7 Easy-to-Do Tips That Will Immediately Improve the Quality of Your Workouts
By Skip La Cour
The foundation of any extraordinary achievement in life is built upon specific goals and precise deadlines. We all realize that we perform significantly better and produce much better results when we are clear on the goal we are trying to achieve and possess a sense of urgency to complete it. These same qualities that will allow us to prosper in any area of our lives will make us successful with our training efforts as well. Unfortunately, many people don’t bring the same mental strategies that make them outstanding at other things with them into the gym.
Below are seven simple tips that are easy to implement and will quickly help you take your training efforts to a higher level:
1. Enter the gym with a specific plan. You should never take even one step into the gym without knowing exactly what you are going to do during that day’s workout. Resist the temptation to be guided by your feelings or emotions on a particular training day. As you may already realize, your feelings about anything can change every 10 minutes. Come into the gym with a plan-of-attack and be ready to execute that plan the best you can once it’s established.
2. Be at the gym on time and ready to train. Whether or not you have a training partner waiting for you or must squeeze your workout in before doing something else, always designate a specific time that you will start your training session. This is the time that you will actually begin your first warm-up set—not the time you show up at the gym. As you probably know, it’s sometimes easy to procrastinate the start of a particularly challenging workout or get distracted talking to friends. A precise workout always starts will precision timing. Make a deal with yourself to always arrive at the gym at a designated time and be ready to get the job done.
3. Set a time limit for your workout. You’ll move from exercise to exercise smoothly and efficiently when you establish a time frame that you are committed to work within. It will be easier to focus on the matter-at-hand when you only have so much time to do so. Conversations with friends in the gym that can easily wait until after your workout will become few and far between. Make a game out of meeting the time goal that you’ve established. This is just one more simple way to set the stage for a more productive training session.
4. Know what you want to achieve before your hands even touch “metal.” You should always know the minimum number of repetitions you want to do before your hands even touch a barbell, dumbbell, or training machine apparatus. You should also know the minimum number of calories you want to burn and the minimum distance you want to travel before your feet touch the bike pedals or machine floor mat when doing cardiovascular training. Never let your body dictate what you can do when you can use your powerful mind to bolster its performance. Unless, of course, your body wants to do a little better than the specific goals you’ve set.
5. Be sure to feel the muscle or muscle groups that you want to stimulate. It’s easy to get caught up in moving the weight from “Point A” to “Point B” with very little attention given to the targeted muscles or muscle groups being worked. You get what you focus on in the gym and everywhere else in life. By all means, move the heavy weights if you are striving for maximum muscle growth in the shortest period of time. Just make sure you don’t lose sight of the fact that you only want certain muscles to do the work. Your body will instinctively look for the path of least resistance and recruit whatever muscles it can to move the weight from “Point A” to “Point B”—unless you consciously make an effort not to let it do so.
6. Evaluate your performance immediately after your workout. Every workout can set the stage to make your next one even better. While it’s still fresh in your mind, take one or two minutes to assess your training performance. You want to reinforce what you’ve done well so you’ll repeat those things you’ve singled out—and curtail what didn’t go well before you’ve established bad habits. We all have different ideas of what makes a workout good, bad, or somewhere in between. Well? How did you do? Whatever you have identified is most important to you when training, evaluate how close you actually came to accomplishing your objectives. Make a point to make this assessment before you take even one step outside of the gym.
7. Think about your next workout before you leave the gym. There’s no need to get really involved in this particular step but do take the time to think about your next workout. You’ll set your mental “wheels” in motion with a simple preview of what’s to come during your next training session. Trust me. You’ll be astonished with how effectively your subconscious brain will prepare you for your next productive workout over the next day or so—with very little effort on your part. You’ll discover that this tip is a great investment of the last 30 to 60 seconds you spend in the gym.
Specific goals and precise deadlines are the cornerstones to all notable accomplishments. Use these seven easy-to-do mental tricks and you will undoubtedly catapult your training efforts to a new and higher level.
Visit Skip La Cour’s website at www.skiplacour.com