- Train to learn a new skill. In the strength world, this is known as "Skill Acquisition". For a lot of us who go to a traditional workout class, having an instructor tell us what to do for an hour can be motivating, but what if that class is taken away? That's why learning how to train is just as important to fitness as the exercises itself. One of the easiest approaches to skill acquisition is working on one major skill each day that can transfer over to your everyday life and build some accessory exercises around that skill. These skills include squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, and progressing to a pull-up. The great thing about approaching each workout like this is that you're working on a transferrable skill that can improve your quality of life while getting the exercise stimulus you need to improve body composition.
Train for strength and not pain. Building off our first point above, putting your body through pain does not always equal results.
Whether its fat loss, muscle gain, or athletic performance, pain does not determine the success of your exercise program.
Rather than chasing the class or doing a workout that hurts the most, look for the class or program that develops strength. The feeling of a hard workout can be satisfying the first few times, but without proper exercise selection and recovery methods, you can stall your progress in the long run.
- Replace the word exercise with "movement". I know we've used the word exercise a lot throughout this post, but moving forward, consider interchanging exercise with the word movement. That's because the idea of exercise puts us in a creative box when it comes to our workouts. That means in order to exercise, a lot of us feel the need to find a gym, class, weights, and exercise machines. Instead, daily movement keeps the idea open to minimalist activities like yoga in the park. Don't underestimate the metabolic effects of walking every day around the neighborhood, or going for a hike with the kids.
Let exercise intensity be determined by how well you recover.
Part of training with intention means taking into consideration long-term health. The 3 points above aren't meant to deter you from intense exercise classes and the community you build from joining an exercise class can be beneficial to the experience. In fact, there's a need for exercise intensity in overall health. It's just important to keep track of your cortisol management and adrenal health. These two factors are important to maintaining healthy hormone production. If you are training at a high level and looking to balance cortisol production and recovery, then consider looking at your current recovery methods. These recovery methods include sauna sessions, contrast showers, sleep quality, nutrition, and utilizing adaptogens.