If you're already in the gym and you haven't prepared correctly, you can stop reading now; it's too late. You might still have an OK workout, but you can't expect your body to perform like a well-oiled machine without a little more preparation than that.
Before every workout I do, there are five steps I follow to become perfectly prepared for the war that awaits me on the gym floor. No matter how busy I am, what my schedule is like, or where I am in the world, I won't forget to follow my set pre-workout ritual—ever.
Is it always convenient? No, but it's always worth the trouble. Each one of these steps complements the other. There's synergy running through the core of this process, so don't skip around. Read, learn, and then try it for yourself to prepare for one of the hardest biceps and triceps workouts you've ever done.
90 Minutes Pre-Workout
Every 3 hours, I eat a meal; I haven't missed a meal in over 16 years. If you've followed any of my programs, from the original Hardcore Trainer to the Muscle Building Trainer or 4Weeks2Shred, you know that they're all built on the same nutritional foundation.
One of my meals always lands 90 minutes before my workout, because my body needs this fuel to give my muscles the glycogen required to perform and the amino acids to buffer catabolism. This meal will also establish control over my blood sugar levels before my workout, so there's no intense crash during training.
You know how I roll in the gym; I go all out with nothing but Spartan intensity. This pre-workout meal has to be right in order to guarantee me the performance I aspire to in the gym. I'll usually stick to fish pre-workout, because my body digests this protein very comfortably, and the carbohydrates will either come from rice or potatoes (white or sweet) with some additional veggies.
The last thing you need before you train is food that sits heavy in your gut, sabotaging your intensity.
60 Minutes Pre-Workout
Now that you've given your pre-workout meal enough time to digest and clear, it's time to prepare your pre-workout drink and sip it for 5-10 minutes. You want get the entire dose down within 45 minutes of beginning your workout.
This is the period before your workout where you need to expand your blood-vessel network with powerful natural vasodilators and stimulate your nervous system to heighten your mind-muscle connection.
You've got to make your own decision on which pre-workout to opt for. But here's what you should look for when making your choice.
Efficacious Dosing: Having a specific ingredient isn't enough; you need it in the right dose, or it will not perform for you. Ingredient "dusting" is rampant; some blends will have just a few grams of a certain ingredient, while other companies will offer 30 grams of the same ingredient. It's up to you to do the math and know what you're getting.
Powerhouse Ingredients: Your pre-workout has to bring the pump, stimulate your mind, and prepare you for war. In my opinion, the best ingredients to do this—provided they are dosed correctly—are natural caffeine, L-citrulline, and beta-alanine. I also like coconut water to help prolong endurance.
15 Minutes Pre-Workout
Supplements alone aren't enough to turn weakness into weaponry. That's why you need to set aside a little time to work on your mindset, which is what 95 percent of people forget to do.
No workout preparation is complete without taking your mind into a dark place where destruction can thrive. To face anguish and paddle through the pain of lactate-fueled torture that awaits you, your mind needs to be set for the occasion. Otherwise, you'll fall flat like a lone flower in a storm.
Nothing other than the workout ahead gets your attention 15 minutes out. Not your phone, not social media—nothing that distracts you or dilutes your aggression. Plug your mind into the painful adventure that awaits you. Imagine yourself crushing the weight, and pepper your environment with music that throws gasoline over your fire!
5 Minutes Pre-Workout
From here on, you're in the gym. But, before you start your workout, you need to go through some physical preparation. No workout will ever be complete without the correct physical preparation, because at a state of rest, your body isn't mobilized correctly.
To be truly prepared, you must do some mobility work first, making your joints more supple, then move into your warm-up sets, where you begin to excite your central nervous system. The central nervous system is like a rev limiter in a car, in that it has different thresholds, and you have to push the throttle in order to reach the high-end performance.
Move through the weights, and build up to your working weight before your first real set. This will guarantee that your CNS is firing on all cylinders and you're pulling all available muscle fibers into the struggle.
There's nothing else left for you to do except crush this workout. If you've already tried my DTP training in the past, this new arm workout takes pieces of all the things I've learned and brings them together for an intense experience of savagery and anguish.
Every set in this workout is a superset; you'll be crushing your biceps and triceps alongside one another through the whole workout. Expect your skin to feel like it's going to rip as the blood gushes into your arms.
Now, Bathe in the Lactate
That finisher is going to separate the proverbial men from the boys. I anticipate over half of you will fail to complete it.
If you make it through to the end, congratulations. If you don't, you need to stick around a little longer to learn from me. Keep improving both your workouts and your workout preparation, and you'll scale your training intensity up to where it needs to be!