In this article we’re going to look at five different methods that will help you get more from your workouts, so regardless of whether your goals are increased strength, muscle building, or fat loss, you’re sure to find something to improve your results.
It all starts before you even set foot in the gym.
Make sure you have a clear cut plan of exactly what you are aiming to achieve in a given workout; this means knowing the exercises and rep ranges you will be performing, and the order you will be performing them in.
Planning ahead also means ensuring that you eat an adequate pre-workout meal containing enough carbohydrates to fuel your session and a small amount of fat to slow digestion enough to ensure a steady supply of nutrients while you train.
Another aspect of planning ahead is making sure that you stay hydrated not just while you train but all day, every day.
Thirst is a lagging indicator, and by the time you feel it your body is already in a state of dehydration, which means that you will have less energy, reduced mental focus, and your muscles will be unable to contract as forcefully.
This hardly makes for a productive workout or life in general, so ensure you drink at least 2 – 3 liters of water every single day – no excuses!
Use an Intra-Workout Drink
An extension of staying hydrated is enhancing the water you drink during your workouts by adding a couple of ingredients such as BCAA and a fast-digesting carbohydrate source such as potato starch or Gaspari Nutrition’s Glycofuse which contains highly-branched cyclic dextrins.
These amino acids and carbohydrates require essentially no digestion, which means that they pass straight into your bloodstream and provide your muscles with the materials they need to reduce catabolism and enhance the anabolic effect of your training sessions.
You will notice a marked reduction in your muscle soreness once you add these powerful nutrients to your workout drink!
Focus On Your Technique
Assuming you are not going for brute force strength you will definitely want to focus on the way you perform each exercise.
Slow down your repetitions, think about the muscle or muscles you are trying to work, and concentrate on feeling the muscles contract on each repetition.
Try slowing down the negative or downwards portion of each movement by counting “One, two, three…” and you will be amazed by how much sorer you feel the next day and how quickly your muscles will begin to develop.
Leave Your Ego at the Door
An extension of improving your form or technique is to reduce the amount of weight you’re using, and if you suddenly start slowing down your reps you will have to do this anyway!
It can be very humbling going back to bench pressing just the bar, but if you are trying to improve your physique then remember that it is called ‘bodybuilding’ and not just ‘weightlifting’.
Building muscle and losing fat means building your body, and we do this by focusing on the muscles being worked, not the movements.
Next time you step into the gym, leave your ego at the door, and focus on working your muscles; do this and the exercises will take care of themselves… not to mention your results will dramatically improve!