5 Steps to a Better Workout: Upgrade your Gym Routine

In a workout slump lately? Just not feeling it? Sometimes a little break from the gym is all it takes to reignite your fitness fire. But what happens when that doesn’t work? Try these 5 steps for a great workout, and watch that slump disappear.

#1 Fuel Up

If your workout problems stem from lack of energy, you may not be giving your body what it needs to fulfill the demands you place on it.


We all know food is fuel, but you can’t exactly eat a 5-course meal ahead of a gym session. All you need is a bit of protein, some carbs, and even a little caffeine and your energy woes will be left home alone — eating popcorn and watching Game of Thrones — while you eagerly kill your workout at the gym.

If not a 5-course meal, then what? For me, something like a peanut butter sandwich and a banana is just what I need to get through a workout. Not too heavy, and high on energy. A protein shake mixed with fruit, or even coffee, gets the job done, too.

Training Fasted

Some folks prefer to train before they eat. Whether it’s a matter of an early morning gym schedule, or their body just responds better to no food, it works for them.

When training fasted, it’s a good idea to at least get in some sort of pre-workout. It could be a pre-workout supplement, caffeine pills, or just plain old coffee.

To keep energy up at the gym, a BCAA supplement can be used throughout your workout.

#2 Look Good, Feel Good

There’s truth in that old adage. You know there’s a difference in how you feel when you’re sitting around in your PJ’s all day, and when you’re sharply dressed for work. Okay, granted, the PJ’s all day thing is pretty darned comfy, but c’mon, you wouldn’t go out of the house like that, right? Right?

Dress for Success

You’d be surprised how motivating a simple wardrobe upgrade can be. If you’ve been sporting the same old workout clothes and just aren’t feeling it anymore, it could be time to hit up your favorite store. Just a couple new outfits can make all the difference.

Put Your Best Face Forward

Some women forgo makeup when headed to the gym, and others like to wear it. There is no law that says you can’t wear makeup to the gym, contrary to some strong opinions on the matter. Being as I’m too lazy to wear makeup, ever, I just simply wash and moisturize. The point is, do what makes you feel good about yourself.


Wear it up, down, all around. Again, do what you like.

#3 Bump up Your Music

Playing the same music over and over can lead to a stagnant workout mood. Taking some time to create a new workout playlist with Spotify, or simply going with an old standby like Pandora helps keep things fresh.

Set the Mood

For maximum motivation, plug into your music before you’ve even entered the gym. This will get you in the frame of mind you need to dominate your workout.


Like your wardrobe, your headphones or earbuds might need an upgrade. Treat yourself to a new pair the next time you crush a fitness goal.

#4 Have a Plan

Heading into the gym without a plan can leave you chasing your tail. In addition to giving you direction, making a workout plan can be motivating.

Competitive Edge

When planning your workout, make note of the amounts of weight you lifted the last time, then try to beat them. Having a goal to work toward holds your interest. And when you reach those goals, the motivation momentum keeps going well into your next workout.

Be Flexible

Having a plan gives you options. While writing out your plan for the day, make note of some similar exercises that could be done to hit the same muscle groups. That way, if some bro is biceps curling in the squat rack, you have a quick and easy alternative. I can’t guarantee the alternate exercise will curb your annoyance at said bro, however.

#5 Get in the Zone

If you’re anything like me, gym-time is me-time. And that time is valuable. Getting in the zone can be challenging in a crowded gym, but when you finally lose yourself in your workout you get so much more out of it.

Keep Your Eyes on Your Own Paper

Don’t worry about what others around you are doing. No one likes an unsolicited advice-giver, no matter how helpful the advice my be. Unless it looks like they’re going kill themselves, don’t give bad form a second look.

Tune Out

Do you have an issue with well-meaning fellow gym-goers interrupting you in the middle of a set? This is where those headphones and earbuds start paying for themselves. Simply apply those personal music amplifying devices to the auditory organs on your noggin and they become a virtual barrier between you and the folks that just want to chat. Profit.

Just making small changes to your routine can make a big difference. If something’s not working for you, change it. Use any or all of these ideas–or add your own–to give your workout a bump when it hits a slump.

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