When you walk into the gym, what’s your first course of action?
Do you head to a squat rack, or hop on the treadmill?
Maybe you are overcome by a feeling similar to when you enter a room and forget why you’re there in the first place.
What if I told you that preparation for a good workout starts before you even set foot in the gym?
It might sound complicated at first, but there is actually a simple, effective formula to writing your own workouts. It might look a little different for everyone, depending on goals and experience level, but this basic formula is a great place to start!
At the end of today’s post, I’ve provided a free download that outlines The bKYND Formula for a perfect workout - so that you can use it to create your own! Read on for a look at each step in more detail.
Setting Your Intention
Without a goal and a purpose, you are unlikely to ever achieve anything. This applies to your professional career, your personal life, and even the gym.
In a fitness setting, your intention could take on several different forms depending on your preference and the type of workout that you’re doing.
If you’re into weight training, your focus may be “back and shoulders” one day, and “legs” the next.
In the context of yoga, different focuses could be balance, flexibility, or recovery.
No matter the type of workout, choosing an intention will keep you focused and ensure a quality workout.
Your intention is the first part of the workout formula, because it will determine the types of exercises you include.
Before we move on, I want to dive a layer deeper. In addition to choosing a muscle group or specific skill for your workout, it is important to also choose a mental focus.
Your thoughts while working out may seem arbitrary, but in reality they can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of your workout. There needs to be a reason behind your decisions.
One strategy for narrowing down your mental focus is to choose a specific word to focus on for the day.
Are you doing yoga to relieve stress? Maybe your word should be Serenity.
Are you strength training to improve longevity and maintain independence as you age? Maybe Functionality.
Are you going on a run to achieve your dream of completing a marathon? Determination.
With a physical and mental intention set, the first part of the workout formula is complete. This step should happen before you even unroll your yoga mat, set foot in the gym, or lace up your shoes.
So what next?
Rather than diving head-first into your workout, it’s important to first dip a toe in and test the waters.
I’m referring to your warm-up.
The importance of a warm-up sequence is widely supported and should be implemented by people of all fitness levels. A few of the benefits include:
Lowering risk of injury
Facilitating blood flow
Preparing working muscles
Initiating mind-body connection
In short, a warm-up prepares both your mind and body. The specifics will depend on the details of your workout - including its duration, focus, and the types of exercises you plan on doing.
When it comes to duration, The basic rule of thumb is that the longer your workout is, the longer your warm-up should be. Simple enough, right?
If you’re preparing for an intense, hour-long weight training session, you should spend at least 15 minutes “getting in the zone” with bodyweight or light resistance exercises.
Half-hour workouts require about 10 minutes of mental and physical preparation, and if your workout is any shouter, aim for at least 5 minutes.
Even with short workouts, something is better than nothing when it comes to a warm-up, as long as you are intentional with the movements you incorporate.
If you’ve completed Step One of our formula, you already have a focus and a plan for what you’re going to accomplish within your workout. With this in mind, the movements in your warm-up should mirror the exercises that you’re planning to complete.
This is a key bit of criteria, as it will increase blood flow to the muscles you will be using and establish the mind-body connection that is key to a good workout.
If it’s leg day, start with some bodyweight squats to get the legs moving.
If you’re going for a run, incorporate dynamic movements to warm-up the lower body and slowly increase your heart rate.