Average vs. Awesome: How Small Changes to Your Routine Can Make Big Differences


How many people do you know that work out to some degree?  How many people look like the picture above?  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess, not many.  Truth is, developing a lean, fit, and healthy body like the one you see here, isn’t hard.  Having the know-how to achieve your goal, add in a little determination and ANYONE can look and feel great.  We’ll leave the willpower talk for another article, because right now, we’re going to make sure you have the know-how required to turn your average workout into a body-changing routine that is guaranteed to produce results.

Below, we’re going to look at some common forms of exercise, many of which you probably already do on your own.  We’re going to look at what your average person (who looks average) is doing, then we’re going to look at what the sexy, fit, and healthy people are doing.  Often times the changes are so small, you’ll be kicking yourself you didn’t think of this before.  You’ve got to instill it in your head; if you want to look and feel awesome, you’ve got to do a workout that is awesome.  If you want to look and feel like your everyday person, then do the same workout the everyday person does.  It’s that simple.

Treadmill Cardio

Really, any form of cardio could substitute for treadmill here. whether it’s the elliptical, or stationary bike, or row machine.  When you walk into any gym what do you normally see?  A string of (mostly) girls jogging along on their treadmills.  They’ll set the pace at a single speed, flip open their US Weekly magazine, read all about the latest celebrity diets, watch the clock, then hop off 30-60 minutes later.  Mentally, they feel they’ve done something great, which is why they are okay sticking to this lame routine, day in, day out. Think again.

How to make it an AWESOME workout: Put the magazine down.  Brangelina can wait.  Forget running at the same speed the entire time you’re on the treadmill.  To double or even triple the benefits here, incorporate HIIT training into your workout.  HIIT involves short bursts of all out sprints, followed by longer periods of reduced intensity.  Next time you’re at the gym, try something like this: Run at 5 mph for 1:30, followed by :30 sprint at 10mph, followed by 5mph at 1:30, followed by :30 at 10mph, etc.  As your ability progresses, increase your sprint times, speeds, and shorten rest periods to keep your body guessing and the progress a’comin.  

Free Weights

Maybe you’re a girl and you think the simple fact you’re in the free weight section with all the guys is enough to make you feel good about your workout.  Or perhaps you’re one of the dudes in there pumping iron, doing what all the other bro’s are doing, and think it’s gotta work for you too.  Get real.  When people hit the weights they’ll do the standard 8-10 reps, sit around, look at themselves, check out the chicks in the really tight yoga pants, fix their hair, do whatever they do for 90+ seconds.  Then they’ll jump back into it and repeat this process over and over.  You want to get toned, lean, and looking fabulous?  Turn the standard weight training routine on its head.

How to make it an AWESOME workout:  Mixing up your weight training routine every 4-6 weeks is key to continue making gains.  If you’re taking those long rest periods between every set, every single time you workout, you’re doing it wrong.  Try this: superset compound movements together, or string  2, 3, or even 4 isolation exercises together to create a killer combo.  Not only will this shred your muscles up in no time, it will increase your metabolism and fat burning potential, helping you achieve that lean and toned look even faster.  Some examples that will burn those muscles out include:

  • 10 Wide-grip pullups followed by 20 pushups followed by 30 crunches THEN rest 60 seconds before repeating
  • 10 Bent over barbell rows followed by 10 dumbbell bench presses THEN rest 60 seconds
  • 15 Behind the neck lat pulldowns, followed by 12 barbell curls, followed by 12 single arm dumbbell rows.  Rest and repeat combo 2-3 more times.

Workout Schedule

So you think you’ve got yourself a pretty solid plan as it is.  On Mondays you do weights, on Tuesdays you do cardio, on Wednesdays you rest.  You repeat this cycle endlessly.  Your routine becomes monotonous and predictable.  Unfortunately, your body is very well adapted at recognizing this repetition and will eventually respond less to the work you are doing.  What this means is, diminished gains the longer you do the same routine and/or schedule. 

How to make your workout AWESOME:  If you’ve been doing a split schedule for a while, where you’re doing cardio one day and weights the next, try mixing it up.  Including cardio into weight training days is a sure-fire way to jack your metabolism through the roof.  Your body is going to be shocked by the sudden deviation from your standard routine and won’t know how to react.  Expect soreness, increased muscle mass, and lower body fat in the days, weeks, and months ahead.  After doing 3-4 weight training exercises, grab a jump rope and do 15 minutes of HIIT training.  Or hop on the stationary bike and bike 5 miles as fast as you can.  Then, return to the weights.  A ratio of 3-4 weight exercises followed by 10-15 minutes of extreme cardio has been shown to produce better results than constantly separating the two on different days.  Work this type of exercise into the rest of your routine 1-2 days a week. 

Machines

Let me first say, machines are not bad.  They can actually be quite useful when worked into a well-designed fitness plan.  However, if you are like most girls I see at the gym, they are about as far as you’ll venture from the safety of the cardio equipment, for fear of being ogled by hoards of sweaty meatheads.  I’ll save my schtick on why you shouldn’t care what these meatheads are looking at for another day.  Today, I’m going to give you something to supplement the machine work that is sure to double the effects of your workout.

How to make your workout AWESOME: Fine, you’re still not ready for the free weight section, so you’re going to stick to the machines.  Well, there’s something you can do, that requires little equipment and just a bit of spare room, that will really push your body to the max.  That something is plyometrics.  Studies have shown that when plyometrics are combined with a weight training plan, the resulting workout is more effective than either on its own.  Basically, plyometrics give you a natural boost to get you closer to developing that killer physique.  After every couple exercises on the machines, try out some of these movements below. 

The moral of the story is you need to push the envelope if you want to continue making gains and getting closer to the body and health you’ve always wanted.  Doing what everyone else is doing isn’t going to get it done.  Next time you’re at the gym, take a good look at everyone else.  They’re average.  Don’t set your sights for average.  Shooting for average leads to diminished gains, exercise burnout, and an endless cycle of chasing something  that just always seems just out of reach. Stop the chase today and start making real progress.  Give yourself an AWESOME workout and AWESOME results will follow.

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