Jump-starting your workout on the way to the gym is a great way to develop the sort of competitive advantage that helps you tackle marathon cardio sessions or hundreds of pounds of iron. Here are four ways to prepare for battle at the gym and maximize your every workout.
1. Fuel Up, And Fight The Good Fight
Even if you’re trying to get lean, proper pre-workout nutrition boosts your VO2 max, enabling you go harder for longer periods. Eating a balanced meal and/or drinking a protein/nutrition shake provides your muscles with the raw macronutrient energy that they require to endure the challenges of an effective workout and recovery.
If you typically work out in the mornings, incorporate a cup of coffee into your pre-workout meal. Coventry University researchers found that a pre-workout coffee drink enabled study participants to train more intensely over a longer amount of time.
2. Creative Visualization
About 15 to 20 minutes before your workout, use creative visualization to prime your body, mind and the mind-muscle connection. Sports psychologists and Olympic athletes swear by creative visualization, which “elicits strength gains” and “increases the likelihood of success,” states the Journal of Strength and Conditioning.
Creative visualization entails two activities. For the first activity, visualize your ideal body, your fitness goal, the body of your dreams. Get inspired and have faith in your ability to slay your workout.
Second, rehearse the more difficult aspects of your workout. Perform the actual activity/exercise as if you’re at the gym (if possible). When you rehearse the move, it activates the primary motor cortex in your frontal lobe, which compels your brain to fire neurons that get you psyched out about tackling your workout.
3. Pump Up the Bass
High-intensity music and faster tempos help to galvanize your brain and body for energetic activity, according to researchers at Brunel University in London, England. Playing dance, rock or hip hop music full of bass and percussion, for example, might enhance your visual perception, motor control and attention during reactive performance.
4. Set Small, Achievable Goals
Challenge yourself to do more: two more reps per exercise, lift five more pounds overall, or add 15 extra minutes of low-impact activity onto your cardio. Try an entirely new exercise or a new machine. Do your workout in reverse. Shake it up. Setting specific goals, daily and weekly, keeps you striving and committed.
A pre-gym jump-start is a wonderful method to prepare your mind and body for a victorious, satisfying workout. Enjoy balanced pre-workout nutrition, try some creative visualization, play some superhero music, and set doable goals to stay on track. Expand and alter these four tips as you become more comfortable with them.