When we commit to a structured weekly fitness program like Namastay Sweaty Club, we want to achieve optimal results. If you have ever worked out with me, you have heard me mention "mind to muscle connection" & it's importance while completing exercises because it's simply not enough to just do the action. As a fitness trainer, yoga teacher & 8 years into my own personal fitness journey, I have narrowed down what I believe are the 4 fundamentals of an effective workout. Each of these fundamentals plays an integral role in maximizing the efficacy of your fitness routine, fostering not just physical strength but also endurance and overall well-being. By honing your form to ensure precision and safety, activating targeted muscle groups for heightened engagement, syncing breath with movement for enhanced focus and stamina, and optimizing weight selection for progressive challenge, you really maximize the way you workout & get the most from each experience.
Join me on a journey to deeper understanding into these essential elements, unlocking the potential for transformative fitness.
FORM — Proper physical form of an exercise is pinnacle to ensure we avoid injury (chronic poor form can cause strain and increase chances of injury) but great form can also promote optimal activation of the targeted muscle. Conquering form during exercise ensures the correct alignment and execution of movements & maintaining proper form minimizes the risk of injury by distributing stress evenly across muscles and joints, preventing undue strain on specific parts of the body. When we utilize correct form, it enhances the effectiveness of the exercise and promotes better results over time. It allows you to build strength, endurance, and flexibility more efficiently while fostering a deeper mind-body connection, leading to improved overall performance and reduced chances of injury (setbacks & time off) due to incorrect anatomy. To see video demos of commonly mistaken exercises, check out our FORM Workshop here.
ACTIVATION — Exercise is SO much more than the point A to B of movement. Muscle engagement & activation is key in whether you’ll have an effective workout or not. Rather than relying on the structure of your body to do the work, we want to mindfully use the muscles to do the work for this is how we are going to optimize our body composition (growing muscle!) It's so crucial to start slow & with low weights if never strength or resistance trained before so that you can feel the targeted muscles are being properly recruited and utilized. Activating specific muscles during workouts not only enhances the effectiveness of the exercise but also prevents compensation by other muscle groups/structures of the body, reducing the risk of instability & injury. By consciously engaging the intended muscles, you can maximize your strength gains, improve muscle tone, and develop better control over movements. This focused activation fosters enhanced mind to muscle connection, facilitating better coordination and overall performance during workouts, ultimately leading to more significant progress and functional strength gains.
WEIGHT — Using appropriate resistance means finding the right balance between enough weight to challenge the muscles while not sacrificing form or muscle engagement AKA not too light, not too heavy. In the past, it was assumed by many that women need not lift heavy weights but it's wonderful to see this old thought process dying out and women challenging themselves with weight higher than 10lb dumbbells. The reason for this is because in order to optimize body composition (burn fat, build muscle) -- the muscles needs to be challenged inorder to grow. This also means that your appropriate resistance is going to be constantly changing (increasing) as your strength builds. I can't stress enough how important it is to have mu.tiple sets of dumbbells available because each muscle group (& possible each exercise) your optimal weight will be different & everchanging which is so key to stimulate muscle growth. The appropriate amount of weight will help you maintain proper form and technique throughout the exercises, reducing the likelihood of your body taking the path of least resistance & compensating where you don't want it to. The right weight selection will allow for progressive overload, a key principle in fitness, enabling gradual increases in intensity to continually challenge muscles and drive continued improvements in strength, endurance, and overall fitness levels.
BREATH — I like to think of it like this: Your breath is the fuel, your body is the tool. Our breath can either HELP us or hurt us during a workout. If we aren't utilizing our breath properly, it can actually negatively impact our endurance, quality & efforts while working out WHICH MEANS using our breath the right way can improve our endurance, quality & efforts. So many of us hold our breath during challenging lifts which is like cutting off your body’s air supply (and only the dead don’t breath). Moving oxygen through the body while working out can actually assist in stabilizing the core and maintaining proper form during movements. Syncing breath with movement also promotes focus, enhances concentration, and regulates exertion levels, allowing individuals to sustain intensity and optimize their workout performance. Consistent controlled breathing support the body in managing stress, optimizing recovery, and maximizing the efficiency of workouts.
As you can now see, these 4 fundamentals all work together to help you achieve a truly optimal & effective workout. As an online fitness trainer & yoga teacher, it's not only my goal to get to enjoy your workouts but also to teach you HOW to have a better workout. For more indepth information on how proper form can maximize your progress & video demos on very commonly mistaken exercises, please check out our Form Workshop here. If you'd like to check out our weekly fitness program, Namastay Sweaty Club, you can do so with a FREE 7 day trial here.