We all have good and bad days at the gym, or the track, the yoga studio, or wherever it might be you decide to break a sweat. On the best of them, we feel as if we can give all of our enthusiasm and pour all of our energy into optimizing our performance and truly reaching new heights in what we achieve. On the worst of them, on the other hand, exercise feels almost like torture. And yet, on both, there’s so much you can do to tweak your habits and to maximize your energy levels so that you can truly overcome certain workout obstacles.
Since we all have different lifestyles and our workout styles vary, you’ll find that there’s no cookie-cutter solution to help you optimize your results. However, certain fundamental principles are essential for all of us, and you can use them to get the most of yourself even when it feels like you’re tapped out and all you can do is bow out. Don’t throw your towel in just yet – here are a few ideas to perfect your workouts.
Come up with a detailed strategy
Too many people join a gym without a clear vision as to what they want to achieve. Some vague goal might exist, such as “I want to lose weight,” or “I want to build muscle”, or “I want to grow stronger,” but there’s often no detailed guide with milestones that are measurable or easy to follow over time. In a sense, there’s no way you can know if you’re truly giving it your best if you have nothing to compare your performance to.
Before you start your training sessions, make sure to create a detailed, long-term plan, together with short-term measurable goals you can keep an eye on. Incorporate progressive overload, in the form of maximizing your reps, sets, and weight on the barbell, and those will be another tracking system to help you understand if you’re doing your best. Above all, listen to your body when you’re low on energy and scale back down until you feel better.
Fill those gaps in your nutrition
Now that you have an actual strategy to follow, you can complement it with an eating regime that will reinforce those goals with proper nutrition. Food is your primary source of energy, and you should understand that your goals can only be achieved when you tweak your nutrition accordingly.
More often than not, active individuals fail to stick to their daily nutritional requirements, which is where high-quality supplements can step in to help you get the most out of your nutrition to boost your exercise performance. Whether you need to increase your protein intake with protein powder, or you need a pre-workout beverage to elevate your energy, you’ll be able to fuel your training with the right eating routine.
Optimize your recovery
Most eager fitness enthusiasts firmly believe that their progress happens at the gym. Alas, it happens in the hours you actually finish your workout, head home, and go about your day – how you treat that remainder of your time will determine how successful you are at reaching those workout results of yours. Simply put, your body builds muscle, which will then burn more fat, during your downtime, and predominantly during sleep.
Even if you push yourself to the limit at the gym and you eat like a pro athlete, supplements and all, you’ll still fail to maximize your potential if you don’t allocate enough time to rest, sleep, and recovery methods that suit you. Consider an occasional massage to get rid of those knots in your over-worked muscle tissue, and add a few active recovery hours into your rest days in the form of walking.
Try adding supersets to your training
As for the training itself, traditional training systems are always effective, but you can give them a little twist to keep your body alert and ready for a faster, more difficult pace. For example, instead of simply going through your exercises one by one, why not group them into complementary sets of three or more before you go for a brief break? For example, start your superset with squats, move immediately onto Arnold shoulder presses, and give your lower body a burn with some glute isolators such as glute kicks.
You can apply this principle to all of your exercises to create cycles of three or more movements before you take a short one-minute break. When you feel comfortable with the system, start increasing the number of sets one week at a time. Rest assured, your results will skyrocket!
Perfect your warmup and cool down
Much like with your recovery strategy and your nutrition, other elements surrounding your workout can have a tremendous impact on the workout itself. How you warm up is a perfect example, since even professional athletes cannot afford to start their training without warming up properly first.
With the right pre-workout ritual in the form of warmups, you will reinforce that mind-muscle connection, elevate your heart rate, push blood into your muscles, and activate them properly for your workout to start. The same goes for your cool down, as you need to spend some time stretching when you’re done with training in order to prevent injuries, and prepare your body for the next workout that comes.
As you can see, there are many different aspects of your lifestyle that can impact the success of your workouts. Use these tips to boost your training potential and to stay healthy, and results will inevitably ensue.