How to See the Results You Want and Get the Most Out of Your Workouts
- DAN NORTH
It’s more than just showing up to the gym, but you already know this.
If you want real, sustainable results that make people stop when they see you and say, “holy shit you look amazing!” then it’s going to take an equal (if not, greater) amount of dedication outside of the gym.
Here’s what most people do if they go to the gym:
• They wake up, slam some coffee (coffee is awesome) and maybe a quick bite before rushing out the door to go to work
• They work
• They have lunch
• They work some more
• They have an afternoon snack (maybe)
• They leave work and head to the gym
• They do a half-ass warm up because they don’t want to miss their favourite show but also want to get a workout in before heading home
• They watch their show and eat dinner
• They have a snack or two (or five)
• They go to bed and they repeat the next day
Now, nothing is actually terribly wrong with this schedule. This person is clearly a hard worker and knows how to stick to a routine. But sometimes, the routine we’re in can be slightly adjusted to get even better results. Some people go to the gym because they feel like they have to, or because one of their family members told them they should. Some people go because they are motivated to make a change and have clear goals set in mind that they want to accomplish. Either way you slice it, when someone goes to the gym, they want to see results. That’s why we work so hard, because we want to see the fruits of our labour.
The funny thing about exercise and physical activity that most people take for granted is that it is literally the process of our muscles breaking down. Think about that for a second. The average person works their ass off at work, works their ass off at home to support their family, and goes to the gym and works their ass off again. That’s a lot of ass working.
Most people are beating themselves into the ground and aren’t giving themselves enough time or resources to recover so they can actually see the benefit of their workouts.
A few things you should know (or might already know, but should remember anyway):
• Exercise breaks our muscles down.
• In order to see the benefit of exercise, we have to prepare for our workouts and recover from them.
• We prepare for our workouts by:
o Having a good night’s sleep (7-9 hours for most people is preferred)
o Eating well (protein and carbs usually is a great start)
o Warming up (we’ll get into some more detail with that later)
• We recover from our workouts by:
o Cooling down (breathing and mobility in order to relax our body)
o Eating well (protein and carbs to replenish our muscles)
o Having a good night’s sleep (sleep is way more important than you might think)
You might be going to the gym and saw some decent results, but want to take it up a notch. Or maybe you’ve been working your ass off in the gym but haven’t seen much progress lately and are wondering what the fuck is going on.
It’s hard to say exactly why that’s happening, but I’d bet it’s one, or a combination, of the following:
YOU’RE WORKING HARD, BUT YOU’RE NOT RECOVERING ENOUGH.
***WE DO NOT SEE ANY BENEFIT FROM EXERCISE/TRAINING IF WE DON’T HELP OUR BODIES RECOVER***
That’s not up for debate. Not even a little.
You might have the training hard part down, but I GUARANTEE you will not see any results, and will actually end up feeling worse, if you do not allow yourself to recover. Remember, recovery comes in many forms. The big three are:
YOU’RE NOT WORKING HARD ENOUGH.
Maybe you’re not pushing yourself as hard as you think. Sometimes people think they’re working hard, but aren’t really. If you’re able to hold a conversation while you’re in the main part of your workout, you’re probably not working hard enough.
Solution: Stop being a little bitch 🙂
Calories come hidden in many forms, so beware. You don’t have to count your calories, but every calorie counts. More often than not, people who think they are in a caloric deficit usually aren’t. If your goal is fat loss, then you need to be in a caloric deficit.
“But I’ve been in a caloric deficit for a month and haven’t lost any fat!” – Someone who hasn’t actually been in a caloric deficit for a month.
Solution: Track your calories and be honest with yourself. Every calorie counts.
YOU’RE UNDER EATING.
If your goal is to build muscle, you need to be in a caloric surplus. This means consuming more calories than you’re burning, and making sure those calories are consisted mainly of high quality proteins with carbs and fats.
How much protein do you need?
If you’re training intensely at least 3-4 times per week and are trying to build muscle, usually 1.4-2g of protein per kg of body mass is the daily recommendation.
Solution: Consume high quality proteins throughout the day (especially for breakfast, pre and post workout meals).
YOU DON’T HAVE A PLAN.
You’re winging it. You’re going into the gym and doing what you feel like. There’s two major issues with this:
- There’s no structure. Going to the gym without at least somewhat of a plan is like a dog chasing it’s tail. Instead of your workouts complimenting each other and building up to reach your goals, you’re like Sandra Bullock in Bird Box blindly trying to find her way around.
- You’ll only do what you enjoy doing. It’s true. Who the fuck wants to do what they suck at? Or workouts that challenge us? When we have a plan, we have no choice but to do it. When we have too many options (and just make up our workouts on the fly), we’ll almost always revert to what we’re good at and what we enjoy doing.
Solution: Have a plan and stick to it.
YOU’VE BEEN DOING THE SAME SHIT FOR A WHILE.
That’s what happens when we don’t have a plan and aren’t seeing results. Usually people who are stuck in a rut with their training need to change things up a bit. There’s a lot of different ways you can change up your workouts.
- Try something completely different.
- Switch up the order of your exercises.
- Change exercises every week.
- Drop the reps and increase the weight.
- Drop the weight and increase the reps.
- Slow down your tempo.
- Add isometric holds.
- Add unilateral exercises.
You can write a book on the amount of shit you can do to your workouts in order to switch things up and create new challenges for your body. Because remember, challenge and force is what our muscles respond to. If we don’t challenge our muscles and do the same shit over and over again, they won’t feel the need to work hard and adapt.
Solution: Create new challenges and keep your muscles “on their toes”.
If you have any questions or comments about this article, shoot me a message down below!