12 Nov 2017

Where have all the hours gone, long times passing, you might be wondering while looking at your reflection in the mirror, with little to no progress visible after months of what seemed like arduous training. It could be a glitch in your diet, or your rest periods have become too long, but it’s rarely just one or the other that’s hindering your results – it’s typically a concoction of behaviors that prevent your workouts from bringing you results.
So, in order to break the spell of stagnation, let’s take a look at some of the simplest ways you can double (or even triple) the effectiveness of all those hours you spend religiously at the gym!

1. Your shut-eye counts

If you want to reap the full rewards of your training, you need to realize just how much your habits outside of that one hour spent at the gym impact your success. And the first on the list, also the first one people disregard easily, is the time you spend sleeping, allowing your body to rest and rebuild muscle.
In the words of Steven Feinsilver, M.D., “And there’s generally no substitute for sleep”, so while your protein shake may help you reach that sweet spot for this macronutrient, no magic pill will restore your poor sleeping habits – they can destroy your metabolism, increase your blood pressure and create a perfect ground for chronic diseases of all kinds. Get those eight hours of Zzz’s regularly, and you’ll start to see the difference.

2. Healthy foods to the rescue

Food is your fuel, and the better your meals, the better your chances are of triggering the right metabolic events in your body that will help you ditch the love handles and become strong. Start by creating your diet plan based on ample protein, healthy fats, and carbs that come from bread, rice, barley and fresh veggies.
Also, keep an eye on your timing – while it’s proven to be a successful technique to do your moderate cardio on an empty belly (light running sessions and the like), lifting requires you to have a decent, protein-packed meal about an hour or two prior to your training.

3. Equipped for success?

Perhaps you think that the buffest, strongest, and the most shredded crew at your gym wear their tights and tanks just to show off? On the contrary, they know the power of their gear and how it can make or break their routine.
For those who lift, preventing injuries is a must with the right bodybuilding shoes, protective equipment such as gloves, straps and wraps for knees, elbows and wrists, along with a sturdy lifting belt. Many gym-goers also use magnesium-rich chalk, and they rely on breathable clothing that will help them stay comfortable and dry throughout the workout.


4. Hydration 101

Your body and your mind might be craving a sip of that delicious sports drink, and although you will probably get a surge of energy, it all boils down to the sugar content, which is in the long-run your workout’s worst enemy. Instead, opt for a bottle of fresh water by your side.
And keep in mind that it’s not enough to gulp a gallon of water just before or during your routine. Your body needs to stay hydrated throughout the day, and especially in the hours pre- and post-training, in order for your muscles to work properly during your workout and to heal afterwards.
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5. The building blocks of success

Protein – the cornerstone of every healthy diet, and yet the most overlooked macronutrient for many rookies, and even fitness veterans. Most people aren’t used to tracking their calories, let alone minding their macros, and getting enough protein is a harder task than it seems.
No matter your workout routine, your body needs protein to build muscle and burn fat efficiently. Feed your muscles with these amino-acid based nutrients both before and after your workout, and you will provide your body with all the right ammo for reaching your goals.

6. Go for compound moves

We’ve all seen them gym bros curling reps to infinity and isolating their triceps only to admire their physique in the mirror – but that’s pretty much all these moves can do for an average fitness Joe. Unlike compound movements, isolation exercises are unfortunately not that powerful in terms of burning fat or building muscle.
Compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, lunges, rows and the overhead press are all designed to work almost every muscle in your body, thus triggering all the right fat-burning mechanisms in your body while letting your muscles grow stronger.
Images are taken from pexels.com

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