There are few things more discouraging than consistently engaging in an exercise program, yet failing to achieve the desired results.
It’d be like scrubbing your vehicle for hours a day, but never having it come clean or painting your walls only to have the original color repeatedly shine through. Talk about feeling defeated.
This is likely how some of your patients feel if they’ve been regularly participating in a workout regimen that isn’t giving them the results or fitness levels they desire. So, what can you do to help them increase the efficiency of their workouts, reducing the likelihood that they’ll just give up?
Onefactor that can help patients increase workout efficiency is proper supplementation. In late 2016, Business Insider shared a video in which Rutgers University Center for Health and Human Performance “exercise scientist” Shawn Arent, Ph.D., talks about four supplements specifically that can help people make the most of their exercise programs. They are:
- Protein – which is easy to ingest via on-the-go products like protein shakes
- Caffeine – as it’s been found to improve endurance, as well as cognitive function
- Creatine Monohydrate – this form of creatine improves power, strength, ability to retain lean mass, and aids in healing
- Fish Oils – which are anti-inflammatory and assist with bone and muscle repair
Argent also adds that a healthy base diet is critical as supplements are best used solely as support. They also shouldn’t be considered a “quick fix,” but more something that will provide benefits when taken over time.
Encourage external focus
University of Nevada researcher Gabriele Wulf has conducted many studies which have highlighted the importance of proper focus—or “external focus” as Wulf describes it—when it comes to improving the body’s response.
For example, one of Wulf’s studies involved studying participants who’d never golfed before. When teaching them the mechanics of the swing, some participants were told to engage in internal focus by concentrating on the swing of their arms while others were advised to have external focus by paying more attention to the swing of the club. The remainder of the participants served as a control.
Upon reviewing the data at the conclusion of the study, Wulf found that those who practiced external focus “showed a significantly greater accuracy in their shots compared to both the internal focus and control group.” Similar results were found Wulf’s other studies that followed similar techniques in teaching participants to learn how to make free throws (basketball), throw darts, kick field goals (football), and perform jump-and-reach tasks.
Thus, if your patient learns to have an external focus, he or she will likely improve workout results. This means having them pay more attention to forces outside the body instead of on the body movements themselves.
Address attitude’s role
Henry Ford is quoted with saying, “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right,” which highlights the major role one’s mindset plays on a person’s ability to achieve his or her goals. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) agrees, stating that achieving great things (a.k.a. better results) is more possible and probable with the appropriate mindset.
That’s why it helps to address with patients the role that attitude plays in health and fitness, ultimately enabling them to get more out of their workout routine. According to ACE, some ways to do this include: encouraging them to be more thankful each day, reminding them why their goal is so important to them, and having them visualize themselves achieving it.
Additional activities that can help promote a more positive mindset are to create a plan (versus just winging it), to surround themselves with positive people, and finding ways to appreciate the process. These can all help your patients stay motivated and inspired long enough to achieve even better results.