From supersets to superfriends

7 Ways to make your workouts easier and more efficient

By Megan Williamson BA, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer

Life can be tough. Life can be busy. Between juggling work life, family life
(fur babies are included), personal care, medical visits and the daily adventures
of wheeling or power chair use. Below I am going to share with you some different tips and tools to help make your work outs easier and more efficient. Consider each point and picture how they would fit into your fitness regimen or planning:

1. Write your workout down ahead of time. There is no more of a time waster as showing up to the gym and not having a plan of action. Plan your workout before you come to the gym so that you don’t waste time wandering and thinking about what you should be doing. Print it off, write it out, or have it on your phone. If you know that your gym will be busy and the equipment you want may not be free, then have an alternative exercise already planned.

2. Carry snacks. Food is fuel, and we need fuel for our workouts. If we are only relying on local coffee shops and fast food options before our workouts, we are limiting ourselves and our performance. Try packing a small Tupperware of some easy grab and go raw nuts or veggies. Easily portable fruit like bananas or apples are also great and can be thrown in your bag mess free.

3. Record. It is always good to record how your body responds to your work- outs. For example, if you are doing resistance training you can record the weight amounts, the sets and repetitions you did that day. See if you can progress the next time you try that exact same exercise. Let’s say you go for a wheel outside. Record that distance and how your body feels after wheeling it. Note: If you are living with MS, you have probably found that there is a window or a sweet spot you need to find; It is smack dab in the middle of not doing enough and over doing it.

4. Grab a Superfriend. A Superfriend can be anyone; someone you meet at your community centre, a caretaker, or maybe a family member. Having someone to help encourage you or be able to work hard alongside you creates connection and opportunities for laughing and socializing. I will never forget when one of my clients brought his 10-year-old to his training session. I let his son hold the boxing pads while my client boxed. We also threw his son in a spare manual chair and they did some racing up the 600m ramp. The healthy competition they had with each other was amazing to watch. There was all laughing and smiles in that session!

5. Do what you love. If you don’t like the exercise, you won’t do it on your own. Period. Find something that you like or love to do. Make the commitment easier for yourself. Some great places to start are community centres or sporting arenas; depending on where you live, there are a lot of different adaptive sports available now that you can be a part of.

6. Hire a professional. The discipline of showing up or working hard isn’t for everyone on every single day. I know for me, if I don’t preschedule a workout with my partner on the weekends, It won’t happen. Having that accountability keeps me honest. So if you know that you are someone that needs accountability or an extra push, that’s OK! Just make sure to seek it out.

7. Incorporate supersets. I know what you are thinking. What the heck
is a superset? A superset is a phrase used in the gym for two exercises that you perform back to back without any rest in between. Supersets allow for more work in less time, thus creating a more challenging circuit and possibly more taxing on the muscle group. I use supersets with almost all of my adaptive workout programs simply because the ‘rests’ between sets are typically longer anyways due to mobility and wheelchair use.

Remember everyone’s approach will look different. What matters is that you find yours and you utilize it!

Your coach, Megan

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