As fitness enthusiasts and wannabe athletes, we are always looking for new and different ways to get results faster. Whether it is new workout gear, some crazy new supplement, or a fresh workout routine, we are always on the lookout for little shortcuts to achieving our fitness goals.
Instead of trying to make more time in the day or stocking up on new gear, here are 5 ways to squeeze the most from the time you are already putting in at the gym:
1. Set daily goals.
Having challenges with your workouts, benchmarks to strive for and to hit are a foolproof way to keep you interested and motivated. Set daily and weekly goals, while also keeping looser, long-term goals. Get into the habit of setting goals for each set and exercise; it will keep you engaged and focused, instead of merely trying to hold on or survive your workout.
2. Have a plan for your workout.
I cannot emphasize this one enough. On the days where I have walked into the gym without a clear idea of what I want to do, I find my workout far less effective. Small talk with friends becomes a distraction, I am taking twice as many trips to the water fountain and not completing the number of sets I usually would, and I generally find myself less focused. Having a clear plan when you walk into the gym means that you go in, cross off the exercises and sets you have written out, and get the heck out and on with your day.
3. Have a pre-workout routine so that you are primed.
Being ready to go when you walk into the gym is a great feeling. That is why pre-workout supplements are so popular. They do the work of getting jacked up for you. If you don’t feel the need to take RocketFuel9000 to get jacked up for the gym, try setting up a pre-workout routine. I also find that having a routine pre-gym helps pound procrastination into the ground. Starting my pre-workout routine, which involves a few arm swings at home, taking a protein shake, getting into my gym clothes, and pounding Eminem’s “Till I Collapse,” takes little willpower and almost always results in me getting my butt out the door and to the gym.
4. Record your results.
As I have discussed previously here on Lifehack, keeping a workout log can help you big time with achieving your fitness goals. It acts as a blueprint for your workout, gives you tangible goals to swing for, can help you stay motivated, and a whole lot more. In order to see gains at the gym, whether it is your aerobic work or lifting more and for longer, the key to both is progressive overload. Writing out your results means you know exactly how much you did last week, giving you a clear benchmark to tackle and surpass, ensuring that you are continually seeing gains.
5. You plant the seed at the gym, and your results grow and sprout in the time afterwards.
Now that the hard work is done at the gym, here comes the important and moderately less sexy part. Recovery. As the old saying goes, muscles are destroyed at the gym, and built while in bed. Adequate recovery means that you are properly satisfying the needs of your body post-workout, staying hydrated, and also getting lots of rest. The latter is usually the first thing to go when we find our lives getting saturated with work, family, friends, and more work, but it is absolutely essential for proper recovery. Getting eight hours of sleep doesn’t make you lazy or less motivated, rather, it means you are taking care of your body and giving yourself the best chance possible to get back to the gym sooner.