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It is no secret that I love to workout. Today I’m sharing my best tips for workout success plus a free printable planner to use to track your fitness and food.
Best Tips for Workout Success
Working out started for me when I joined my mom for aerobics classes at our local elementary school as a teen.
Mama and I put on our leotards and tights with leg warmers and sweated to tunes of the 80s.
Our aerobics teacher took me to the Y to do weights and it was love at first lift. We weren’t doing free weights back then, we did Nautilus machines.
I started exercising with free weights at the beginning of 1992 and enjoy it as much now as I did back then.
After 28 years of seriously working out, I have some tips for workout success that have worked for me.
Tip One: Make a plan
Before your workout, decide what you plan to do and how long you plan to do it.
If you are walking, running, or biking, think about either the distance you want to accomplish or the time you want to spent doing your workout.
A plan makes it much easier to keep going knowing you have a certain distance or time goal.
If you are working out at a gym, plan out your workout before entering the gym. If you know what you want to accomplish, you’ll accomplish it.
For example, a plan might be:
- Cardio – 20 minutes on the treadmill
- Weights – 30 minutes: Back, biceps, quads, hamstring
- Core – 10 minutes: mat work
When I go to the gym, I keep in mind exactly what weight exercises I want to do for each body part that I want to train. I also plan out which machines I will use and which exercises I will do with free weights.
Remember what Benjamin Franklin said: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
Tip Two: Workout with a Partner
Back when I could still run, I met my running partner at 5:45 am to run before school. If you know that your partner is counting on you to show up, you’ll be there.
I found the same to be true with taking cycle class. My back no longer allows me to take cycle class but I used to do a class every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:00 am at the YMCA.
I rarely missed because I loved seeing my cycle class buddies and if I missed, the next class, my friends asked where I was.
Tip Three: Hire a Trainer or Attend a Class
I have had ongoing back trouble since 2011, but my back really started to give me big problems in 2017. I’ve found that a weekly PT visit keeps it in check enough to be able to walk, lift weights, and garden.
My PT’s husband is a trainer and I decided to start working with him in August of 2018. Heather and Ken work together to keep me going. Heather explained my back trouble to Ken and he designs workouts that include movements that are safe for me to do.
I lifted weights on my own for 27 years at the YMCA. I worked hard but I work even harder working with Ken. He has me do exercises that I wouldn’t think to do and if he tells me to do it, I do it. If I were alone at the gym, if I didn’t particularly like an exercise, I wouldn’t do it.
If you are interested in weight training but don’t know what to do, find a class. Most gyms have classes that incorporate weights. It’s great to attend a class where a teacher guides the workout and can monitor the class participants for proper form.
My cousin does Crossfit and loves it! She loves the variety of programming and the encouragement that she both gets and gives the others who workout with her.
Tip Four – Prep Workout Gear Ahead of Time
If your goal is to workout at a gym after work, pack your gym bag the night before and have it in your car. Stopping at the gym on the way home from work is a lot easier than going home with the plan to change and then head out to the gym.
When I was still teaching, almost every time that I went home after school with the intention of going to the gym later ended in not going at all.
If your plan is to workout in the morning before work, the night before, place your workout outfit, shoes, and water bottle in one spot, ready to go. The next morning, getting ready to workout requires no thought.
Tip Five – Time your Workouts
Timing a workout is particularly helpful when you workout at a gym. Why? Well, if you are anything like me, then part of the fun of going to the gym is to talk to people.
Talking to people is not working out, so I time my workouts with my sports watch. A cell phone can also do this. (More on cell phones in a bit.)
I start the timer when I start working out and if someone starts to talk to me, I stop the timer while the conversation is going on and then start it again when I pick back up with my workout.
Timing lets you know exactly how much time you are exercising. A 1.5 hour weight room session may only be an hour of actual exercise for me depending on who I run into.
If you are short on time, exercise while you talk! I do that a lot, too.
Tip Six – Stay off of your phone!
A phone can be a big distraction, so if I’m at the gym, I leave mine in my locker while I’m working out.
For safety and because I like to listen to podcasts, if I walk, I always take my phone but I don’t allow myself to scroll as I walk. If I scroll as I walk, I don’t walk as fast and I’m not paying attention to my surroundings.
I do play on my phone when I ride the stationary bike. I find the stationary bike incredibly boring and playing on my phone makes the cardio time go by quickly.
Tip Seven – Pack a Healthy Snack
When I go to the gym, I always pack a healthy snack to eat in the car on the way home.
I usually pack grapes or an apple and I’ve found that eating after my workout takes the edge off of my hunger and prevents me from eating everything in sight when I get home.
Tip Eight – Drink Water
Be sure to stay hydrated while working out and throughout the day.
My favorite water bottle is a CamelBak. I like the straw and flip top. For some reason, I’ll drink more water frommy CamelBak bottle than I will from a glass.
We won’t talk about how many of these bottles I’ve misplaced over the years.
Tip Nine – Wear a Cute Outfit
If you’re going to workout, you may as well look cute while you do it.
If you feel good about what you are wearing, you are likely to work out harder and longer.
Speaking of workout clothes, invest in quality and it will last for years. The top that I’m wearing is from my tennis days and is over ten years old and still is going strong.
Tip Ten – Log Your Workouts
I use this log book to keep a record of my workouts. In my attic, there’s probably at least 20 of these books from previous years.
Not only do I write down what exercises I did, I also write down any problems that I am having. If a body part is hurting, I make a note of it. If I end up with an injury, having a record of when it started is information that I need to know when seeking treatment.
Since I think it is super important to keep track of your fitness, I am sharing some printables that will help you do just that!
Free Printable Fitness Tracker
I’m sharing a free printable fitness and food tracker to help you keep track of workouts, food and water intake, and weight.
To get this free printable packet, sign up here and you’ll receive a welcome email with the password to my members only free printable library. The library includes this packet plus LOTS more free printables that you will enjoy.
If you are already a subscriber, the password is in the email that you received about this post.
I find it very motivating to write down my activity. I also don’t mind writing in Day Off because the human body needs rest days for muscles to recover.
I don’t keep a food diary but I think that it is a great idea to do so, particularly if you are trying to lose weight.
This page has a spot to record how many calories you’ve consumed each day and a chart to help you drink water. It is so important to drink water.
If you’re trying to lose or maintain your weight, use this page to keep track of your progress.
I used to write a Fitness Friday series where I shared exercises that I found to truly work.
These posts are old but the exercises are good ones and there are also videos in many of the posts to show you exactly how to do the exercise.
- Exercise for Thighs, Hamstrings, and Gluts – I have been doing this one since 1993!
- Planks and Plank Variations
- At Home Tricep Exercise
- Bridges to work Core, Glutes, Back, and Legs
- Inner Thigh
- Donkey Kicks – Glutes and Hamstrings
- Ab Roller – with Video
- Core – Up and Over
- Core with Ball
- Bosu with Bar – Core, Chest, Arms
- Adductor and Abductors
- Calf Stretches
- Ab Exercises
- Booty Lifter with Video
- Booty Lifter Part II with Video
- Core – with Video
- Kitchen Triceps – with Video
- Use Bands to Tone your Upper Booty – with Video
- Bridge and Curl – with Video
- Bosu Plank Push Up
- Bent over Rows – Upper Back – with Video
- Tone Your Gut – This has been pinned so many times!
- Firm Your Butt – This also has been pinned a lot!
Enjoy your free printable pages and happy exercising!