Through years of trial and error, experienced athletes have learned that optimizing their time in the gym is a key to improving their performance. Many beginner and intermediate lifters discover this the hard way—say, when they're crushing a workout at a new level of intensity and suddenly their gas tank runs dry. They've got no choice but to grind through a subpar second half of the workout, setting themselves up for suboptimal results.
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are five tips you can use in your next workout to ensure that you finish as strong as you start:
Tip 1: Be Present for Your Whole Workout, Not Just Part of It
Before you even reach the gym, have a plan of what you want to accomplish. Once your workout begins, be present during each rep and between sets. No texting or scrolling through social media. Instead, use the time between sets to visualize how you're going to improve your form on the next set. As you pump out your reps, focus on the mind-muscle connection. Make sure you're fully contracting your target muscles on each rep.
Tip 2: Warm Up Thoroughly
A common mistake many novices make is jumping straight into their working sets. Instead, warm up by doing some steady-state cardio or reps with light weights—much lighter than you will use for your work sets. This will raise your core temperature, make your tissues more elastic, and help get more blood flowing into your muscles, better preparing them to handle serious weights without injury. Use your warm-up time to improve your technique, getting quality reps at a low intensity.
Tip 3: Hydrate Before, During, and After Your Workout
While most people are aware of the importance of hydration, it's often an afterthought, if it's considered at all. Drinking enough fluid before and during your workout will help make up for what you inevitably lose while training. Factors like your training style, the temperature, and your fluid consumption before you start your workout will affect how much you sweat during it, so be sure to stay hydrated. After your workout, replenish your body with more fluids.
Tip 4: Track Your Workout
Tracking the important details of your workout—such as the weights you use, the reps per set completed, and your heart rate during cardio—will help you make progress from workout to workout. Having small benchmark goals at each workout will motivate you to get the most out of it.
Tip 5: Fuel to Finish Strong
Along with drinking enough water, make sure you top up with amino acids, beta-alanine, pump-inducing L-citrulline, and even caffeine to help you power through to the very last rep. Of course, it would be difficult to get all those nutrients from food alone during your workout. That's where an intra-workout formula such as IN-KAGED enters the picture. Because it's designed to address the challenges of mid-workout nutrition, it's an effective way to push your body to finish as strong as you started. Try one scoop of IN-KAGED during your next workout, WOD, or game, and feel the difference. Bodybuilding.com customers like you rate this product 9.6 out of 10.
Go Forth and Conquer the Weights
We've all had training sessions that started out strong but quickly fizzled into merely moving through one exercise after another. To keep those sessions to a minimum and bring the heat to the gym floor every time, keep your mind and body engaged. Remove any roadblocks, mental or physical, that stand in the way of your goals, and get after it!