when it comes to working out. As stated, don’t push your body past its limits. Your body needs the energy to not only get through a workout but also to continue working out at your desired pace. Stretch, foam roll, and even take the dreaded ice bath/cold shower to assist in a speedy recovery from workouts.   Rest and recover when needed and your body will thank you for it…as well as be better prepared to smash your next training session!  

  1. Be sure to fuel and hydrate for your workouts.

Your car will not run without fuel and neither should you. Give your body what it needs, like the proper nutrition and hydration, when it needs it (timing it appropriately before and after a workout). Whether it’s timing your meals for maximal energy or to improve recovery, or making sure you have the right combination of sports drinks and supplements, proper nutrition and hydration can either supercharge your workout, accelerate the healing process, and support healthy lifestyle habits.

  1. Find balance. 

As you get into your fitness groove, you’ll notice some level of structure and routine fall into place. It’s incredibly key to create a schedule that works for your lifestyle both in and out of the training environment. There will be times when you have more room in your schedule for fitness and activity, but other times when you have to scale back…and still more when it’s impressive that you were able to get out of bed in the morning! You can make your health, fitness, and performance a priority, but sometimes you might need to multi-task your activity with a responsibility…like taking the dog out for a walk—every time they sniff then you do a set of exercises!  

  1. Ask for help!

The art of training smarter, not harder may be challenging to achieve on your own. Asking for help from someone like a sports performance coach or personal trainer may be beneficial as coaches and trainers have specific knowledge and understanding of fitness and can help you get into a healthy, helpful regime. 

Need assistance training smarter, not harder? Schedule a session with Coach Andrea from Athletic Evolution SPT by emailing her athleticevolutionspt@gmail.com.

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