No matter how quickly we wish to get into shape, an efficient workout takes time and effort. After all, when you’re trying to undo months or even years of bad dieting and exercise, a weekend or two at the gym simply won’t do. Your nutritional intake, as well as other factors, have long lasting effects, so a good workout schedule should take these needs into consideration.

The various individual elements of a workout routine, whether it’s dieting or a specific exercise, all have their benefits but the biggest advantage comes from a variety of these. It also helps to be progressive, adapting how you treat your body (and mind) as it improves.

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The truth is a great workout is easy to achieve, but nobody will ever hit the ground running with the results they desire straight away. With that in mind, here are 5 factors that can help you create the most effective and efficient workout for you.

A Sustainable Body

The human body has its limits so your workout should look to sustain it, rather than push it past its limits. A great exercise period can often be wasted if the human body is given no time to recover. It doesn’t matter if you’re just doing calf exercises, military press or trying to improve your body’s overall performance – there needs to be a break between workouts.

If you overwork yourself, the results simply aren’t beneficial. What good is an intense session in the gym if you can’t walk for a few hours afterwards? It is entirely possible to exercise too much, so keep your program relative to your body’s needs and capabilities.

Consistent Efforts

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Even the most dedicated bodybuilders have to workout around a day job, family life or other events that occupies their time. This is just a fact of life, and when it comes to improving your body, you have to work around these time-eating requirements.

So, while you may not be able to visit the gym 5 days a week, it’s more important that your visits are consistent. The human body needs repetition to get muscles into shape, so it’s better to only go 2 or 3 times a week and keep a regular schedule. Missing one or two when it’s unavoidable can’t be helped, but ensuring you don’t go entire weeks at a time without any exercise will do little to help improve your condition.

Don’t Avoid Hard Work

A good body takes hard work. Regardless of what fad diets and various secret workouts might claim, the only way you can achieve the body you want is through putting in the effort. As such, don’t shirk a hard workout when it’s the best method available. At the end of the day, the old saying really is true here – no pain, no gain!

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This is important to bear in mind as we all have bad days or days where we just want to take it easy. Yet it’s at these points you should remember the real benefit of hard work, as it’s vital to keep a consistent, regular routine.

Keep It Simple

Similarly, there’s no need to make things overtly complex. A good program can often be ruined if you, as the person undertaking it, don’t understand it correctly. When in doubt, chose the simplest option and put the effort into achieving it, rather than racking your brain around the concept.

This is by no means an excuse to avoid the exercises you don’t wish to do, but when faced with various options (as many gyms tend to do) go for the simplest option in terms of both money and efficiency. For example, there’s always a benefit to deadlifts and, regardless of other options, this simple technique clearly works.

Have Patience

To quote William Edward Hickson; “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try and try again.” Training takes time and not seeing instant results from your workout routines can be a big disappointment for beginners. Yet, early progress is slow and it takes patience to get through this difficult part before you start experiencing some results.

This is especially true when you’re combating years of poor dieting, nutrition and exercise. If it took that long to get you into your current shape, it’s not going to be fixable over a single weekend. A strong, powerful body takes time to develop for anyone.

In short, it’s vital to stay simple, consistent and have the right attitude to achieving your goals. It takes time but if you’re dedicated to working hard on a regular basis, you will attain the body you’ve been aiming for. There are no quick fixes and remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!

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Mike Wines


Rock Hill, SC

Mike Wines is a strength and conditioning coach and content editor for Muscle and Strength. He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor’s of Science in Exercise Science. During his undergraduate career, he interned with EXOS (formerly Athlete’s Performance), USC’s strength and conditioning staff, and Athlete’s Arena. Mike has trained a wide variety of athletes and clients and seeks to provide programming and movement based solutions to match each individual’s goals. Outside of the weight room, Mike is known for his strong work ethic, attention to detail, and passionate attitude. In all things in life, he seeks to live out his motto: “Excellence, not perfection."

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