Are you making the most of your time at the gym?
Or, to put it another way: are you getting the results you want?
If the answer is No, then check-out these 5 simple hacks; guaranteed to turn your less-than-optimal routine into a game-changer!
Leave Your Phone at the Door:
Maybe I’m just old-school, but back in the day there wasn’t the constant lure of social media that we’re now subjected to.
When it was time to train, we hit the gym hard, got our work done, and left. We didn’t spend any more time than was necessary and rarely spoke, as our sole purpose of being there was self-improvement.
If that sounds anti-social, then I guess it was. Yet, no more so than spending half your time glued to your phone?
We all go to the gym to get results; to bring forth a dream that we hope will become reality. The good news is that impressive physical transformations are absolutely possible. However, they require focus and determination; both of which are not going to happen without a strong mental connection to your body.
To get the most out of every workout, you must be present, not distracted, to truly feel your muscles being flushed with blood and establishing the mind-muscle connection that’s key to driving your progress.
You simply cannot do this when your head is not 100% in the game.
The gym is no place for distractions. Especially as very many of us struggle to find the time to go in the first place. Surely, there is nothing on social-media that’s worth compromising that sacred time?
For goodness sake, turn off your phone and leave it outside.
Don’t Train in a Pack:
Sometimes it’s nice to have company when you train. Someone to offer encouragement when the going gets tough. A great training partner can be a motivator, a confidante, an ally.
Although, it seldom follows that you can multiply this effect. As, when it comes to multiple training partners, it very much is a case of more=less.
Maybe, just maybe, three of you can make it work; cutting down rest-periods and driving through the workout. But any more than that and it’s just a waste of valuable time.
Gym-time needn’t be entirely anti-social, but if you came here merely to hang-out then you’re only taking up space.
Reducing your rest periods is one fantastic way of increasing intensity, maintaining focus and building muscular endurance. You don’t have this option when you’re in a pack.
Do Something Different:
If you’re serious about making progress, then it doesn’t make sense to continue with the same program indefinitely.
Progress is achieved when the body is forced to adapt. We do this via strategic overload. However, it’s not possible to continually add more and more weight. Sooner or later you’re going to plateau.
One of the more popular training methods at the moment is the 5×5 method, where a heavy weight is used for 5 sets of 5 repetitions. It’s a valid approach, no doubt. But let me ask you this: when was the last time you did 5 sets of 15 repetitions, or even 20? Have you ever done sets where the main focus was on the negative/lowering aspect of the movement?
There are so many training methods that have merit and are definitely worth exploring. Who knows, you may be able to break through a plateau in no time at all.
Adaptation isn’t just achieved with heavier weights. Intensity, in general, is probably the biggest factor; especially if you’ve been training for a while. And it’s here that things become really exciting, as there are so many ways to add intensity to your workouts!
Vary your routine, explore other options, do something different.
Don’t Hold Back:
All I’ll say is that if you are still able to hold a conversation during an exercise – never-mind hold a phone and text – then you simply aren’t working hard enough. At least not if progress is what you truly desire.
We all know that hard work pays off and that those who achieve their dreams are an example to us all. They rarely hold back; wearing their achievements with pride.
It’s exactly the same equation when it comes to health and fitness. That’s not to say that it’s always going to be hard. On the contrary, once a standard has been achieved, maintenance can be relatively easy.
I believe that we are all capable of achieving our Maximum Natural Potential. It’s simply a question of effort, and effort costs nothing.
Therefore, if effort is the price to pay, why would anyone hold back?
Have a Plan, and a Contingency:
Every time you walk into the gym: know what you want to achieve.
- Having a vision of your desired outcome/physical goal.
- Knowing which exercises you intend to perform.
- Having a strategy in place for the session: sets, reps, weights.
This creates a mindset that connects you to the core reason for your walking through the door. It prevents indecision and stops you freewheeling through the next 30-60 minutes.
I mean, why wouldn’t you leverage your time to your best advantage?
That said: you must have a contingency plan.
I used to get really pissed-off, having a clear workout plan, and just when I needed to move on to the next exercise, I found that someone was already using the piece of equipment I wanted. Especially if they were on their phone or in a pack (enough said).
Having a ‘plan-B’ allows your workout to continue without stress. You still get to maximise your time at the gym while taking frustration out of the equation. You still get a great workout, and as a bonus, your muscles receive some variety and different stimulus.
Contingency planning is actually a great strategy for life, and as your time in the gym is in support of your wider health goals; doesn’t it make sense to make this particular hack a priority?
Read more: 10 Reasons Why You Need a Health Coach