Train Smarter Not Harder: 8 Tips To Faster Gains
Do you want to limit your risk of injuries, protect your hard earned gains and bust through those frustrating progress plateaus? All whilst getting the most BEAST out of your MODE?
Whether you are a powerlifter, bodybuilder, cross-fit enthusiast or general gym junkie, here are some simple yet noteworthy things you should be doing in and out of the gym.
In the gym
1. Train for a purpose
The typical gym these days can seem more like a social club than anything else. Don’t allow this aspect to take over why you are actually there and what you want to achieve. Put 110% of your focus, energy and effort into your workout to get the most of your reps and sets. Leave your phone in your gym bag and avoid getting distracted by social media (save the thumb workout and powwow for later).
2. Track your progress
Remembering what you did two weeks ago is difficult enough, let alone two months ago. Take the guesswork away by using a workout log. This is an incredibly efficient way to create periodised training programs. Workout logs are crucial for combatting progress plateaus and setting new PB’s consistently. You will also quickly learn what works best for you and areas that need improvement. At the absolute least, take a note pad and pen, write it down and date it.
3. Proper preparation prevents poor performance
As you know, just about every sport that exists includes some form of standard warm up or stretching that primes and prepares the body for peak performance (even Formula 1 cars do warm up laps!). Before you dive under the bar to heave some kg’s, take a moment to adequately warm up your mind and body. Raise your heart rate, clear your mind, activate lagging body parts, stretch and mobilize your body, then flick the beast-mode switch on. There are too many benefits for this to include all of them in this article.
If you are doing all of the above, chances are you’ll be having great workouts and sweating a lot. Therefore you must be consistently re-hydrating yourself during your workout. If you feel thirsty at any point during the day and your workout, your hydration levels are insufficient. 600mls should be the minimum for a solid workout (around 1 hour or longer). To add flavour and boost performance, add a scoop of flavoured amino acids such as MAX’s Intraboost to your water to keep your body hydrated and operating at an optimum level.
5. Leave your ego at the door
Cliché I know, but people need to be reminded. Unfortunately the gym doesn’t usually attract a crowd of spectators, and I’m yet to meet anyone that really cares how heavy you curl in the squat rack. In terms of using a spotter, rather than creating a tag team superset circuit, use it as an opportunity to go balls to the wall knowing that if you fail, you have support.
Out of the gym
1. Track your food intake
The quality of your workouts will be at the mercy of the quality of your diet. 4 to 6 nutrient rich meals per day will ensure you get all the energy you need and enough fuel for recovery (where the actual gains are made). You get out what you put in!
2. Injury rehabilitation & prevention
The most popular topic second to “what supps do you use, bro?” would have to be about injuries and how someone can’t do curls anymore due to some pain in their elbow. If you are nursing an injury, it is imperative that you get assessed by a professional and start applying a regular rehab routine. Further to this, if you are injury free but want to take it to the next level, consider learning more about your body and techniques to strengthen weak points to avoid exposing yourself to injury in the future.
3. Rest & recovery.
All of your beast moding and bulking will only go as far as how well you allow your body to recover and grow. As most of us should know, the gains are made while you sleep. Consider your sleeping patterns and aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep on average. Another way to improve recovery and performance is by incorporating certain therapies such as deep tissue massage, dry needling, chiropractic care or physiotherapy.
If you are incorporating all of these methods, great! If not, a bit of brains may improve your gains.