How many times have you gone to the gym, only to realize that you're not sure what to do? Or maybe you've been following the same routine for months, and you're starting to feel bored.
If this sounds like you, don't worry - you're not alone. Many people find themselves in this situation, but it doesn't have to mean that your workouts will be forever ineffective.
In fact, there are a few simple things that you can do to get the most out of your weight training workouts.
Now without further ado, let’s jump right into the actionable tips we have for you!
Don't be afraid of lifting heavy weights! Many people think that they should only lift light weights in order to avoid injury, but lifting heavier weights is actually essential to getting the most out of your workouts.
Lifting heavier weights forces your muscles to work harder, which results in increased strength, strength endurance, and muscular development.
In addition, lifting heavier weights just feels good, as it makes you acknowledge what you are actually capable of.
Nevertheless, lifting heavy should be done within reason - lift as heavy as possible, without breaking exercise form.
With all of this being said, don't be afraid to push yourself, because lifting heavier weights is one of the best ways to get the most out of your workout routine.
Our general recommendation would be to focus on working sets, taken close to failure (i.e. always leaving 1-3 reps in reserve at the end of your set.)
Now, though effective, lifting heavier weights is definitely a more strenuous activity for your body and its nervous system.
As the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nervous system are under more strain, this means that your body needs more time to recover between sets.
Suboptimal rest between sets can lead to quickly diminished performance, robbing you of good stimulus and therefore, making your workouts less effective.
However, if you're properly rested and have a good plan, lifting heavier weights can be a great way to build strength, and muscle mass and reap all the benefits of your training sessions.
As a general rule of thumb, if you do your working sets as recommended previously, you would be best off resting about 3 minutes, before you go into another bout of heavy lifting!
Emphasize Progressive Overload
If you've been to the gym more than a handful of times, you've probably heard the term "progressive overload."
But what does that actually mean? In short, progressive overload is the process of gradually increasing the amount of stress placed on your body during exercise.
This can be done by a couple of means:
- Increasing the weight lifted
- Increasing the number of reps
- Increasing the number of sets
- Increasing workout frequency
- Decreasing rest times (doing the same work for less time)
- Increasing time under tension
Now, why is this important? Because if you don't gradually increase the difficulty of your workouts, your body will quickly adapt and stop making progress.
So if you're looking to get the most out of your time at the gym, be sure to keep progressive overload in mind.
After all, the body adapts to things (in this case loads) it hasn’t experienced before.
You hit the gym hard day in and day out. You never miss a leg day, you’re always doing cardio, and you make sure to get your protein shake in afterwards.
But are you really getting the most out of your workouts? Chances are if you’re not eating right, you’re not.
This is because eating better is essential to getting the most out of your workouts, as a good workout is nothing without good food.
The right foods will help your body recover from strenuous exercise, build muscle, and improve your overall performance.
With this in mind, if you want to get the most out of your workout routine, make sure to fuel your body with the right foods.
Get around 0.8-1g of protein per pound of body weight, about 0.4g of fat per pound, and tailor your carbohydrate intake to personal preference.
In order to get the most out of your workouts, you need to make sure you're getting enough, good-quality sleep.
While you're sleeping, your body is able to repair itself on all the levels needed for you to actually benefit from the workouts.
This means that you'll be able to work out at a higher intensity and for a longer period of time (if you nail your food and sleep!)
With the last two points of this article, we can definitely say that the benefits come in the days AFTER a workout.
Your training sessions are just a prerequisite for the benefits!
Well, have you tried any of these tips? What was your experience? Are there other techniques that have worked well for you when it comes to getting the most out of your workouts?
We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!