If you’re a gym bunny, or have simply taken up the ‘get fit’ fad as part of your New Year’s resolution, we all know how frustrating it is when we stop seeing the results of our hard work. So here’s five simple things you can do – aside from changing your workout routine – that actually improve your performance.
Reduce your rest time
One of the simplest things you can do to improve your workout without getting a personal trainer is to reduce your rest times. Which is quite frequently one of the things PT’s do that make you feel like you’re working harder. Which is why even when you lift the same amount on your own, you generally ache less. Ideally between 45 – 60 seconds, unless you’re super-setting (more on that below), in which case you can give yourself a little longer.
Superset your work outs
It always surprises me how many people go to the gym, and don’t superset. A superset is similar to a ‘working rest’ and ‘circuit training’, where instead of doing one exercise, resting, and repeating, you move straight into a different exercise after the first one, working a different muscle area. For example, you can work your bicep, move straight into a tricep workout, rest for one minute and then repeat. I generally do this with three or four exercises to save time. The result is getting a ton more for you time.
Lighten your weights
There are plenty of people that think “bench heavier, build more muscle”. And while you should actually vary the weight you lift and the number of reps, if you’re looking to bulk you should be aiming to do between 10 – 12 reps; which will actually build muscle quicker than doing 6 – 8 reps of a heavier weight.
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Workout in front of a mirror
There’s mirrors everywhere in the gym for a reason. And no, it’s not for taking selfies. Utilise them properly; working out in front of a mirror can give you the chance to correct any faults in your form and balance. But, moreover, it gives you inspiration. I find that it allows me to see my problem areas – which makes me work harder, but also lets me see the parts of myself that I’m happier with, which again provides the motivation to keep going.