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How Do You Know if Your Workouts are Good Enough?

Updated: Apr 17


Over the years, many fitness trends have emerged that promise to give people the results they seek. Who doesn't want a simple fix? Some trends promise immediate results with minimal investment of time, while other exercise routines demand a time commitment that few can honor given their daily responsibilities and schedules. 

Recently, I was interviewed for a story in the New York Post about fitness trends and how you can assess what works best for you. It's a great question because everyone's workout schedule will not and should not look the same. The recommendations in today's blog are more general than the specific tips about personalizing your workout schedule that I share in my book, Own Your Wellness. But, overall, the best approach is to format your week to incorporate whole-body movements using challenging resistance and do so two to four days a week. For your cardiovascular workouts, sprinkle in some short intervals twice per week, then do longer, slower cardio (like hiking) on alternate days.

When it comes to your more intense workouts, taking at least one day off between those harder efforts is critical. This will ensure that your muscles fully recover from that workout and that you get visible results. You will be stunned by how effective your efforts will be. Rest days are a sadly underappreciated part of a weekly workout regimen.

Time again I see clients wondering why they aren't seeing the muscle tone they've been working towards. Often, the reason is that they just aren't allowing for sufficient recovery.


During your resistance training sessions, you'll want to hit all your major muscle groups—back, chest, core, and legs—and ensure each exercise involves the whole body. For example, start with a squat with an overhead press, then a Russian twist, next would be a plank hold, and finally a deadlift with a row. If you have time to get through these a few times, great. But I'd rather you do just one circuit than none. It's important to consider resistance, or how heavy or intense you go. So, even if you want to get a little stronger and toned, use a weight that challenges you. You can also make the movement harder, for instance, by going lower in your squat or increasing the time you stay in your plank hold. In my book's "Move" chapter, you'll find a hidden URL with some workout videos to get you started.


As far as cardio, I used to put more emphasis on this than I do now. However, getting your heart rate up not only can feel good, but is part of what our bodies are designed to do. Once or twice a week, go all out in your cardio sessions with interval training. Take a few minutes to warm up, go as hard as you can for 30 seconds, and then let your heart recover. This can be a walk, a run, a bout on an elliptical machine or bike, etc. Repeat this about eight to 10 times, and you're done. You can always do a light jog or walk with a friend on two other days to recover and maintain endurance.

effective workout, resistance training, weight training

Once you get going, you might have some additional questions, such as:


How will you know if your workouts are intense enough

(or too intense)?

The simple answer is, are you seeing results? If you have been doing X workout for over two months and look and feel the same, it's not intense enough. Either you change the exercises you're doing or increase the difficulty. Conversely, if you hurt yourself, feel tired and sore, or feel sick all the time, your workouts might be too taxing, or you're not prioritizing rest. You need at least one day of recovery between intense bouts of exercise. Your muscles need to recover; otherwise, you'll likely end up with nagging injuries and zippo visible results. 


Do you need to be dripping in sweat or sore the next day?


Absolutely not. Though, sometimes it feels good to take it to that level. You should do some form of interval training (getting your heart rate way up but then recovering) once or twice a week. But you shouldn't push yourself to the point of feeling lightheaded or woozy. Listen to what your body is telling you. The intensity level should work for you and your goals. And while sweating is one of the best ways to help your body detoxify, not all of us sweat profusely. I often leave a heavy lifting session exhausted but barely dewy at all. So, no, I wouldn't use sweat as a gauge for how effective your workout was.

What should you do when motivation wanes,

and you do not see results?


Aside from establishing the proper workout regimen and prioritizing rest, people need to find a good reason WHY they want to achieve their goal or goals. It's one thing to want to fit into your size 27 jeans and another to want to lose weight and tone up so that you have more energy to keep up with your kids or to feel better about yourself and your body when you look in the mirror. Maybe you want to be able to run a 5K. Great, but why? Is it just because you want to? Or is it because you want more endurance to play with your grandkids? When you team up an actionable goal with a profoundly personal desire, you create the best motivation for staying true to a sustainable and enduring wellness plan.

Once you figure out your goal and why you want to get there, remind yourself often of WHY you are working toward it. This one trick alone can help you not give up when things get hard. 

If you enjoyed this, please grab your copy of Own Your Wellness, where you can learn many more tips and tricks to help you break through your health plateaus.

Yours in health,


This content is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be used for the sole basis for medical or health decisions, nor should it be construed as advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual's situation. The author and DFitLife, LLC assume no responsibility or liability for damages resulting from the use of the information contained herein.


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