Maximize Your Gym Sessions Today With FitFanatic
If your New Year’s resolution has you planning to lift more, run more, or sweat more, chances are, you’re looking to do it in the most efficient and effective way possible. Sure, showing up may be half the battle, but the other half of the battle is made up of hard work, consistency, and training smart.
Below are a number of ways to maximize results with every gym session you endure.
Before Hitting the Gym
Time Your Nutrition.
You don’t want to find yourself arriving at the gym feeling famished, derailing your focus on your session, then having to purchase a sugary beverage in or nearby the gym to increase your energy levels for you to be able to eventually somehow power through your session.
The first and most important step is to plan your nutrition in advance, especially if you’re coming from your day’s commitments. For example, if you’ve planned to train on a work night, it’s best you eat a bigger lunch and then fit a snack in before you make your way to the iron paradise so that you get to the gym feeling pumped.
Enter the Gym with A Plan.
Preparing a programme of exercises before you step reach the gym can help you avoid meandering purposelessly around while you try figure out what to do next. Such disorientation adds time to your workout and leads to your heart rate dropping. Know what exercises you’re going to do, where you’re going to do them, and in what order.
Depending on whether you hit the gym at peak hours, it’s also for your best interest to have alternative exercises in mind just in case the machine or floor space you were planning on using is occupied. Rotate the order of your workout or use different equipment then come back to the exercise(s) you had in mind when that space becomes available again.
Arrival at The Gym.
Start Your Workout by Stretching.
Dynamic stretches are a core component of any warm-up. By stretching you gradually raise your body temperature and heart rate which warms up your muscles, readying your body for activity. Warming up this way also helps improve your range of motion, so you can get deeper into each exercise to reap the full strengthening benefits of each exercise.
Master Foam Rolling and Do It Often.
Foam rolling is another excellent way to improve your range of motion, so you can get more out of exercises such as squats, lunges and push-ups. Foam rolling helps relieve tightness by releasing knots your fascia, the thin sheath of tissue that surrounds your muscles. This tightness gets in the way of your ability to do exercises with a full range of motion, which may limit the benefits of the exercise.
Foam rolling before a workout (and when you have spare time) is a good habit to get into to make every gym session more effective. When you roll, make sure to go slowly and pay special attention to any spots that feel particularly tight, like your hips or calves.
Pick the Correct Weight.
Choosing a weight that’s heavy enough (but not too heavy) will challenge your muscles just enough to grow stronger. If a weight is too light, you’ll still get some of the health benefits from moving your body, but you won’t see your strength or fitness improve.
Choosing the right weight can take some trial and error. In general, you want a weight where you can finish all of the reps in your final set of exercises, but feel like you’re really struggling on the last two or three reps. If you can finish that final set easily, it’s time to increase the weight. If you can’t finish all of the reps in a set, move down to a lighter weight.
Amp Up Exercises by Adding Weights.
In the heat of your pump while your heart-rate is racing, adding in weights to every set progression gives your muscles an extra challenge. If you feel as if exercises like lunges and push-ups have become a breeze to get through, add a set of dumbbells to enhance the effectiveness of the exercise.
Time and Again, Vary Your Rep Ranges
Ever so often you need to shock the body by interchanging when you’d perform exercises; ensure now and then that your workouts are varied. This can be done by to a single rep range for weeks on end but rather working across a broad spectrum. Additionally, according to the goal you’re working towards, employing a lower end of rep range such as 5-8 reps for two to four weeks works on improving maximum strength, whereas a slightly higher range of 8 to 12 reps will enhance size and definition.
Maximize Your Gym Session Time by Minimizing Rest Between Exercises.
Cut down your rest intervals. By taking minimal rest, you’re automatically upping the intensity of your workout and keeping your heart rate elevated throughout your weightlifting. This cardio challenge trains your body (and mind) to work efficiently and persevere through fatigue. When you do cardiovascular training regularly, your body gets better at delivering fresh oxygen to your muscles, so you’ll actually get better at pushing through your workouts even when you’re tired.
The right amount of rest varies depending on the workout and the person, but as a rule of thumb, you should aim to take just enough that you can go hard during your next set, but not so much that you’re totally recovered. A quick disclaimer: If you’re already feeling this way during your strength workouts, you might not want to cut down your rest intervals any further; too little rest won’t allow your muscles to recover enough to be ready for your next strength set.
Be sure to hydrate throughout the day. It takes a couple of hours for your body to absorb the water, so you can’t just drink right before exercise. Make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day. Through training as well, losing 2% of your body weight in fluid can decrease performance by up to 25%. Drinking water during exercise is essential if you want to get the most out of your workout and feel good while you’re doing it.
Focus on Perfecting Your Form at All Times to Target the Correct Muscles During Each Exercise.
One way to make every exercise more effective is to think about the muscles you’re aiming to engage, rather than mindlessly going through the motion. If you want to hit the muscles correctly, it’s very essential that you maintain proper form through all exercises. For example, if you’re doing a squat, think about your glutes powering you through each rep to make sure you’re using good form and the muscles you’re trying to engage are actually doing the work rather than letting other muscle groups take over. Every two or so weeks of training, do a thorough form check to make sure you aren’t developing any bad habits.
Instead of continuously having exercises where you’re sitting down or holding on to something where you’re stabilized, it’s more effective to do them standing up, or on one leg, or on a Swiss exercise ball. These types of exercises force you to balance yourself while lifting, which brings your core muscles into play. This gives you a stronger overall body and allows you to lift more over time.
Incorporate Compound Movements to Hit More Muscles at Once.
Compound exercises recruit multiple muscle groups and two or more joints at once. That’s opposed to isolation exercises, which target one muscle group such as bicep curls. Because they help you get more done in less time, they’re great for increasing overall muscle mass, and also burn more calories because they require more energy output.
Compound exercises can be single moves that put multiple groups to work at the same time e.g. lunges and squats, or they can be two exercises superset together like bicep curls to shoulder presses.
To make the most of the time you put into the gym, you should aim for compound moves to take up 70 to 80 percent of your workout and target specific muscles you want to work with isolation exercise as resting time.
Try Following A Specific Training Program Tailored to Your Goals.
If you have a specific goal behind your visits to the gym, consider following a specific program you or a professional has created for that goal. Doing similar workouts over time makes your body adapt to that challenge by getting fitter and stronger.
This is exactly what you want when you have a specific goal, such as a heavier deadlift or a faster race time. If you switch up your workout routine too often, though, you’re not allowing your body to adapt in a specific way, which doesn’t necessarily equate to your workouts being worthless, they just aren’t fixated to your goal.
Take Care of Post-Workout Nutrition
Outside of your actual workout session, you need to make sure you’re looking after your post-workout nutrition as what you eat after you work out is highly important. What you eat in the hours following your workout will set you up for the next workout session you do, so this step cannot be skipped! You have a 2-hour window in which it’s the optimum time to take on some protein and carbs to refuel you and repair your muscles after a tough workout.
Try to eat a healthy, balanced meal as soon as you get home so that you can maximize your results and make the most of the time you’ve just spent in the gym. If you do not eat at all, a lot of your efforts will be wasted as your body will start to break down the muscle you’ve just worked so hard to build in order to recover. So, purchase a quality protein and get a fast-acting carbohydrate in immediately after every workout is completed for best overall results.