Getting Down to Business in the Gym
Besides actually getting to the gym, which is obviously priority number one in terms of a training regimen, there are many other important factors you must take into consideration to make sure your routine is a successful one. You may go to the gym on a consistent basis, but if you aren’t in the right state of mind, then you could be wasting your time. When you are in the gym, it needs to be a total mindset of full intensity. Going through the motions is not going to provide you with the results you want. Instead, you need to encompass an incessant vigor to plow through set after set, exercise after exercise until you’ve reached your very last rep. It’s got to be tough enough that you’re gasping for air during your short rest that you don’t even have time or the additional effort to do anything but lift and recover. You need to start getting the most out of your gym time now. This is not the place to socialize. Yapping your jaw off to friends is for a Friday night. In the gym, it should be down to business.
Here are three basic, yet very important tips to help motivate you in the gym, helping you to grow as a stronger individual both mentally and physically. This is essentially the motivation you need to lift those final reps, the reps that make or break muscle growth.
The first thing that you should do is find a lifting partner that is of similar size, strength, mental toughness, and ability. Consequently, you are both going to feed off of each other’s energy in a positive way. As someone who has worked out for over 9 years, I have found that most of my workouts that I have had over the years without a lifting partner were of a depleted nature. This is because I don’t have someone to motivate me by telling me to “push it out for five more”, when I can barely do one more, and to catch the barbell when it is about to drop on my chest from lifting until the ammonia builds up so much in my chest on the bench press I can’t perform one more negative rep. Sometimes there are special cases when a lifting partner could backfire in which he is talking to you non-stop in the gym or needing minutes upon minutes to rest between sets (in which case you need to find a different partner or put him in line), but more often than not, you will experience great workouts. Not only is he/she going to push you in the gym, but he/she is going to force you to go to the gym when you are too “tired”. I have found many times that my lifting partner has convinced me to go to the gym when otherwise I wouldn’t want to because you find that extra something inside to get there when you have another “sucking it up”. Not to mention, you don’t want to let your lifting partner down, but more importantly, you don’t want to let yourself down. You don’t want your partner to gain the edge on you by getting an extra day in when you missed a session. When you finish your tough workout for that day, then you will be proud of yourself for going. Moreover, when you have a partner, a competitive nature between the two of you begins to commence, which is ultimately going to be tremendously beneficial for both you and your partner. You will find yourself lifting weights you’ve never even imagined before, because you will be pushing for one more extra rep than your partner on each set. He is going to do the same as well and you are each going to feed off of this, where you will be hoisting up more and more weight each week just to beat each other out. Additionally, outside of the gym you are going to be more conscious with what you consume, because you want the edge. Proper nutrition is key and is going to provide you with your physique no matter how much training you do. Bottom line is that you are going to want a competitive advantage over your lifting partner and you are going to behave in a manner that is going to make you stronger, leaner, and more fit. But if there is one thing you take away from this, be wise in choosing the right lifting partner. Choose the right one, who is going to push you both inside and outside of the gym, and it could really make a difference.
Another important part of a successful routine is to track your progress in a log. I have seen the most gains from simply logging down my progress. For example, if I write down that I did a set of bench press of 225 lbs. for 15 reps this week, then I might go for 16 or 17 reps the following week. Once you log down the weight, it sticks in your mind what you did and you’re going to inherently want to improve upon your past performances. Your main goal should always be to strive for heavier weight or more reps every subsequent week, so when you write your previous progress down, it makes it that much easier to see what you need to accomplish in further weeks. If you don’t have a logbook for your progress, then how can you really know if you are making true strides? Each week you may just be “feeling out” the weight rather than really knowing if you are increasing the weight or number of reps. Track your progress and you will surely see strength and muscle gains.
Besides a lifting partner and a log book, you should listen to music in the gym. Music is a great way to motivate you when you need to push through an intense workout. Blasting pump-up songs like Eminem or Metallica (or whatever gets your blood going) can really pump you up prior to and during your sets even more so than you think. During your set, you may tend to focus your mind on the music, keeping you calm during a tough set and forgetting about the monotony of lifting or the concentration of heavy weight that will eventually bog you down. According to research, listening to music increases your power in the gym, so you are going to lift heavier with it than without it. Additionally, research also supports the fact that your endurance lasts incredibly longer while listening to music than when not. That translates to more reps with the same weight. If you could lift more powerfully and for longer periods of time, you are going to lift more total poundage, which is in turn, going to increase your size and muscle mass/strength.
Moreover, you need to start setting goals within the gym. For instance, set out a number of total sets within a certain amount of time that you are going to complete for back today (40 sets in 60 minutes). What this will do is make you more efficient in the gym. You are going to take less rest time in between sets and plow through each set (Just remember not to sacrifice your form to get the set done quicker…Form is essential and should never be neglected for anything, unless you want serious injuries and limited growth). Set goals like number of exercises, sets per exercise. The key is to keep things intense. Mike Mentzer, the king of High Intensity Training and owner of one of the best physiques ever known to the bodybuilding world, once said, “You could either go intense or you could go for a long period of time, but not both”. He couldn’t be more right. You can’t be intense for 3 hours. Your physical body could not maintain an intense pace for that long and your mental capacity does not have enough energy to do so. So instead of going long (you’re generally supposed to spend less than an hour in the gym per session), go intense within your workouts. Keep your workouts within an hour and ensure efficiency. Don’t spend any more time in the gym than you have to. Besides, your testosterone (hormone that aids in muscle growth and fat burning) will suffer and your cortisol (stress-induced hormone that is a muscle killer and fat inducer) will increase. Maintain a level of intensity throughout the gym that is going to make people turn their heads in your direction. Get to the point where you are what people look forward to watching in the gym because of your animalistic, competitive style of lifting, where you take no breaks, lift heavy weight that you can absolutely control and handle, and don’t even get tired. That could be motivation in itself to push you even harder. I know it’s been that way for me.
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Date Published : 2011-04-29 21:54:32
Written By : Jaret Grossman
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