How To Make Your Workout More Effective

Kayla Itsines

May 30, 2021

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I know how hard it can be to fit a workout into a busy schedule. Between school, work and family, sometimes it can be hard to find the time to focus on you, and I’m sure we can all agree that when we DO get a workout in, we want to make the most of it!

There are always going to be those sessions where we just don’t feel our best. Whether that’s because of low energy levels, needing more rest, or not being able to finish a workout, it’s easy to be left feeling like we shouldn't have even bothered.

Before you get down on yourself, it’s important to give yourself a pat on the back for moving your body and whatever it took you to do it - it’s not always easy. Yes, it may not have been your best workout, but it is much better than if you hadn't done anything at all! 

Every workout is going to feel different, and you might even notice changes in your energy depending on which stage of your menstrual cycle you’re in, so it’s important to remember these ups and downs are normal. 

In saying that, it’s common to wonder how to improve your workout or how to make it more effective - on your best days AND your worst.

How can you improve your workouts?

Here are my best tips for how to get the most out of your workouts so you can finish each session feeling accomplished. Following these may not only help improve your workouts, but also help you feel stronger, fitter and more confident.

1. Play music you love

This tip is seriously one of my favourites and it’s such an easy way to transform your training session! Working out in silence does absolutely nothing for me, so I ALWAYS have my headphones on and a workout playlist ready to go. It’s really important you pick music you like that makes you want to work HARD! I don’t know about you, but certain songs definitely help me to bust out another few reps and can inspire me to keep going. Everyone’s music tastes are different, but I would encourage you to remove any slow or sad songs that aren't going to motivate you during your workout. 

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2. Watch your form

I often say this to women in the Sweat with Kayla Community and my clients. QUALITY is so much more important than quantity. When you exercise, it’s important that you maintain good form. This will ensure you're engaging and strengthening the right muscles while reducing your risk of injury. Focusing on getting the basics right is also essential if you want to increase your intensity with heavier weights or a faster pace. 

I know it can be hard to know whether you're completing an exercise correctly or not, especially if you’re new to working out. If this is you, and you work out from home, my programs in the Sweat app have instructional videos that show you how to complete each exercise correctly. 

If you work out in a gym, you can follow these videos or ask the gym staff for help as they should be able to give you a few pointers. Remember that form is something that every single person struggles with so there’s no need to feel embarrassed. Asking how to do an exercise is much better than running the risk of an injury!

Using a mirror is also a good idea if you’re working out in the gym or at home as it allows you to see your body in motion and make corrections as you need.

3. Set your goals

Goal setting is so important, but you need to set your goals properly if you want to set yourself up for success!  I like setting SMART goals to make sure my goals are as specific and actionable as possible, rather than vague goals that are hard to measure like "I want to get fit". This involves choosing a specific target, a realistic time frame, figuring out exactly what I need to do to get from A to B and being really specific in how I'm going to get there. 

4. Make sure you are properly hydrated

If you’re feeling dehydrated, it may be tough for you to put in 100%. If you haven't drunk enough water during the day, you may start to feel tired and lethargic, which might affect the number and quality of the reps you're able to complete. If you know you are working out that day, my tip would be to carry around a water bottle in your bag to help you remember to drink regularly. It's also super important to hydrate after your workout to help replenish the fluid you lost sweating

5. Always warm up

There are SO many people that skip this step, and it’s such an important one! A proper warm-up helps increase your body temperature and blood flow to your muscles, preparing your body for the activity to come. Who wouldn’t want their body to work more efficiently when it comes time to bust out those burpees? Warm-up exercises can also help to reduce the chance of injury.

6. Foam roll

If you don’t already foam roll as part of your routine, now is a great time to start! Not only do foam roller exercises help to improve flexibility and relieve sore muscles, but they can also help improve overall muscle condition. So spending a few minutes rolling out your muscles as part of your recovery can actually help you get more out of each workout! 

7. Start with your weakest exercise first

If there are exercises you know you don't like doing or you struggle to complete with correct form, focus on these first. That way you can approach them with a fresh mind and lots of energy, allowing you to practice and improve. For example, if you want to get better at squats, leaving them until the end when your legs are already tired is only going to make them harder. Even better, doing them first means they’re out of the way and you can then move onto the exercises you love and are more comfortable with!

8. Choose compound exercises

Make the most of your workout by choosing compound exercises that use a number of large muscle groups, like those found in my High Intensity with Kayla programs. Exercises such as push-ups, squats, and lunges are great because they work multiple areas of your body unlike isolation exercises, such as bicep curls.

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Ready for your first workout?

Try these tips to improve your workout!

Next time you're exercising, try these tips to make the most of your session! Remember, it’s not about spending more time working out, but making the most of the time you have. 

Kayla Itsines

I’m Kayla Itsines, co-founder and head trainer at Sweat! I’ve been a certified personal trainer since 2008 and am also certified in pregnancy and postnatal exercise. My goal has always been to empower women by giving them the practical tools they need to improve their health and fitness and feel more confident.

* Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Sweat assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.


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