How to Keep Seeing Progress from Your Workouts

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Question: I have been working out for three months now without really seeing much improvement except during the first month. What do I need to do to accelerate my results from the efforts I am putting into my training?
Answer: Two really important factors come to mind and you brought one of those up, effort or intensity. The other is variety and it doesn’t need to be a completely different workout. It can simply mean to vary your reps over a three week progression. The term is Periodization but it means to change reps or exercises about every three weeks in a 12 week rotational cycle.
Progressive weight resistance training is the term for increasing your intensity with each workout, not coasting, but being uncomfortable during your training. To more clearly state it means to be out of breath at times; to feel a burning sensation in the muscles being worked; to have your heart racing at times during your workout. To feel fatigued after training, refreshed but physically fatigued. This is accomplished mentally before it is accomplished physically. You have to take a few minutes as you begin your workout to prepare your mind to go as far as you can. You have to accept the challenge and as the blood flows and your heart-rate rises you begin to feel ready to work. Mental intensity to accept the daily challenge of training is to know where you want to go, so, you need to have a clearly defined goal and stepping stone goals to reach it.
Most people do three sets of 10 to 15 reps for 2 to 3 sets per exercise and that’s fine as long as that changes after three weeks. You can even use the same exercises but for the second three weeks do four sets per exercise doing 5 reps per set. This means increasing the weight to a point that you are only capable of doing those five reps with the potential for only one or two more. The next three week period do 3 sets of 8 for your exercises so you’ll decrease the weight by 10% to 15% and get a bigger burn in your muscles. The last three week period it’s heavy again so you will do 4 sets of 4 reps. Then, you start the cycle all over with greater weight than you were using the first three week period for 3 sets of 10 on each exercise.
As stated earlier, clearly defined goals are very important to having the vision to push yourself to reach a higher level. Otherwise, you typically fall into the trap of fooling yourself that you are accomplishing something simply by showing up in the gym. The discomfort you experience from exercise will quickly pass and the satisfaction and confidence you accumulate by those short term successes will multiply and spill over into other aspects of your life making you more successful with a variety of things you face if you apply the lessons and discipline to them that you apply in the gym. These lessons are invaluable for both kids and adults and have to be relearned over and over.
God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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