Feel the Burn: How to Get the Most Out of Your Strength Training Routine



If you’re going to the gym - make it count. While everyone has a different fitness level, and it’s important to work within your limits and listen to your body, if you want to see real change, get out of your comfort zone.

As the old saying goes, “what you give is what you get”: The more effort you put into your workouts, the more results you will get. I tell my clients to use “positive self talk” during a workout. If you tell yourself “I can do this” then you will. Keep positive during workouts, be present in the moment, and listen to your body.


When I lost 80 pounds after the birth of my third child, I taught myself to work “8 past the burn.” To really understand “8 past the burn,” you must begin to be present and in the moment with your body.  What does that mean? During a typical “3 sets of 15 reps” routine most people will hit that 15 number and stop.  If you are doing bicep curls, for example, and you started feeling the “burn” on rep 13, you should not limit yourself to just 15 reps. If you can sustain proper form (which is the most important aspect) then 8 reps past the burn is where the results will happen. On the flip side, if you start feeling the burn at 5 reps, maybe you cap out at 12 or 13.  This is being present with your body and if you can capture this, you will see amazing results in a shorter amount of time with your workouts. (Please note:  If you’re a beginner at the gym, coming off an injury, or you just haven’t worked out in a while, you may want to start out slowly with 2-3 past the burn and build up from there).

So, what exactly is the “burn?” During a workout as you complete more and more reps, your muscles begin to fatigue. Your body responds by producing lactic acid which causes that tingling, heavy, or burning sensation, and lets you know when your muscles are working. It's a good thing that you're feeling this sensation, because it's a sign that your muscles are being challenged, which makes them stronger.


Strength training should be done 2-3 times a week with a 48 hour rest in between each workout. It is crucial to drink a lot of water daily and get proper nutrition to fuel your workouts. Just as you need to be present in your workouts, you also need to support your development and be present with your diet.  The choices you make every day can help you reach your goals - it’s up to you!

Today’s post is written by lucyPRO, Jen Smith. Jen is the Fitness Director at the Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills, California. Jen transformed herself and lost 80 lbs after the birth of her third child.  She loves helping others reach their fitness goals and has been training for over a decade. Jen is a Certified Ace Personal Trainer and also has certifications in Tae Bo, TRX, Spin, Kick Box, Group Training, Pilates Reformer, Les Mills Body Pump and BeachBody.  

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