I spent this weekend Getting Out There and promoting my business at the Lakeshore Mardi Gras.
It was a great event. Lots of people, food, rides and live music.
One of the questions I got asked was from a women who has just started exercising and wanted to know how she would determine if she was doing it correctly.
What a perfect topic for a blog post, I thought. So here is my answer.
I have said it before and I will say it again, if you are new to exercise (or just coming back from hiatus), one of the best things to can do is invest in a few sessions with a personal trainer. This way you can ensure that your form and technique are correct. You will also get tailored exercises and activities that are in line with you goals.
If you workout at a gym, many of them offer a complimentary orientation to the equipment and get you set up and started on a program, so take advantage of it.
After you have the basics and you are out on your own, here a few things to think about:
- Technique. You shouldn't feel any discomfort or pain while exercising. If you do, stop and adjust your form or weight load. Use a mirror to make sure you are following all the tips you have been taught. This leads me to the next point...
- When in doubt. Leave it out. If any particular exercise is to0 challenging or uncomfortable, try to replace it with another exercise that works the same muscle group. For example, if you are finding that your back hurts while doing and overhead triceps extension, try a kickback instead.
- Intensity. Make sure that you are exercising hard enough. While you don't want to feel any pain, you do want to feel the effects of the workout. A simple gauge is the Rate of Perceived Exertion. One a scale of 1-10, how do you feel? Aim for a 7-9.
- Breathing. Make sure that you do it! You would be surprised how many people hold their breathe while exercising. A general rule of thumb is to exhale during the positive part of the exercise (ex. pushing up into a chest press) and inhale during the negative (ex. lowering the weights down to the chest.)
- Results. Are you seeing changes in you body? Do you feel better? Have more energy? Now, results are not not the be all and end of of determining whether or not you are working out correctly. You could see results by doing many of the wrong things (like over training), but it does play a role and should be mentioned.
How do you know that you are working out correctly?