It annoys me to see people at the gym looking at their phones, chatting, gossiping, and doing everything else other than what they're supposed to do: work out. Go to any commercial gym and you'll see: most people are there just for show. Not many people are there purposefully, and not many people treat their time among the iron with the seriousness that it deserves. They think that lifting weights is just something that helps them look better and be "fitter". But going to the gym is much more than that: it's a sacred time where you get to test your mettle and learn how strong your will really is. Going to the gym is a form of meditation, of therapy. The point is, you don't need to be a competitive bodybuilder to understand the seriousness of working out. It should be done purposefully and with focus. This will not only make your results ten times better, it will also make working out all the more enjoyable.
Before we start, it's important to note that the following won't work unless you have a well-thought, optimal routine to perform. If you don't know how to structure your routine, or don't really know where to start, I suggest you check out my ebook Simple Strength, here. YES, I WROTE A VERY GOOD EBOOK AND I AM USING THE OPPORTUNITY TO PROMOTE IT SO SUE ME. Use code SUEME for 50% off ;)
Now let's dive into how you can demolish every single workout.
A good workout starts about an hour before you even touch a heavy metal plate. It requires preparation, both mental and physical. My ritual is usually to drink lots of water, eat some fruit, and drink a cup of coffee with honey while I watch some high-T, motivational videos. Sometimes I'll replace fruit and coffee with half a scoop of preworkout. Lately I've been taking niacin before I work out, which also works like a charm. Niacin has lots of benefits, and a couple of cool side effects that help me get turnt up for a better workout, such as a feeling of warmth throughout the body and a stingy sensation (not too disimilar from the effects of beta-alanine). These side effects can be pretty annoying for some, so take niacin at your own risk.
I like to get my mindset right before I start lifting. I don't like going to the gym straight after work. I rather take some time off, and switch my focus and energy from the mundane tasks of corporate life to the much more relevant and spiritual significance of lifting weights, living a healthy lifestyle, and being a strong man. Switching from one state of mind to the other makes all the difference in the world. If you succeed in connecting your mind and your energy with the higher purpose with which lifting aligns you, your workouts will be unbelievable. If you go to the gym still preoccupied with the pressures of your job, you'll most likely end up simply going through the motions.
I wouldn't recommend getting used to taking preworkout every time you train, but having it every once in a while is no problem at all.
Make the hour previous to your lifting session a ritual. Find what works for you, whether it is having a cup of coffee or any other energetic food or drink, blasting Hans Zimmer's music for an hour or binge watching Makavelli Motivation. Create a ritual that will get your body and mind ready for the gym.
We mentioned going through the motions in the section above, and I believe this is one of the most common reasons why most people see nearly no improvement even after training for months. Lifting, like any other worthwhile activity, yields the best results when one is 100% focused and engaged on the task at hand. If you are lifting weights but your thoughts are wandering aimlessly, you'll perform in a subpar manner, and you'll hurt your progress. There's a concept called mind-muscle connection, and it's real. Your muscles respond better to stimuli when your mind is focused on feeling their work. When you focus your mind on the contractions that your muscles are undergoing, you start moving the weight actively instead of passively, which makes for much better gains on the long run.
The first thing to do then, is to be completely focused on your workout. Try not to look at your phone while you lift. Don't engage in gossip or mundane conversation. If you want to lift with a training partner, choose someone that will take your workout as seriously as yourself, someone who won't be constantly trying to tell you the latest celebrity drama. A bad lifting partner can kill your gains completely. Eliminate distractions and be present in the moment during every single rep.
In my opinion, listening to music and podcasts can also make for a much more focused workout. Some people dislike listening to music while lifting, but I say, do what works best for you. The important thing is that what you listen to adds value to your session instead of substracting from it.
Perform the reps slowly. Feel your muscles working. Squeeze. See in your mind's eye the progress that you'll make. Make sure that the energy that you're putting out during your training is directed in its totality towards making progress, gaining strength and building an aesthetic body. This is key.
Finally, train hard, control the resting periods, and enjoy your workout. Lifting weights can be the most enjoyable part of your day, is you decide to make it so.
“There’s no secret formula. I lift heavy, work hard, and aim to be the best.” - Ronnie Coleman
If you do this, your workouts will be shorter, more intense, and much more effective. It's not necessary to spend hours upon hours at the gym every day. Specially when the majority of that time is spent resting, scrolling through Instagram and wasting time. Be disciplined with the amount of rest that you get between sets and you'll need at most an hour to have a sensational and very complete workout.
Congratulate yourself. You've just moved a lot closer to your goals. You've become a significantly better man. Your mind and body are stronger than yesterday. What you've just done is no small thing. You overcame your weakness and your laziness. Keep it up, brother.
But we are not finished yet. What comes straight after a good workout is no small matter. Rest and recovery are as important as the workout itself. So pat yourself on the back, go home, and then...
Eat. Eat lots of protein. Meat works best. If you have limited time a protein shake isn't a terrible option, as long as it's not soy or any other vegetable protein. I always recommend real, natural, nutritionally dense food before almost any supplements, but I understand the utility of having protein powder available if you need it. Hydrate and eat a large, greasy steak. You've earned it, and your muscles need it.
Finally, make sure you're getting enough sleep. Eight hours is the bare minimum. Being sleep deprived is not "hustling", it's a guaranteed way of killing your gains, your energy, and your health in general. Make of sleep and rest a priority.
Now you know how you can make your workouts amazing, every single time. Working out is absolutely essential for a healthy, balanced life. You better do it right.
All the best and go kill that workout,
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