How to Get the Most Out of the Gym
With guest blogger Clem Duranseaud
You’ve got your goals, you’ve got your plans, you hit the gym every week, but are you doing everything you can to get the results you desire? Your target is within reach, but if you want results faster, you’ve got to train smarter and make every workout count. As always, we want to help you get there, so we’ve gathered our best tips to help you get the most out of the gym.
1. Hydrate well before the gym
We recommend drinking one litre of water within the two hours preceding your workout. Water helps blood transport, regulates your body temperature, and is necessary for muscle contraction, amongst many other body functions. Hydrating well before a workout will ensure that you are able to perform at the top of your game.
2. Know when to eat before the gym
Some people like to eat a few hours before hitting the gym, some people like to train fasted, and others like to eat closer to their workouts. None of these options are right or wrong; its about finding what works best for you and your lifestyle. What may work for your best friend may not be suitable for you.
Whichever option you choose, ensure you show up to the gym feeling energized and ready to crush your workout.
Eating foods that are easily digestible, including fruits, leafy greens and non-processed carbs are great options to start with.
3. Always have a plan
What are you training today? How many sets and reps of each exercise are you doing? Showing up without a plan means that you will spend more time deciding what to do and less time actually doing it. A good place to start is focusing on the major lifts such as the squat, deadlift, pull ups, bent over row, military press, and bench press.
What goals are you working towards? Are you increasing your strength? Gaining lean muscle mass? Losing weight? Learning a new lift? Knowing what type of workout you want to do is crucial in determining how many reps to complete and how much weight to use.
4. Warm your body up
Spend at least five minutes getting your body temperature up. Keep this as simple as possible; five minutes of your favourite cardio machine will do the trick. You should a have a light sweat on after that time.
Spend another five minutes doing a specific warm up for the workout ahead. If you are doing a squat day, do your squat drills or specific breathing exercises. If you are training upper body, do some shoulder mobility drills. The goal of the specific warm up is to be ready for the heavy lifting ahead.
5. Remember, quality reps matter
As a trainer, I would rather see someone perform two perfect reps than ten poor quality reps. I have a strict rule that poor quality reps don’t count.
Choose a weight that allows you to perform each rep with proper form and go until you reach technical failure instead of muscular failure. This will ensure that your workout is effective and will decrease the chance of injury.
6. Increase the intensity with each set
When doing three sets, follow this intensity protocol:
- Set 1 is a light set, the weight allows you to do each rep perfectly. Focus on feeling your muscles contract the way they are supposed to. For example, if you are doing a squat, make sure that you feel your core, glutes and quads.
- Set 2 is a heavier set that challenges you more than the first. You should still be able to finish all your reps properly but with much more effort.
- Set 3 is your top set, the set that counts. Use a weight that is challenging and maintain proper form the whole time. It is ok to get fewer reps on this set as only good form reps matter. Do not continue your set if your form deteriorates.
A similar approach can be used if you are doing more sets, in which I recommend you do more of the moderate sets or a maximum of two top sets.
7. Track your workouts
Write down on a piece of paper or your phone how many reps you are completing and what weight you are lifting. This will enable you to track your progress and ensure that you are slowly improving over time.
Every week, you can try to increase the intensity of your workouts by adding a few more reps to each set or adding additional weight.
Squat, 3 sets of 8 reps at 100 pounds
Squat, 3 sets of 10 reps at 100 pounds
Squat, 3 sets of 12 reps at 100 pounds
Squat, 3 sets of 8 reps at 100 pounds
Squat, 3 sets of 8 reps at 105 pounds
Squat, 3 sets of 8 reps at 110 pounds
8. Recover properly
Proper nutrition and adequate sleep play an integral role in any training program. Eat a balanced meal after your workout and drink water throughout the day to reduce soreness. If you are busy and cannot eat right after your workout check out Kaizen Natural’s selection of proteins and supplements to help you get all the nutrients you need.
Your body recovers and heals itself when you sleep, so aim to get at least 7 hours of sleep every night to be ready for your next workout.These tips will help you get the most out of your workouts and reach your goals quicker. If you are new to these tips, focus on implementing one or two at a time. Every other week, you should add another one to your routine until you have mastered them all and are efficiently getting the most out of your workouts.