Whatever level you are at, there is almost always a way to make your training practice more efficient, especially if you are a beginner or intermediate athlete.

In this post, I am going to share some of the things you can do to increase the effectiveness of your workouts.

#1. Have a Plan

workout plan

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” ~ Benjamin Franklin

I learned this the hard way, by spending lots of time practicing randomly without achieving any results. Even an inefficient plan is better than no plan at all.

Make a plan for yourself or have a professional to design one for you.

Designing a good plan by yourself requires some studying and experimentation until you really get it. You can check at the Resources’ page for some of the books and sites that helped me so far.

Make sure to include a warm up and cool down in your plan.

#2. Be Focused And Stay Consistent

There are two more factors that should be addressed in regards to your training plan.

Firstly, it should be focused towards some specific goals (3-4) that don’t “contradict” each other, like training for a marathon and double bodyweight squat at the same time. By doing this, you will be able to achieve the results you want faster. It can also help you determine the effectiveness of your plan by seeing if it actually leads you towards your goals.

Secondly, you should be consistent and focused on that plan for at least 12 weeks. If you change your plan every now and then, you will probably not achieve the results you are after. Of course, you can make small adjustments to your plan (the paper is not the same as real life), but the main structure should stay in place. You can proceed to a complete change of plans, only if you are sure that it is not leading you towards your goals.

#3. Take Care of your Lifestyle

Your training isn’t isolated from other areas of your life. Your overall lifestyle affects your training efficiency in a big way. If you want to achieve the fastest results, your lifestyle should support your training. For example, if you don’t sleep enough at nights, your performance is going to be hindered.

Start taking care of each aspect of your lifestyle one by one and you are going to see a big difference in your gains. Such factors are nutrition, sleep, smoking, stress, etc.

#4. Have A Training Buddy

This is a big one, especially if your friend is more advanced in a specific area you would like to improve on. Even if he isn’t more advanced he can still help you by adding a sense of competition to the training.

Furthermore, your friend can give you outside feedback on your form and serve you as a spotter, help you stay accountable and motivated and keep you on track in your general lifestyle as well.

#5. Use A Timer

Workout Timer

This might seem like an obvious one, but in the beginning, I had no timer and I started using a timer for static holds just recently.

This will help you take care of your rest periods and the static positions training. Some people count inwardly during the static training (like I did), but this will not help you much over the long term because you will tend to count faster while dealing with stress. Furthermore, this will help you keep your breaks as long as you wish, without them being too short to recover or too long to stay warm.

Most of the times, I use the stopwatch and timer of my phone, but this is not enough if you are doing interval circuits (like Tabata). I use this Interval Timer for interval circuits and this for Tabata.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

~ Nick


Photo: Adrian Fallace, PlanningTimer