Let's start 2020 off right! For the whole month of January, we're bringing you a weekly series with Jaime Filer. Jaime is a certified personal trainer with over 15 years of experience, voted one of Canada's best trainers in 2013. She's had the opportunity to transform HUNDREDS of bodies and minds with her programming and approach to training.
What's better?! She's bringing you her best tips, tricks, and insights to help you get fit for 2020.
Let's get started!
This week we'll be discussing Cardio vs. Weightlifting:
- Tips and tricks to make both workouts easier
- How to make cardio fun
- How to make weightlifting fun
- Necessary workout gear
- How to prepare for each workout
We asked Jaime these questions and she took the time to write out her best answers for you. We'll be giving her answers word for word below.
1. Tips and tricks to make both workouts easier
The first and most important trick is to find something (a program, sport, gym, etc) you enjoy. If you hate what you’re doing, if you’re just going through the motions, if you think, “I HAVE/NEED to go to the gym” instead of “I GET TO go to the gym”, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. You’re given a capable, able body to use every single day, and you should be grateful for it. But in order to do that, it helps to genuinely enjoy your program and your environment.
2. How to make cardio fun
Similar to my last answer, finding cardio you enjoy. While we know that the Stairmaster is one of the most effective cardio machines, if you DREAD it, then you’re going to condition yourself to hate it.
- Try searching “Crossfit bodyweight” or just “bodyweight circuits” - Cardio isn’t for everyone. Cardi-No as I like to call it, is just a means to an end: Getting leaner and getting better. But to make the time pass, I’ll do mini metabolic circuits so at least it’s not the same monotonous machine minute after minute.
- Do intervals. Unless you’re prepping for a show and need to save every ounce of energy for recovery, Low intensity steady state cardio is epically boring and useless. Keep your heart rate up and keep things interesting by challenging yourself to different domains of expenditure (15 seconds hard/on, 45 off - 30 on, 30 off), or even 21 calories hard/on, 1 min off, 15 calories on, 1 min off.
- I know this sounds cheesy, but do it with a friend. You can push each other on the treadmill, on the track, on the rower - or even online, by comparing ‘miles’ over the course of the week. We’ll talk about accountability in future blogs, but telling people (who will support you) about your goals is the best way to set yourself up for success
- Make your goal ‘Calories burned’ instead of ‘Minutes Passed.’ I know this sounds weird, but if you think about it, I can prescribe you 30min of cardio. And you can watch Netflix and slack the whole time, going 2 miles per hour. But if I tell you to burn 300 calories per session, you’re going to go balls out trying to hit that number faster in order to finish your cardio sooner.
3. How to make weightlifting fun
- Honestly, a lot of the same ‘rules’ apply for how to make cardio fun apply to weightlifting as well. Make sure you’re doing something you love, and following a program you ENJOY! That’s the most important tip.
- Workout with a friend who’ll push you. A lot of people need that external, “YOU’VE GOT THIS, BRO!!!” and subsequent butt slap to fire them up. Weightlifting CAN be a team sport if you have an awesome team behind you.
- Find (or make!) an epic playlist on Spotify. And don’t worry about other people judging you! I have the soundtrack from The Greatest Showman on my Spotify list. It’s about what hypes YOU up and gets you going.
- Set a goal/intention before you lift. Are you going to try for a deadlift PR? Do you want to hit one more rep on bench? Do you want to try and squeeze in 5 more pounds on your squat? Think about how you’re going to make yourself better THIS time versus last time.
- Write everything in a journal. This might be old school, but I keep a hand-written workout log of everything I’ve done. I can flip back days, months, and even YEARS worth of workouts to see how much better, faster, and stronger I’ve become since I started my journey. Just as you keep a lot of your weight and measurements over time, keep a log of what you’re lifting!
4. Necessary workout gear
- First and foremost, a water bottle. Your body is 60% water. Your muscles are 79% water. If you’re not properly hydrated, not only will your workout suffer, but your muscle pumps won’t be as epic - and why workout if your pumps aren’t epic?
- A reliable pair of ear buds. I prefer the wireless ones because when I run, I hate a long cord dangling in front of me, or a short cord behind my neck. Think of the apple buds or the high key ones (the only two brands I’ve used).
- A workout journal. Like I mentioned before in the How to Make Weightlifting Fun question, if you don’t track what you’re doing, how do you get better? I love writing each and every workout section so I can improve on: Sets, reps, weight, calories burned, or just overall mood/vibe of a workout.
- A lacrosse ball. I can hear your brains thinking. I get that bringing a foam roller to the gym with you isn’t practical. But tossing a little $5 orange in your gym bag can make the difference between you being able to workout at 100% tomorrow or being sore for the next 48 hours.
5. How to prepare for each workout
- Mindset: Honestly, when I sat down to write this blog, I automatically thought of stretching, meals, and hydration. The obvious ones you need to prepare yourself for a solid lift. With that said, you could be as prepared as a prized fighter, PHYSICALLY, but if your mind isn’t in the game, it’ll be a shitty session. I start my prep by reminding myself that I don’t HAVE to workout. I don’t NEED to workout. I get to workout. I woke up with air in my lungs, and the opportunity to make myself better in the gym. That’s a gift, not an obligation.
- Movement prep. You’ll see people at the gym hop on an upright bike for 5 min, then immediately go into their weightlifting session. That might be ok for an 18 year old, invincible kid, whose bones and joints don’t understand the wear and tear of his 20’s and 30’s yet. For the rest of us, it’s called a “WARM UP” for a reason. The bike is good. It’s generic cardio, but we eventually have to move from general to movement specific things. Shoulder circles with a plate to get them activated before a horizontal or vertical press, leg swings to open up the hips before a squat or deadlift - and similar things like that.
- Meals. I could just leave it with that one word - meals. Eat. Eat before your workouts. I know that there’s a ton of research out there about intermittent fasting, nutrient timing, and the like, but truthfully, at the end of the day, the body just needs fuel. You need calories to get through a workout. You need calories to push yourself and keep your energy high. If you’re just doing a cardio session, have something easy like a rice cake with peanut butter, but if it’s a heavier weight-lifting session, have a more macro-balanced meal like chicken, sweet potatoes, and some almonds.
- Hydration. If your body isn’t properly hydrated, it can’t carry out necessary functions at the most optimal level. Truthfully, even 6-8oz in your pre-workout shake or BCAAs would be better than nothing!
If you have any questions regarding these first tips for the month, feel free to reach out to us or Jaime.
How to reach Jaime:
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