How To Exercise Smarter, Not Harder

by Danny Cullen
The truth is, those who are in the best shape exercise smarter, not harder. When you push yourself too far, you erode progress, while leaving yourself open to injury and burnout. Like everything else in life, fitness is a balancing act. Here are some quick rules to help you maximize your efforts:

Your current workouts shouldn’t stop you from future workouts.

If you find yourself too sore, too tired, or exhausted to workout after a particular day, then you overdid it. You should plan your workouts in advance, so keep in mind how hard you should push it on leg day, especially if you know you’ve got a full-body two days later.

Aim for an intensity that is challenging, yet reasonable.

If you were to scale your intensity, you’d want to operate at about 60-70 percent in terms of effort. This means that you’re pushing your body to the point where you’ll see results, but you’re not overexerting yourself to a state of exhaustion. This is the golden mean that will not only stop you from getting burned out, but that will also leave you with enough juice for your upcoming workouts.
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Be especially mindful of your high-intensity workouts.

High-intensity workouts are scientifically proven to improve your general fitness, but they are not the answer for everything. Like all workouts (and like everything in your life), you should proceed mindfully. They should be short and sweet, as to avoid burnout. The beauty of high-intensity training is that you can get a full workout done in a short amount of time. Take advantage of that and make sure you’re not pushing yourself too far. Listen to your body.
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Rest! (Yes, you need to rest!)

Rest days are absolutely pivotal to maintain a healthy, balanced, fit lifestyle. Exercise is literally the process of tearing down your muscles, so that your body can build stronger ones in their place. Without days of adequate rest between workouts, your body does not have time to repair itself, essentially negating the workout in the first place.

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