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Exercise - Quality vs Quantity?

The 3 most common myths I hear from my years of coaching women is:

1) My workout/exercise has to be at least an hour or it doesn’t count.

2) Sweating is a sign of a great workout.

3) I should feel some muscle soreness after my workout (if not my workout wasn’t hard enough/effective).

The quality or effectiveness of your workout is not measured by the time you spend exercising, your level of sweat stains, or the inability to lift your arms to blow dry your hair!

Why do we often think this way? Probably because we feel we have accomplished something by exercising for a longer period. We feel good when we sweat, and being sore makes us feel like the exercise is ‘working.’

But what really matters?

Working hard or hardly working?

The quality of your workout is much more important than the quantity of your workout. Are you able to push yourself to lift heavier? Have you progressed from knee push-up to a full push-up? Has your form improved with your squats? Can you get through 3 sets of lunges without being too winded? Are you seeing results in your strength gains, endurance levels, or body composition changes?

Chances are if you are doing 18 different exercises and trying to fit in a 20-minute cardio session all within one workout you aren’t going to have the energy to push yourself with each lift.

Sweat Equity?

The amount you sweat is not directly related to the effectiveness of your workout. So many factors can affect how much we sweat. Sweating is the body’s response to cool our body as our temperature increases. BUT it will depend on:

  • Your genetics (some people are ‘sweaters’ in any environment)

  • The temperature & humidity level of your exercise environment

  • The clothing you are wearing

  • Your anxiety level; your hormones

  • Your time of the month

So don’t get sucked into thinking sweaty = good workout.

No pain no gain?

Muscle soreness? I personally don’t want to dread sitting on the toilet after every leg day or wonder if I can get away without washing my hair after a challenging upper body workout. Being sore after a workout does not = an effective workout. IF you are sore after your workout it can be due to:

  • You are a new to strength training

  • You have tried a new exercise

  • You are coming back to exercise after a bit of a hiatus (this could be only a couple of weeks).

  • You have changed up your training. This might mean you have increased your volume, increased the amount of weight you are lifting, decreased your rest days, changed the tempo of your lifts OR are focusing on the eccentric (lowering) phase of the exercise.

  • You are not recovering well. If you are finding you are sore after every workout and you don’t fall into the above situations, then you have to look at what you are doing for recovery between workouts. Are you over-exercising? Are you getting enough rest days? Are you eating well? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you managing your stress levels? Take a good look & figure out what you can change in order to allow yourself enough recovery.

Let's put these myths to bed and train smarter!

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