How I’ve Changed My Workout Since Studying for the NASM CPT
I have changed a lot about how I workout since I started studying and training to become a personal trainer. Before November of last year, my workouts were pretty unfocused, inconsistent, and weak. I only worked out about 3 times a week, and I was not a fan of cardio. I just did weights for about 30-45 minutes per session, but without a proper split of muscle groups or focus on keeping my heart rate up.
Here are some things that have really helped me to make strides in my training:
- Heart Rate Monitor – this is how I track how many calories I’m burning (or how hard and long I’m working out). I wear it and turn it on for all workouts – cardio and strength training. I try and stay within my target zone during the entire session. I can achieve this by doing supersets and circuit training. Also, between sets, I’ll choose to walk around the gym a bit, or pace, just to keep my heart rate in the zone.
- Cardio, Cardio, Cardio! I now do cardio interval training at least 3 times a week. I do 10 minutes of cardio before each strength training session, and try and do 10 minutes afterwards as well. On days that are just cardio days, I do 30-45 minutes. I will vary machines – treadmill, elliptical, stairclimber, or even the recumbent bike if I’m not feeling particularly energetic. As for the interval part, I find it easiest to use songs as my intervals. I’ll stay at about 65-75% of my target HR zone for one song, then 76 – 85% for the second song, then 86 – 95% for the third song. Then I’ll start all over again.
- My Fitness Pal – I track everything I eat. And, I mean everything. I also log all my workouts. I will maintain a calorie deficit until I reach my goal weight.
- Argus App – I track my steps through this app on my phone (if I remember to keep my phone on my person most of the time) just to get an idea of how active I am over the course of the day. My goal is 10,000 steps, no matter what my workout is. If I see that my steps are low, I’ll take my daughter on a walk to the park, or do a bunch of chores around the house that require me to go upstairs and downstairs. If I need to study on my computer, instead of sitting, I’ll stand at the kitchen island and step back and forth while studying. Anything to keep active instead of sedentary.
- Circuit Training and Supersets – Instead of letting my heart rate get back down to a resting rate between sets, I’ll do supersets or circuit train.
- Split-Routine Training – This means I split up muscle groups throughout the week. I’m toying around with this at the moment, so I’ll dedicate a whole post to the type of split-routine I follow very soon.
- New Equipment – I try at least one new machine, exercise, or piece of equipment each week. I have to know how to use everything in the gym eventually, so I try and branch out and look for knew things to do.
- Number of Workout Days – I now exercise at least 6 days a week – 3-4 strength training and 3 cardio interval.