Fitness Diary: Wait, You’re Supposed To Rest Between Sets?

When I wrote my first couple of fitness blog posts, I wasn’t really planning to make them a regular thing however they’ve been so well received by you all (in fact, they’re some of my most popular posts!), so I’ve decided to keep this series going. I’m by no means good at the gym, I’m a total beginner and I’m pretty sure I look like a muppet 90% of the time I’m there. But I’m working towards achieving a fitness goal, and it is fun being able to share my progress (and it’s even nicer that someone is reading!)

So I’ve been at the gym for just over a month now. At the start my goal was to go 3 times a week, and I’ve really been sticking with that. Last week was the first week I only went twice, and that’s because I went way too hard on leg day and my legs seized up and I could hardly walk for about three days. I swear I’m either an all or nothing kind of person, so when I’m at the gym I try to do everything and end up doing too much! I actually can’t explain how sore my legs were last week, I felt like an elderly person, and was sort of hobbling around everywhere! 😂

The Lilly Mint Blog

Anyway, in the month I’ve been at the gym I’ve noticed a huge improvement in myself. Not so much a noticeable physical appearance (although I am looking a little leaner through my torso – score!), but my physical strength has improved dramatically in such a short time. I’m feeling my recovery days are getting shorter and I’m generally less sore (apart from last week!). I’ve put this down to an accidental method of training that I’ve been doing….supersets (of a sort)

So what I didn’t know was when you are training at the gym, you should generally have a few minutes rest in between sets and then an even longer rest in between exercises. In the last month I’ve been at the gym, I’ve been taking a maximum of about ten seconds in between sets, and then once I’m finished up with one exercise or machine, it’s straight on to the next with no rest. I’ll do my set of shoulder presses, then straight into my arm curls, and then right into my rows and then repeat. Once I’ve done my sets of them, I’m straight on to the chest press with no rest period. What this does is not only means my metabolism is working harder, but my heart rate is also elevated for the entirety of my workout. After I’ve done 20 minutes of resistant training/weights and 20 minutes on the bike, I leave the gym feeling absolutely pooped, but I’ve also completed my whole workout in 40 minutes, and my heart rate has been up for that whole time.

To be honest I thought this was what you were supposed to do at the gym and it was only when I was talking to my boyfriend and mentioned that I didn’t rest, he told me that’s not actually what you’re supposed to do. I’ve found this way of training has really worked for me though, as I feel like I’ve gotten fitter so quickly and I can’t help but wonder if it’s down to this. My cardio fitness has improved hugely, and perhaps it’s down my heart rate being higher for a longer period of time. I can only do 20 minutes or so of cardio on the bike or treadmill before I get ridiculously bored and want to go and do something fun. So this style of training is a fab way for me to get in some more cardio, which in turn is making me fitter and leaner.

I’m not going to recommend you go and do this, because everyone is different, but I think this has really worked for me and I’m going to continue training this way. I always do make sure I have plenty of rest after my gym session, and if I’m sore afterwards I won’t train again until I’m completely recovered. Does anyone else do this, or am I completely weird?!

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