If you’re putting in the effort with your workouts then you’re going to want to see results. After all, what you do in the gym matters, but what you do before and after is important too. There are many ways you can maximize the results you’re seeing from your workouts.
Get some sleep.
Every system in your body benefits from plenty of sleep, when you doze off your body goes into recovery mode and it helps your muscles repair and grow. So make sure you’re getting in seven-plus hours of sleep a night and give your body every chance to recover so you can get back to it sooner.
Fuel your body.
What and when you eat matters, you probably already know that or you wouldn’t be here. Your body needs sugar (carbs) for energy so aim to eat 1–2 hours before your workout. If you’re hitting the gym on an empty stomach, your body will still be looking for energy, and ultimately it will find it by burning our muscle mass.
Warm up right.
Prepping your body with a warm up helps make you can perform to your max. Using a dynamic warmup increases your core temperature, improves the flow of blood to your muscles, reduces the risk of injury and prepares your body to move. This will mean warming up with movements that take you in different directions, heights and uses the whole body.
Get in the zone.
Put together a playlist that really pumps you up and plug in your headphones. It will help you drown out the hustle and bustle of the outside world and help push you through your workout.
Side note: Put down the phone, your emails can wait, so can Instagram. Dedicate your time in the gym to you.
Concentrate on your breathing and keep it in sync with your workout. For example, during a deadlift, inhale when you set up, and exhale when it’s time to work. Small changes to your breathing help you to work out more efficiently, and help build new neuronal networks in your brain strengthening your mind-body connection.
Think about what you’re doing.
Studies have shown a connection between our minds and our bodies, so as you’re training, really think about the muscle that you’re working. Focus on the actual movement and use visualization techniques to help push yourself through challenging exercises or weight loads.
No one likes an ego, if you want to see real growth and results, you need to check it at the door. Everyone has seen that big dude at the gym who lifts heavy but his form is a mess. Yeah, that’s what you look like when you bring your ego to the gym.
Speak to any professional athlete and they’ll tell you that training is humbling, sure it’s not always comfortable and you don’t always love it but it’s about dedication and getting out of your comfort zone, lifting one extra rep, adding a tiny bit more weight and sometimes failing in order to see progress and growth.
Stretch and cool down.
You need to stretch and unwind, your life is probably hectic, between work, the gym, a social life, it all gets to be a lot and your workout adds to that. Avoid burning out and injuring yourself by taking time to relax and stretch, plus, by lengthening your muscles, moving your joints you’re doing yourself a favour in the long run.
Track your progress.
The best way to see progress is to take note of what you’re doing, the exercises, reps, weights and distances you completed in your training, what you’ve been eating, how long you’ve been sleeping and how much water you’re drinking. This log will help you stay on track, see what you’re doing next, where you came from and if you’re pushing too hard or not enough.
Never skip refuelling your body after a workout. There is a 30–45 minute window after you work out when your body is looking for carbohydrates and protein to replenish and restore what you’ve used up. If you don’t eat after you workout, chances are you’ll feel starving in a short time, which means you’ll most likely grab whatever is easiest, fastest and typically sweet.
Pro tip: Post workout opt for foods with potassium to help you recover fast.