7 TOP TIPS - how to get the most out of your WORKOUT
Just like rest, preparation makes a huge impact on the quality of your training. Following these steps, that l am about to tell you, will make your fitness journey that much easier and flowing.
These steps will help you lower your body's cortisol levels, which affects your training negatively. Cortisol lowers your mental focus, even though it is a hormone that makes you more awake. This is because your body has to use energy to wrong things. This means you will not be able to get the most out of your workout at the gym.
High cortisol levels obstruct other hormonal functions, which for example are important for recovery and training (especially for building muscle).
And it's not just about preventing stress prior walking to the gym, but it's about making fitness and health that much easier to keep as part of your life. Here's how to get the most out of your training.
1. Warm up / activation of muscles and joints, allows for greater range of motion and gets your body ready to do the work it needs to lift heavy. What type of warm up you may ask ? For weightlifting l recommend activation with resistance bands / bodyweight (5 min is enough). Wake up your muscles. Focus on the contraction of the muscle. Cardio type warm up (10-30 min on a treadmill) does not fully activate the type of muscles we use in weightlifting to build muscle, hence you get better activation through active muscle contractions with empty barbell, resistance bands and opening of joints.
2. This one is important to understand. Going into every workout with high expectations can be very exhausting mentally and eventually lead to lack of motivation, but by accepting the fact that workout is sometimes just a workout and that's it. It won't always blow your mind, sometimes you will feel like you're giving 120% of yourself but it's not good enough. Those times accept that and understand that this workout still counts and you did well. Don't stay and overdo a workout, but walk into every session understanding that however you perform today is the best you could.
3. Visualizing a workout that's ahead of you. Meaning that you mentally go through the reps and sets you're about do. This will stop you going through the emotions at the gym. It is all psychological; by visualizing yourself at the gym it becomes a more familiar task, that doesn't stress or overwhelm you. Visualise yourself smiling between the heavy sets and it will become easier to perform those heavy lifts. You will train with clear mind.
4. Focus - focus on the task in hand and leave any worries behind you during the workout. You deserve the break from whatever is on your mind. Not focusing solely on the task in front of you takes away a lot from your performance levels. This tip can be carried out to other parts of life as well. When in the gym - focus on training, when around people - focus on socialising especially when around the people closest to you, when you get any alone time - focus on yourself.
6. Pre-workout / caffeine / small snack. The power of getting something to your mouth is huge and adds that much more into your training. Caffeine itself can lift up your mood and adds to your endurance levels. Many pre-workouts have added caffeine which makes them an alternative for black coffee.
Although, getting into the habit of having a pre-workout before your every gym session is not something l recommend, it should be something to boost your workout every so often. Also consider the scoop size, do you REALLY require that full scoop of pre-workout or could half-a-scoop perhaps do the trick?
Sometimes a small snack gets your glucose energy production rolling (like an oat bar, banana, sport drink, rice cake, rice cake with chocolate or peanut butter.. yum yum. It also lifts up your mood, so a small healthy snack just before workout is a great idea.
5. Adequate sleep and rest helps you to recover faster, thus allowing your body and mind to be fully prepared for your next workout. It will help you focus and your mind-muscle connection is stronger, when you're well rested. Other huge benefits, like functioning nervous system and mood lift, come from sleep.
6. Balanced and healthy nutrition. This will help you to recharge, recover and stay positive. Read more here, how should you eat depending on your goal ( whether your goal is to lose weight, build muscle, get lean or just stay healthy and happy).
If you do not eat enough, you can become like a hangry person and that's not fun at all, not even gym! Especially gym!
7. Can't forget the benefits of music. Give yourself the kind of music that makes your mood happy and ready to workout. It can be anything you like, some days it's rap and the next day it's 90's R&B and even acoustic music to help you focus and relax better on some day. Choose whatever, there's no rules, an effective workout comes from conscious focus on working the muscle. Not from being hyped, you can be calm and and still train your muscles hard and heavy.