Is Your Workout Hard Enough?

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man screaming while doing deadlift in gym

You need to push yourself during your workout to get results.

Too many people waste their time at the gym. If you’ve been a regular gym-goer at a commercial gym for a while you’ve seen the real time-wasters:

  • The three 20-something guys who rotate on the triceps pushdown, while simultaneously discussing (in great detail) the latest Arkham video game.
  • The girls who sit beside each other on the recumbent bike, slowly peddling while chatting about what they’re wearing on Saturday night and how fat they think their thighs are when they sit down.
  • The guy who wanders around trying to start conversations with people, most of whom are in the middle of a set and wearing headphones to discourage intruders. After three hours he’s completed about 5 sets – in total – of various random exercises.

NOT Them

I’m not even talking about those people! It’s so obvious they’re not working hard enough that I’m only mentioning them for amusement. Nope, I’m talking about the average person at the gym who “sorta” knows what they’re doing. They have their exercises planned in advance. They know how many sets and reps they’re doing. They’re still not working hard enough! Why?

Rest Periods

Most people don’t pay close enough attention to their rest periods. They may be doing 3 sets of 12 reps, but they don’t think about how much time they leave in between. Rest periods are dependent on your goals (longer rest for strength, shorter rest for hypertrophy or endurance), but many people wander around aimlessly in between sets and waste precious gym time.

How Much Weight?

Many people receive a rude wakeup call when they first work with a trainer who helps them find their natural limits with weights. Many people are doing much less weight than they’re capable of doing. If you’re supposed to do 8 reps, but you’re capable of doing 20 reps of that weight (with good form) then you’re slacking off. ¬†The weight is too light. Doing just those 8 reps isn’t enough to elicit much improvement. And that’s what it’s all about.


Make the most of your time by working to your maximum capability on the day. Make your workouts efficient by doing the right type of exercise (weight training and/or HIIT) and pushing yourself HARD during your workouts. Now hard is a relative term. If you’ve only been training for a couple of years your level of intensity will be different from an Olympic athlete, but it should be HARD enough for you.

Hard vs. Long Workouts

How hard you workout is inversely proportional to how long you can workout. You can’t train as intensely for three hours as you would for 40 minutes. So, in the interest of fitting your workouts into your jam-packed schedule, doing a 40 minute workout three times a week is way better than doing a lazy three hour workout once a week.

When you hit the gym, work hard. That’s how you get results and make real changes with your body.

Ivana Chapman 

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 9-year-old boy. She is a YouTuber, writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training, chocolate, mountain biking, and ice cream...not always in that order of preference.
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