4 Things You Should Be Doing Every Single Workout

(That Don’t Require Equipment or Money).

There is more to a workout than just showing up, and while every session is different for every person, there are 4 simple things everyone should be doing every workout in order to get the MOST out of their time in the gym.

1. Focusing on a mind-muscle connection

What is that? Think of it as just an intense focus on a specific muscle. Whether you’re curling or squatting, you should really focus on feeling that specific muscle move the weight, rather than just trying to move the weight. A good mind-muscle connection (plus high reps) can make 5 lbs feel like 15! It can be tempting on many exercises to recruit other muscles that you might not be intentionally targeting in order to help you pull/push the weight. In a good mind-muscle connection, however, you should be focusing on the effort of the target muscle, not only for safety reasons, but also to maximize growth in that area.

2. Resting Less

I.e. not taking breaks between sets to scroll through instagram or delete junk emails.

Even if you’re not on your phone, your rest times could still be too long. It’s tempting to want to fully catch your breath and recover from a tough set, but if you’re allowing yourself to fully recover, you’re probably resting too long. It will take some practice to figure out how short is too short and how long is too long, but until then, try setting a timer or watching the clock for 1 minute-1 minute and a half between sets. Don’t hurt yourself, and certainly don’t skip rests, but if you feel super ready to begin again, you probably rested too long. Keep up the pace to maximize results.

3. Listening to your body.

It’s nice to go into the gym with a plan, your exercises laid out, sets and reps written down, and know exactly what you’re doing. However, realize that a plan is only great if it’s accomplishing the overall goal of working out in the first place, which is to work your muscles. If you start doing an exercise from your plan and aren’t feeling it that day, don’t just keep doing it just because it’s on the plan. I’m not saying skip the exercises you don’t like or aren’t good at, but be aware of what exercises are working and aren’t working for your body. Every athlete can name a lift/exercise that just doesn’t do it for them. You should be feeling your muscles do work as you’re moving weight, so if you’re not feeling it, quit doing it. Have a plan, but listen to your body, too.

4. Staying present.

When you’re at the gym- be at the gym. Don’t worry about other people looking at you, or spend your time looking at other people. Quit checking your phone and wondering what you’re going to have for dinner. Stop trying to see if your abs are showing yet. Focus. Be present. Presence and focus are not only good tools for your muscles, but for your mind, too. Practice being in one place and doing one thing at a time for a change. Do what you came to do, and leave the rest outside.

Originally published at fityourself.club on June 2, 2017.

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