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By: Liu Gross

Chicago-based trainer Liu Gross took time out of his busy schedule to serve as Lively’s Guest Editor this month. Here, he writes how to improve your workout routine.

Get stronger and faster – so many of your training sessions and group training classes revolve around these two things. But if you fancy yourself an athlete, being strong and fast aren’t going to cut it. The benefits of agility, balance, flexibility/mobility (F/M), endurance, and coordination aren’t tied to just these two goals. They are all major physical components to athletic performance that get overlooked regularly. Allow me to give you a few reasons why they belong in your athletic training program.

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Trainer Liu Gross: How to Improve Your Workout Routine

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Remember: You're Training for Life

As we get older, our interests change and so do our training goals. Ripped abs, toned glutes, and strong legs are all the rage when we’re younger but getting older means adding to those goals. Being able to play tag with your kids or grandkids, bending over to pick up the keys we dropped without blowing out your back or walking a flight of stairs without feeling winded could get added to your list of goals. It’s about training for life.

If you’re in your 20s and early 30s, you may not be able to relate as much now. But eventually, we get older. We worry less about our speed on the treadmill and more about incorporating better movements. Start adding agility, balance, F/M, endurance, and coordination to your training program to make you better now, which lays the ground work for a healthier and more active life when you’re older.

Add Variety to Your Training

Since “convention is the enemy of interesting,” doing your same routine repeatedly will likely end in boredom followed by quitting, which is where these new additions can immediately help. It taps into both parts of your athletic brain, with one half going, “Wow, I should be better at this. This is hard, let me try it again,” while the other half loves it as it gets you closer to becoming the best version of a complete athlete. Because of the new athletic nature of adding speed ladders, tennis balls, or cones for coordination or agility, your interest level will most likely sky-rocket. And while you're at it, change up your hydration game by packing a collagen drink, like Vital Proteins Collagen Water, in your gym bag. 

Take More Rest Days

The standard training rest day is just that – a rest day. For the athlete who still wants to improve without taxing already-worn muscle groups, adding these components allows you to turn your off day into a truly active rest day. Incorporating F/M, balance, and coordination are perfect for your new “active rest” day because they’re not demanding on your muscle. This means while your muscles are recovering, you can still be getting better. Using a balance pad, foam roller, or lacrosse ball while listening to 90s R&B is my jam. Give it a shot! I think it could become yours, too.