Today's blog post is going to instantly improve your workouts. No extra money invested, no massive technical leaps. All simple stuff but that's exactly why i'm going to highlight these points because they are so simple and easy that they're often neglected.
This can make or break your workout. We've all been to one of those gyms that plays very vanilla, wishy washy, background music and what effect does that have on your workout? Yep, a very vanilla, wishy washy one! If your gym's playlist is uninspiring, get your own playlists updated with whatever gives you that lift and surge of energy; whether it be pop, electro house or abba, it doesn't matter, as long as it works for you. Also, invest in some good headphones. Your going to use them several times a week given your current gym regime so it's worth paying out for some quality audio equipment. I recently got myself some of the wireless dre beats powerbeats and it's safe to say i wont be going back to my tangled run of the mill apple ones anytime soon!
2. TIMING AND REST PERIODS
Keeping track of your rest periods should be a massive part of adhering to your workout plan and will vary depending on your goal. With that said i rarely see anyone being conscious of their rest periods. Not only is it important scientifically in order to maximise your workouts but it will also keep you focused and less likely to dawdle around the gym, spend half your session chatting, texting and generally wasting your time.
Being adequately hydrated is one of the biggest factors that is going to determine your performance. Don't worry about protein shakes, pre-workout supplements and coconut water until you have mastered drinking actual water! Know one should be in the gym without fluids. Your muscles are compromised of over 70% water and if you want them to work the best they can to give you the results you want you better be topping them up throughout your training sessions!
4. PLANNING & PROGRAMMING
If you walk into the gym without a plan odds are your going to gravitate to your strengths and avoid your weaknesses; ultimately leaving you with an unbalanced physique thats probably going to cause you some kind of injury or postural issue further down the line. A lack of planning also sets you up to have a lack of motivation and any real direction while your in the gym, leading to lack lustre sessions and eventually becoming disinterested due to your lack of results. Builders have plans to build houses. Entrepreneurs have plans launch businesses. And you need a plan to create the physique you want.
5. MAGIC REPS
I talk about these to my clients all the time! Most people will stop their set when the 'pump' kicks in, they don't feel they can do much more, it's starting to get quite painful, lactic acid is building up, and then that's it, set over. They stop right at the point where the body feels like its getting near it's limit, and this is the problem. This is why progress stagnates. If you expect your body to change, you have to give it a reason to change, you have to challenge it with a stimulus it isn't used to (you may go a step further and implement more advanced techniques e.g. dropsets, restpauses, isoholds etc). To feel a mediocre burn isn't enough when seeking big results. Now i wouldn't expect everyone to tap into these magic reps every set of every exercise of every session but theres a time and a place. The first session back squatting after being out of action with a knee injury is not the time. However on a fixed machine, in a low risk position after a re-feed day, go for it! Look around your gym at anyone who's in awesome shape and i guarantee you they train HARD and they will find plenty of magic reps in their workouts! So i challenge you, on your next training session, on the last set of each exercise (providing it's a safe stable one) get zoned in and go to absolute failure as if your life depends on it. You'll surprise yourself.