Trainer Tip: Small Changes Add Up

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This month’s trainer tip comes from Precision Athletics’ co-founder and master trainer Craig Boyd.

Remember that big changes can come from small, consistent movements. If you are starting out on your fitness journey or if you have not quite met your health and fitness goals, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or like you want to give up. But remember that small changes add up!

Adding a Little at a Time

One of the most important things to remember when resistance training is to do a little bit more each session. This could mean adding a rep, increasing from 10 to 12 reps, or adding more weight to your rep. Stay at the same weight until you can do 15 repetitions with that weight, and then increase to the next weight. Always remember to keep proper form when doing your reps. 

Creating a Goal

If you are doing bodyweight exercises, it can be challenging to determine if you can do more sets. For example, if your arms seem to fatigue at 20 push-ups no matter what, pick a total number for the complete workout instead. 

A goal of 50 push-ups is much more manageable if done in sets throughout the workout, instead of 50 in one go. You can start with sets of ten between other exercises in your workout until you have done 50 for the day. After that, increase to 55 total push-ups next week.  Remember that you can always modify your push-ups by doing them on your knees or doing smaller sets of 5 to start.

Seeing Results

You may also find having structured targets in your workouts allows you to be more focused. You will likely see more improvements in your training log (for example, 50 push-ups go to 55 the next week and 55 go to 60, and so on).

Over time, the increased motivation and your body having to adapt to greater training volume (more push-ups) or intensity (slightly more weight) will lead to physical adaptations. The key is to focus on the short term – a slight increase in weight or reps, or more volume from session to session. 

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Craig Boyd is co-founder and director of trainers at Precision Athletics in Vancouver. He has been a personal trainer for over 25 years and likes working with clients who want to get stronger, leaner, and have more energy. You can reach him directly at [email protected].

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