Do you prefer to listen? This originally aired as a podcast episode on Fuel Your Freedom! You can search and find it on all major podcast platforms or by clicking here!
Today, we’re talking about three ways to get more out of your training…WITHOUT just implementing variety, increasing load or adding volume.
So, if you’re listing to this, I’m going with the assumption that you’re either currently working out or looking to start a workout routine. Today, we’re going to talk about three simple ways that you can get more out of your training – regardless of what it may be. The absolute LAST thing we want to do is get trapped spinning our wheels, not making the progress we want to see. But at the same time, feeling like we’re doing everything right.
There are many different ways to make a workout program more challenging – adding weight, adding sets or reps to individual exercises, increasing time under tension through pauses, tempos, and other timing strategies, the options are truly endless…
But today, we’re going to talk about three other strategies that have NOTHING to do with changing up your program…well, kind of.
Without further ado, let’s hop in.
The first change you can make to get more out of your training is to dial in and FOCUS on what you are doing.
One of the simplest things we can do is leave our stress, worries, coworkers, projects, family to-do’s at the door of the gym when we walk inside. The problem is – as with many things in health and fitness – it may be simple, but it’s absolutely not easy to do. But it can truly make all the difference.
Taking that one hour to yourself, putting your phone on do not disturb, and focusing on your training in that present moment can be a game-changer.
Not only does it reduce the risk of injury – because you’re in the proper position and headspace to lift heavy weights. But it also allows you to perform those movements to a higher level!
Have you heard of the term muscle memory?
While it would be neat if all of our muscles had brains, that’s not exactly the case. Muscle memory is actually the pathway between the brain and the muscles.
One of the BEST analogies that I’ve hear for this is imagine moving to a new place. You take a variety of routes between home and the grocery store. Trying each to see how it works. Sure, they’ll all get you there, but there’s going to be one that’s more efficient and effective. This is what it’s like. As you learn a new movement, the motor neurons fire, telling the muscle fibers to contract. Over time, it becomes smoother, even feeling like second nature…Boom. Muscle memory.
But you know how it’s easier to learn when you’re actually driving the car compared to sitting in the passenger seat? When we’re dialed into the movement, thinking about and focusing on what it’s supposed to feel like, these muscle contractions are executed more smoothly and easier for us to learn.
Focusing on what you’re doing may seem small…but is it the key to turning your workouts up a notch?
The second change you can make is to ask yourself: Are you training or just working out?
I’ve worked out for years. I went through periods of training during that time. But mostly, I just worked out.
You may be thinking to yourself – what in the heck is the difference?
For me, working out is simply moving your body. Your heart rate may go up, you might start sweating, it might be a strength-based workout or an aerobic one. But there’s no pattern. Maybe it’s one-off or a series of workouts. But they don’t connect. You’re simply moving your body with no end goal in mind.
On the other hand, training is structured. There’s an end goal. We start there and work backward to engineer a plan to get there. There’s flow and each day is balanced with those in the week, month, and next phase.
If you don’t have a plan, how do you know that you’ll get to where you’re going?
Have a plan when you step into the gym.
What do you want to achieve in the long-term? What is the goal of that single session?
Each time you step into the gym, have a plan. Know what you’re going to do. Track your metrics: reps, sets, load, etc. Not only does this show you when you’ve made progress (and guarantee that progress is happening), but it also allows you to be efficient while you’re there!
No one has hours to spend in the gym…there are other things we need to do with our lives. Having a plan creates both an efficient and effective training session.
Leave the roaming and working out behind – start dialing in and training.
We’ve talked about two factors you can change inside the gym, but our last one has us thinking outside…
What does your nutrition look like? Does it support your goals?
How much water are you drinking?
Are you fueling your body properly for workouts so that you can perform?
If you’re crushing your body and running yourself into the ground while you’re in the gym, but you’re not recovering…what’s the point?
No, seriously. What’s the point?
We don’t get stronger from the training. We get stronger/leaner/<insert goal here> from RECOVERING from training.
But recovery doesn’t just mean sleep and body work – of course those are important. But food and water intake are equally (if not more) important.
We have to fuel our bodies for the activity that we want to do – in and out of the gym.
But, especially as females, we can get caught in the trap of low calorie, low carb, etc. etc. We need the fuel – water, macronutrients, micronutrients, all of them. 1200 calories is bullshit.
Our training session starts before we even get to the gym. Focus on the nutrition, hydration, recovery, and sleep to improve your performance in the gym.
There you have it:
Focus on your training in the moment
Stop working out and start training
Dial in on your factors outside the gym (nutrition, hydration, recovery)
All three of these things can turn up the dial on your performance in the gym and get more out of your training sessions.
So what’s your action step?
Take time today and think about these three things: Are you crushing all of them? Is there an area that you can improve in? What is it specifically? Make that your focus for this week. Be present at the gym. Get a plan; know your destination and route to get there before you start your session. Dial in on nutrition, hydration, and/or recovery.
What are you focusing on this week? Hop over to IG or Facebook and let me know @coachemilymeyer