Getting the Most out of Your Workout

Fitness magazines are awesome: muscular people showcase six-pack abs and toned physiques that beg to be encased in Tencel/Gore-tex goodness. The article titles range from “How to Get those sculpted biceps you always wanted” to “How to deal with the workout envy other people will heap upon you” (These aren’t real titles, but they’re close). I never knew until I saw the title that I always wanted sculpted biceps and I definitely don’t go to the gym to make other people jealous. What tends to happen when I go to the gym is that I make other people giggle.

I often feel like the antithesis of a healthy person. I work out, but not for long and no more than every other day. I don’t work out to push myself and I definitely don’t work out until the sweat drips off my person like a Gatorade commercial actor. In this area of life, I am wonderfully lackadaisical. My fitness goal isn’t to run a marathon or complete a triathlon, though I will gladly clap for those who do. My goals are a little less ambitious: don’t jiggle my way into my clothes, manage that middle-aged muffin-top, have the energy to do my day without getting breathless.

I read fitness magazines the way an anthropologist would study a culture: with detached curiosity. I admire those who are motivated to find out their peak physical condition, but I also admire people who make cakes and decorate them with ganache. Neither one of those things directly applies to me. One particular article that I connected with recently was how to get the most out of my workout. From concentrating on the muscle group I was working, to how long to take breaks between reps, I was fascinated by the advice. The target audience for these words of wisdom was definitely not a person like me who views exercise as a chore that must be done to maintain a healthy lifestyle and nothing more.

If you are at all like this, I will add an extra step that will help clarify how you, too, can get the most out of your workout: go. Yes, if you’re working on adding definition to certain body parts and streamlining other body parts while celebrating your cardiovascular system, then you’ll have to do more exercise-y stuff. If you are like me, we just need to go. Go regularly, go in whatever comfortable clothes you have (I feature good all-purpose cotton), but go. Go with a friend if that helps you, go alone if you want the think time, but move your body in a cardiovascular kind of way. There. We’ve all just gotten more out of our workouts.

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