You don’t want to spend long hours at the gym, but you want to get stronger, fitter, leaner, and just plain look good. It’s possible that you’re not getting the most out of your workout time.
Heres how to fix that!
Have a plan
A well planned, structured workout should be top priority before even entering the gym. Know what it is you want to achieve and train accordingly. For example, want to get stronger? Focus on lower reps and heavier weight on the core lifts. A plan can mean the difference between success or just fluffing around.
Theres a saying, “A average workout done consistently will always beat a perfect workout done every blue moon.” Ok, so I switched a few words around but you catch my drift. Consistency is key! And this should be the aim of every person with a health and/or exercise goal.
Warm up dynamically and foam roll
It’s so important to resist the urge to jump straight into your workout without warming up your muscles. Put yourself through a dynamic warmup.If you’ve got some weak spots, take the extra time to do mobility drills, stretches, and foam roll to wake up and release tension in bundled muscles. You’ll feel the difference between working out cold, without a warmup, and hitting the weights with proper pre-routine drills. You’ll sink deeper into your squat, feel less resistance from ‘creaky’ joints when you bench, and more more fluidity while deadlifting.
Get your mind right
The next time you’re prepping for the gym, imagine yourself being “savagely powerful” as you pump out the exercises you’ve got programmed for the day. A large part of weight training is mental. Some people listen to music or give themselves little pep talks before major lifts. Become mentally, physically, and emotionally engaged. You’ll be amazed what your body can achieve with the right mindset and positive reinforcement.
Respect the stopwatch
This refers to your rest between sets. There’s a reason your trainer is specifying 30, 45 or 60 second breaks between sets and asking you to hold the intensity of cardio intervals for specific durations. Adhere to that timing, and you’ll see far better results.
Be sure to hydrate throughout the day. It takes a couple of hours for your body to absorb the water, so you can’t just drink right before exercise. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day.
Many people don’t pay enough attention to getting the protein their muscles need to rebuild. If you don’t, you are going to get very little out of your workout, as both cardio and strength workouts require protein for building muscles.
For strength training especially, form is very important, but it’s also important for other types of exercise. If you’re strength training, start with lighter weights so you can work on your form. Never sacrifice form for heavier weight. Your joints and tendons will that you!
Get a better night’s sleep
Quality shut-eye is vital to getting the most out of your time spent in the gym. And that goes for every night of the week. According to one 2015 Sports Medicine review, poor sleep hinders not only your exercise performance (and the number of calories you burn), but also your body’s ability to come back stronger after every workout. Sleep drives the hormonal shifts that promote the body’s recovery to exercise. Without appropriate sleep, symptoms of over-training, including fitness plateaus, set in. Aim for seven to nine hours of sleep every single night.
So if you’re serious about achieving results in the gym, make use of these tips. Be rid of the days when you may just walk in and ‘go through the motions.’ Decide what it is you want, plan it, train with purpose towards it!