Whether your primary objective is fat loss or muscle growth or cardio fitness, a great workout needs the following ingredients:
You need to be physically prepared for a great workout. As a personal trainer with many years' experience of training clients all over London, this has been my advice to all of them:
Make sure you're well digested before your workout, otherwise you're not going to perform at your optimum. Equally, make sure you've had something to eat in good time before the workout. If you work out first thing in the morning, make sure you had a nutritious meal the night before. And if you're working out during the day or evening, aim to have eaten 2 hours beforehand.
Be sure also that you're not ill or injured, as working out in either of these cases is not going to help your recovery from illness or injury. There are ways of tailoring a workout around a minor injury, and this is something I would advise you about, as your personal trainer.
Arrive at the gym prepared to work hard and focus 100% on your workout. I train my personal training clients in London in their own home or garden, so if you're my clients I recommend you let family members know in advance when you're working out, so they don't disturb you. I also recommend you turn off your mobile phone so that you're not distracted by calls and texts for the hour of your workout.
A great workout requires a great warm-up, otherwise you're more at risk of injury. Aim for 5-10 minutes of warming up before the main session.
This is where most people go wrong in their exercise regimes - they simply don't work out intensively enough. A personal trainer will ensure that your workout is intensive enough to be effective in progressing you towards your fitness goals. Intensity-killers include resting too long between sets, not performing sets strictly enough or with enough resistance, and not combining exercises in such a way that your muscle fibres are stimulated sufficiently. Again, a personal trainer will create the best combination of exercises to ensure you reach your goals quickly and safely.
Dominic Londesborough is a personal trainer in London and author of the DomFitness blog.