Whale watching in Maui with Claire – a great reward after reaching a training goal!
1. Have a plan
Don’t go in there guessing what exercise you’re going to do next. That’s what most people, they know what they’re working, but don’t have an exact plan of what they’re going to do. If you don’t have a plan, you’re going to be wasting a lot of time and you’re not going to get the results you should be seeing.
Whether fat loss is your goal or you’re trying to pack on some lean muscle, your workouts need to be focused and intense, and without a program or a written down sense of what you’re doing you’ll end up losing a lot of that intensity trying to figure out what’s next.
2. Put it between two solid meals
Our bodies are like cars, they need fuel to run properly. Placing your exercise between two solid meals will give your body the nutrients and fuel it needs to run properly.
I’ll have a decent sized meal 45 minutes before exercise with lots of carbs and a source of lean protein. I’ll have a shake right after a workout, and then a big meal around an hour or two after that which will look something like this:
– 9 oz lean ground beef + 1 cup red beans + 1 cup brown rice + low fat plain yogurt + salsa.
I’ll mix it all together and have what I call either TNT (taco-no-taco) or BNB (burrito-no-burrito). It tastes quite nice 🙂
3. It needs to hurt
If you want real results a workout’s going to have to be a bit uncomfortable. I began seeing real results when I started lifting to failure – within the right form of the exercise. The last two or three reps are painful and they suck! But that’s where the magic happens; those final few reps are going to make big contribution to you reaching your goals.
4. Find a clock
I’ll not only time my rest periods but also my sets if I’m trying to build up to a certain duration of exercise (like a 3-minute boxing round). Timing your rest periods is a must. I used to begin every set when I felt like I was ready. But when I began timing my rest periods my workouts became shorter, more intense, and my recovery time began to adapt to the shorter rest periods, which is something that I’ve been improving ever since.
Compete against something, whether it’s yourself, a lifting partner, or a time. Competition brings the best out of not only our bodies, but also our minds. A lot of the time it’s our minds that tell us, “oh that’s enough, you’ve done enough.” But what competition does is make us want to do better than who or whatever we’re competing against.
6. A reward
Yes, reaching a goal is a reward in itself, but going one step further can make a big difference. I like rewarding myself with little vacations and trips. I’ll reward myself with a trip after a 12 week set. But you have to come through with it or else it becomes an empty, useless novelty and you won’t react to it like you should.
Setting a 3 month goal and booking my “reward” before day one of my training has done wonders for the mental side of my workouts. I have to keep improving because if I don’t reach my goal by the end of the 3 months, the trip will definitely not feel like it would had I reached the goal.
7. A good nights sleep.
Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep every night. In the weight room you’re breaking down muscle, which is one half of the process. The other half is repairing the muscle you’ve broken down during exercise.
What is something you have done to make your workouts more successful?