You might think that simply working out hard will lead to progress, whether it’s fat loss, muscle gain, or something else. Working out will certainly get you somewhere, but without a starting point, an end goal, and a strategy to get you there, you might be disappointed where you actually end up.
You may also think working out is about discomfort — about how much you can endure. I think this is an incomplete way of looking at improving your fitness or physical wellness.
The purpose of working out (or training, as I refer to it) is to build tolerance and adaptability in the different systems of your body.
The process to develop these attributes in yourself can include discomfort, but that feeling shouldn’t be how you measure the value or effectiveness of your workouts. Instead, focus on what your training session is meant to help you do better.
Remember, your goal is the goal. Your plan should reflect your goal in every way possible. If it doesn’t, then re-evaluate your goal (to make sure it’s clear enough) and each activity you’re doing. Ask what each movement is meant to help you accomplish that you don’t already know how to do well enough. Consider what you should be feeling in your body, and whether you’re able to feel that sensation on each and every rep. Personally, when I’m programming or training, I consider whether I’m focusing on one of 4 different attributes I’m trying to develop – whether it’s control, strength, mobility, or cardio.
Stay intent on making yourself just a little bit better, everyday.