Have you ever been in the gym, banging out your reps, only to realize that you have lost count because your mind had drifted elsewhere? This not only heightens your risk of injury, but minimizes the benefits of your workout. If you are like me, the to-do list is long and time is short, so I need to make the most of my gym time. Here are a few tricks that have helped me have an effective, and sweaty, workout.
Have a goal – Whether it’s losing weight, building muscle, or just becoming healthier, a goal ensure that you make time for fitness and will help you plan your workouts accordingly.
Have a plan – Never leave home without a planned workout. There is nothing more frustrating than getting to the gym and trying to decide what, or how, you want to work out that day. Save time and energy by writing it down. Don’t just say, “Today I am working shoulders”. Instead, plan it: Shoulders – Smith Machine Press, Front Plate Raise, Side Lateral Raisers, and Rear Lateral Raises 4 Sets of each exercise using an 8-12 rep range. Even better – plan your weekly workouts on Sunday.
Use the mirrors – While performing your exercises, use the mirrors to make sure you are using proper form throughout the whole range of motion. If your form is incorrect it can increases risk of injury. This technique also helps when you need to dig deep and find your grunt zone to squeeze out those last few reps – look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself you can do it!
Focus – Practice the mind-muscle connection. While performing an exercise, become mentally aware of the movement your muscles are making. For example, while performing a bicep curl, watch your arm as it begins to curl, concentrate on the bicep lifting the weight towards your shoulder. At the top of the curl, squeeze the bicep before lowering the dumbbell. Before you know it, you will be packing to a gun show!
Resist socializing – Some days, meeting a friend at the gym is the only thing that can get us there; however, if you can hold a full conversation while on the treadmill, this meeting is not going to help you. Find a friend that will push you to do your best – even on the days that you don’t feel like working out. I once worked out with a girl half my age because it pushed me to keep up with her. She was strong and fierce and it made my workouts better for it.
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