4 Things You Need to do Every Single Workout
There is more to a workout than just showing up, and while every session is different for every person, there are 4 simple things everyone should do every single workout in order to get the MOST out of their time in the gym.
1) Focus on a mind-muscle connection.
Because I think this one is so very important, I've written a separate post for it, but for now, think of a mind-muscle connection as just an intense mental focus on a specific muscle.
Whether you’re curling or squatting, you should really focus on feeling that specific muscle move the weight, rather than just trying to go through the motions of the movement. A good mind-muscle connection (plus high reps) can make 5 lbs feel like 15! It can be tempting on many exercises to recruit other muscles that you might not be intentionally targeting in order to help you pull/push the weight. In a good mind-muscle connection, however, you should be focusing on the effort of the target muscle, not only for safety reasons, but also to maximize growth in that area.
2) Rest less.
I.e. not taking breaks between sets to scroll through insta or delete junk emails (#Guilty on both accounts.) Even if you’re not on your phone, your rest times could still be too long. It’s tempting to want to fully catch your breath and recover from a tough set, but if you’re allowing yourself to fully recover, you’re probably resting too long.
It will take some practice to figure out how short is too short and how long is too long, but until then, try setting a timer or watching the clock for a minute or two between sets. Don’t hurt yourself, and certainly don’t skip rests, but if you feel super ready to begin again, you probably rested too long. Keep up the pace to maximize results and baddassery via sweat.
3) Listen to your body.
It’s nice to go into the gym with a plan, your exercises laid out, sets and reps written down, and know exactly what you’re doing. However, keep in mind a plan is only great if it works. If you start doing an exercise from your plan and can't quite connect with it or feel it in the right places, don’t keep doing it just because it’s on the plan.
I’m not saying skip the exercises you don’t like or aren’t good at, but be aware of what exercises are working and aren’t working for your body. Every athlete can name a lift/exercise that just doesn’t do it for them. You should be feeling your muscles do work as you’re moving weight, so if you’re not feeling it, quit doing it. Have a plan, but know how to listen to your body.
*This goes for injuries, too! If a movement is painful, don't keep doing it just because you're "supposed" to. Listen to your body and trust your gut.
4) Stay present.
When you’re at the gym- be at the gym. Don’t worry about other people looking at you, or spend time looking at other people. Quit checking your phone and wondering what you’re going to have for dinner. Stop trying to see if your abs are showing yet. Focus. Be present. Presence and focus are not only good tools for your muscles, but for your mind, too. Practice being in one place and doing one thing at a time for a change. Do what you came to do, and leave the rest outside.
Let me know how these techniques work for you and if you have any other go-to workout tips! I'd love to hear from you :)