So you’ve been working out for some time now, and the results have started to slow down or you feel like it’s just not as effective as it was in the beginning…don’t worry, you’re not a special case. Results usually come faster when something is new or different…but it doesn’t always HAVE to be a complete overhaul to get things moving again. Some simple changes in your current pre-workout routine, mental approach, and post-workout choices could give you a huge boost and kick-start your results once again going forward.
For most people, “pre-workout” is about throwing some random caffeinated powder in a shaker and putting on some inspiring music while driving to the gym…well, that’s not bad, but there’s a little more to the story if you want to take yourself to the next level. Tomorrow’s gym session really starts the night before. What that means is that if you want to get the most out of yourself and your workout, you need to plan, starting with what you’re eating for dinner the night before (especially if you are an early morning workout person). This is usually the time people eat “junk” and it can severally effect how you perform and respond in the morning. Also, you need to plan your bedtime. Even if you don’t fall asleep exactly on the minute, you should be in bed relaxing your body/mind (aim for 8 hours/night). There’s nothing better for recovery and performance than consistent sleep. As you wake in the morning you should start to think about nutrition AGAIN…what time am I working out, what time will I eat before/after, what am I eating before/after (based on the workout)??? You should also start thinking about how your body feels…do I have any nagging injuries, do I need extra warm-up on something, do I need to be early to prep my mind and focus??? If you are always someone who just shows up to the gym at the last second (or on a whim) and goes straight into it, you will always be reactive instead of proactive. Proactive people usually have better results with anything in life! Bottom line, start taking responsibility for your approach to workout as well as the workout itself.
More mental focus in the Gym.
Most people think they are physically present, and that’s good enough. It’s a start, but for a lot of people that’s like showing up to an important meeting and falling asleep…it does you no good, you HAVE TO engage. You have to block out other things in your life, you have to resist talking to people you know (not altogether, but most of the time), you need to focus on the task at hand…as well as executing it to the best of your ability. You have to almost be a perfectionist in the gym, in terms of thinking/trying, not always in performance. You need to understand the whys, hows, and reasons for certain things (if you don’t know, ask!). You need to know if the focus is on strength, heart-rate, or just plain old doing something the correct way (if you don’t do it correct now). Turn your gym A.D.D. into a positive adjustment and become engaged and immersed in what you’re there for.
MAKE time for recovery.
9/10 People will leave the gym every single day without any cool-down or recovery exercises. They grab their keys and phone and bolt out the door. I know life is busy, but I’m pretty sure that everyone can find an extra 10 mins…at least a few times per week (and no, sitting in a circle with 4 friends half-ass doing a hamstring stretch doesn't count). I’m not saying you need to sign-up for unlimited Yoga sessions, I’m not saying you even need a full 30-60 min class, I’m simply saying that with 10-15 mins (3x a week) you can make a huge difference in how your body feels and performs on a daily basis. This can be as simple as focusing on just one certain muscle per day, it could be a lower body focus one day and an upper body the next, it could be a 10 mins on the foam roller, or 10 minutes of mobility stretching. I promise you that if you take the time to do this, you will move better, feel better, recover better, and enjoy workouts with less agony/suffering from injury or soreness. You will also gain strength and improved functionality, which in turn produces better results. If you aren’t sure what to do, look it up on Youtube, read a credible article, or ASK the person who runs your gym/program.
Nothing is worse than dreading a workout because of feeling tired, unmotivated, injured, sore, or a combination of. Find or make the time to consider at least one of (if not all three) these techniques, I promise it will be worth your efforts.