So you have just started working out. But finding the motivation and time to go the gym is tough. On top of that, you are not really seeing the results you were hoping for. Sound familiar? You are not alone.
By implementing and following 7 simple but proven tips, your training efficiency will explode, and in like manner, so too should your results.
If you’re tired of mediocre progress so far, it’s time to activate Turbo mode! Ready? Let’s go.
1. Start Using A Workout Log
It’s surprising to me that over 90% of the people that go to the gym do not log every single activity they do, claiming that it is unnecessary. I beg to differ. Rather, I consider it unnecessary to guess what needs to be done next, or remember the weeds or reps I did at my last workout.
A guaranteed way to spend less than 90 minutes in the gym? Walk with the log. This way, you can quickly anticipate and know what you need to do next, without guessing the correct resistance to use, or performing an incorrect exercise for your goals. Plus, it looks impressive as hell looking back at the first page of your journal and seeing how far you’ve come.
2. Lift Heavier
If you feel like you’ve been spinning gears for years and not getting anywhere, you probably don’t have a periodization plan that you follow. To continue making progress, and improving your training efficiency, you need to consistently lift more weights, be able to work out longer without fatigue and do more reps. This could also mean faster lap times etc.
The body must have a reason to get stronger. Doing the same thing every single time does not provide the stimulus necessary for continuous progress.
3. Prioritize Peri-Workout Nutrition
The peri-workout window refers to the time directly around your workout, normally two hours give or take before and after the gym. Nutrition in the peri-workout period plays an important part in determining how efficient your workout will be, and can set the stage for progress when you leave.
For instance, regardless of the type of diet you follow, (even ketogenic low carb) consumption of a bit of carbohydrate before your work out is likely to benefit your work intensity positively. Similarly, consumption of a meal with protein and a bit of carbs after gym session can help to ensure muscle glycogen is recharged and help support the muscle building process.
4. Stretch Before And After Your Work Out
While many people try to do this in good faith, they often go about it in the wrong way. In particular, before starting your work out, you need to perform dynamic stretches to improve blood flow and warm up the muscles, while you should perform static stretches afterward.
The problem arises when persons don’t necessarily know the difference. Dynamic stretches, as the name should explain involves active (or dynamic) motion, and can mimic the natural moving pattern of the body part in motion.
Static stretches, on the other hand, are done by stretching the muscle group and keeping it in that position for a period of time.
Use of both of these stretches helps reduce your risk of injury and pain afterward, improving blood flow and waste removal from the muscles, and lends itself to you having an overall better work out.
Much of the muscle building and performance improvement happens as you sleep since this is when your body actively repairs damaged muscle fibers and other structures. Lack of sleep will impair recovery and all but guarantees you have a horrible next work out.
Performance will suffer, and you may develop an injury from poorly recovered muscles.
6. Hydrate Sufficiently
Most people don’t appreciate the importance of adequate hydration. However, even mild hydration – just 2%, can result in as much as a 40% decrease in physical performance. Plus, added to the fact that you will be sweating and lose much more water than average, your time in the gym can be harrowing if you do not drink adequate fluids.
You do not need to restrict yourself to plain water, as you can also use an electrolyte beverage during your time in the gym. Ensure that it contains enough potassium, but magnesium and zinc are also welcome additions. This cocktail favorably improves muscle function and helps ensure your performance is kept running at peak efficiency.
7. Spend No Longer Than 90 Minutes In The Gym
Going to the gym is not the time to be socializing. Not to sound harsh, but there actually is a scientific reason behind this. After about 60 to 90 minutes, the levels of the stress hormone cortisol start rapidly rising, resulting in accelerated muscle breakdown, and inhibited growth hormone and testosterone production. This effect is not observed unless you are actively working out, so low intensity doesn’t count!
What this means is that at this point your workouts become less about making gains, and instead become a battlefield of breakdown. Try to stay no longer than 90 minutes in the gym – absolute maximum.
How To Train More Efficiently
Training more efficiently does not have to be difficult but requires consistent effort and some simple tweaks that will yield massive dividends in the end. A final note – you can never out train a bad diet. Put your nutrition above all else, and your training should improve in like manner.
Michael Jessimy is a qualified Pharmacist with over 10 years experience dealing with a range of both prescription and alternative remedies.
He is also an amateur heavyweight bodybuilder and loves spending his spare time hitting the gym.
He strives to help others build the best body possible through fitness, health and nutrition consultation and has several published books under his name.