Want to feel stronger every time you leave the gym? Every workout adds up and builds up your muscles. However, some workouts provide a better impact than others.
The hours you put in the gym only tell part of the story. A poorly optimized workout plan can halt your initial gains. Enhancing your workout will increase gym performance.
Higher performance gets you closer to your fitness goals. Gym enthusiasts strive for continuous growth. Use these easy strategies to boost your workout.
#1: Treat Your Body Right Outside of the Gym
Far more goes into peak performance than daily exercise. Consuming the wrong food and drinks can eradicate your gains.
Treating your body right makes you more energetic in the gym. You can more easily push through the pain and achieve personal bests.
Mindset powers you through the workouts, but your mind and body combine to form one entity. An exhausted, malnourished body will not achieve high gym performance.
Get Proper Sleep
Sleep allows your body to recover from the rigors of the gym. Sleeping lowers your blood pressure, giving your heart a breather. Sleep also reduces inflammation.
Poor sleeping habits will mess up your body’s internal clock. Your hunger hormones rise as you get less sleep. This event triggers overeating.
If your fitness goals revolve around losing weight, get sufficient sleep. While the number ranges for each person, 7-8 hours of sleep is adequate for most people. Taking naps in the middle of the day provides a recharge.
If your smartphone’s battery fell below 10%, you would charge it. Treat your body the same way by getting the necessary rest.
Everything you put into your body impacts your gym performance. You’ll need foods with carbs and protein.
Many fruits such as oranges and watermelons help with gym performance. You can also slurp through some yogurt to build strong muscles.
You should avoid foods high in fat, protein, and fiber before a workout. Although many foods in these categories are healthy, they take a long time to digest. Digesting these foods mid-workout will hurt your workout intensity.
Get in Your Liquids
Proper hydration will help you during a workout. Stick with water and electrolytes. Continue to hydrate even if you do not feel thirsty.
When you workout, you lose water reserves in your body. Drinking water in between reps will keep the energy flowing.
Avoid drinks that weaken your ability to perform at a high level. Focus on the basics.
#2: Stretch Before and After Your Workout
You risk injury if you rush into the gym without using a pre-workout routine. Stretching before the workout warms up your muscles.
Don’t go over the top with your stretching. A warm-up routine gives you a foundation for a higher workout intensity after the warm-up.
Assess how your body feels and prioritize sore and stiff areas. High knees and arm circles can help most people. You can also use a foam roller or tennis ball to stretch out more joints.
Ease into the stretching routine and listen to your body. You should not feel any pain when stretching.
If you feel pain, consider walking out of the gym. Pushing through an injury can lead to significant setbacks. Relax and breathe calmly throughout the stretching session.
Resist your urge to rush into the workout. Stretching for a few minutes beforehand will minimize injury risk and increase performance.
Stretch After Each Workout Too
Many workout enthusiasts forget about stretching after each workout. These enthusiasts completed a high-intensity workout. Many want to lie on the ground or head home.
Stretching after each workout allows you to recover and get stronger. Stretching at the end of your session increases flexibility and mobility.
After a workout, your muscles get tight. If you don’t loosen them up, you become more prone to an injury. A few stretches at the end of your workout can keep you on the right track.
The post-workout stretch represents the most challenging part. It’s easier to stop and celebrate the workout’s completion. You’re better than that.
Stretching at the end will improve your blood circulation. Improved blood circulation assists with muscle recovery and repair.
Lactic acid makes your muscles feel fatigued. Stretching at the end of workouts lets you eliminate lactic acid buildup.
#3: Set Fitness Goals
What’s the point of going to the gym or doing that extra rep? Why do you show up day in and day out?
Setting fitness goals gives you a reason to ramp up your workout intensity. These goals give you the extra fight to continue when others stop.
Set goals within different time ranges. Start with the 1-year goal and break it down into quarters. How many pounds should you lose each quarter if you want to lose 20 pounds this year?
Setting benchmarks along the path to fitness goals preserves your focus. If you only set 1-year goals without anything in between, staying focused is hard. This lack of focus results in many failed New Year’s resolutions.
Focus on What you Can Control
You can’t control everything. If you want to lose 20 pounds this year, you can’t wave a magic wand. Break down controllable action steps to achieve your fitness goals.
Doing push-ups will help you lose weight. If you can do five push-ups right now, strive to do 10 push-ups without stopping. You have more control over gym reps than game-day performance.
Determine which reps give you the greatest chance of achieving your fitness goals. Then, create goals around rep completions. When you focus on what you can control, you get a better chance of achieving your goals.
#4: Listen to Music
Music affects our mood. It makes us happy, sad, angry, and motivated. Some songs created all of those emotions at the same time.
Training music can keep you motivated. The right song can help you fight through your last few reps.
Go into the gym knowing your music playlist. If you don’t know which song to play, you’ll waste time in the gym. You might reach the end of a song and not know what to listen to next.
Create multiple playlists, so you have variety. Some gym enthusiasts shuffle their playlists, so each song is a surprise. Other enthusiasts play the songs in the same order, so they know what’s coming next.
Not everyone listens to music when working out, but it can help. Make sure you use wireless headphones when listening to music. The wire can get distracting and take you off your game.
Holding your phone while doing the workout will hurt your performance. Rest your phone on the ground or a stand. You shouldn’t have your smartphone in your pocket while doing reps.
If you get distracted by the music, consider working out without it.
#5: Train with Others
Training with others makes every gym session more enjoyable. You can talk with a friend instead of feeling isolated. If no one wants to train with you, make friends in the gym.
When you train with others, you want to perform well. You don’t want to look bad in front of a buddy. Your buddy also won’t want to look bad in front of you.
You will each perform better knowing the other is watching. You’ll get inspired by each other’s reps and challenge each other.
Some training buddies turn into rivals. You’ll try to outdo each other with push-ups.
If you each do 50 push-ups, one of you will get down and do push-up #51. Then, the other will do two more push-ups to claim the alpha status. Rivalries like these make you both better.
Train with These Three Groups
The people you train with matter just as much as training with others. Training with buddies of varying skill sets will lead to the most development.
You want to surround yourself with the following:
- People who are better than you
- People who are at your level
- People who you are better than
Surrounding yourself with people better than you will inspire you to raise your game. You’ll do extra reps in front of these people. However, you can lose confidence if you only surround yourself with superior athletes.
People at the same level are rivals. You can do the workouts together and push each other. If you’re hitting your limit, you know your rival is also hitting their limit.
You both push each other to new heights. You may have nearly identical fitness goals.
When you train with people you can surpass, you become the teacher. You inspire them to perform better and provide guidance. When you provide guidance, you remember some of the basics.
All three groups of people will raise your bar. Only finding yourself with one group can limit your performance.
#6: Read Books about Professional Athletes
We recently discussed the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people. You may not get a professional athlete to join you in the gym. However, you can read their books.
Professional athletes often discuss their workout routines and best practices in their books. They also discuss injuries and mistakes made along the way.
The lessons in these books can help you approach the gym differently. You may learn about a new workout routine by reading these books.
Some professional athletes pay millions of dollars to optimize their workout routine. They know the best exercises to expand their muscles and performance. Instead of making that type of investment, you can buy their books.
Most importantly, these books serve as inspiration. Every professional athlete has an inspiring story.
They had to outcompete thousands of people to reach the pros. Becoming the best in the pros requires outperforming thousands of the best athletes.
On some days, you won’t feel good about your progress. It’s normal to have regrets and doubts. We all do.
Professional athletes experience those same feelings. Seeing them rise above their challenges will inspire you to do the same.
#7: Vary Your Intensity
Approaching each workout with the same intensity will hurt your performance. Some workouts come with high intensity.
Other workouts act as recoveries. Easy days put your body in a better condition to thrive on the next intense workout.
If you overexert each time in the gym, you risk getting injured. You also give your body less time to recover in between workouts. Your body will quickly recover from a light workout.
Taking off days will also help your gym performance. Some people spend too much time in the gym. Eventually, those hours become counterproductive.
During your intense workouts, use intervals to spread the intensity. Separate challenging reps with a light jog or 1-2 minute break. These breaks allow you to stay in your intense mode longer.
As you vary your intensity, listen to your body. Your body gains top priority over your goals, buddies, and personal trainers.
If your body does not feel good, do not push it. You do not want to overextend yourself and get injured.
However, you should also challenge yourself. You will understand the difference between injury and workout fatigue over time. Push through the workout fatigue and stop if you feel injury fatigue.
Get More Out of Each Workout
Each workout allows you to improve yourself. You get a little closer to your fitness goals.
Along the way, you can meet many incredible people. They will inspire you to do the extra reps and see more in yourself.
We offer group exercise classes to surround you with like-minded people. Schedule a free group class today.