We spend a lot of time going to the gym, trying to eat right and spending some serious change on getting our ideal physique. But maybe there are a couple things that are lagging in your day to day life that are holding back your gains. Checking up on your pre/post workout nutrition, focusing in on the actual workout and taking some time to really think about your goals throughout all the pushing and pulling of weight.
Pre/Post Workout Nutrition
One of the most crucial aspects throughout your fitness journey is ensuring your nutrition is in line as much to the T as possible. If possible, try and track everything you consume for the next week and you’ll get a good idea if there needs to be a change. Even more crucial is your pre workout and post workout meals/supplementation. Before you go workout you want some type of slow digesting carbohydrate with a lean protein that will provide you with lasting energy throughout your workout. Post workout is a great time for a whey protein shake that will soak up into the muscles extremely quick and also a simple carb like some white rice, white potatoes or a few pieces of fruit.
As far as supplementing pre workout into your routine, this is always something you should check with your doctor to see if your body can handle such thing. A safer way to provide a quick bolt of energy is drinking some plain, black coffee or a cup or so of green tea. This will give you a boost of energy form the caffeine but without all the additives and crash that occurs later. Sodium in your diet is crucial to getting a pump in the muscles you are working. Add a few dashes of salt to your water before you go workout and use salt (wisely) throughout the day to ensure there’s enough in your diet. Post workout supplementation is just as important if not more than you what you’re supplementing with before you workout. This is the time that your body is depleted and ready to rebuild. Add some creatine, BCAAs and glutamine into your post workout supplement routine and watch your muscles blow up.
There’s so much emphasis on actually working out that sometimes people forget to not just go through the motions and actually squeeze and contract the muscles with every rep. For example, the bench press is one of the greatest chest builders when performed correctly. Instead of hitting your traditional 4 x 10 routine and maybe moving the weight up a bit in between sets, try to flex your chest at the peak of each movement – so much harder!
Focus also come from during the workout by staying focused on not just getting through the workout but lifting with correct form for each set and each rep. Music is an excellent way to keep your focus all the way up for the hour you’re in the gym. Find something that fits your style, crank it up and always wait for the good part to start that heavy set!
Debrief Every Single Day
Many of us will look at this last point and shrug it off but don’t be so quick to push this to the side. Debriefing or practicing some sort of relaxation technique every day allows the body to really cool down and promote more anabolism. This is due to the central nervous system getting a full break from the constant breaking down of muscles and pounding of your heart.
When the central nervous system gets a full break your cortisol levels are able to drop below what they normally do on a day-to-day basis which thus enhances testosterone production which we all know leads to greater muscle gains. Try something like a 20-30 minute session of relaxation yoga, sitting and reading/writing in a journal or even just sitting in silence at the beginning of every single day to clear your head of all the clutter and get away from the daily grind.
While getting in the gym and eating somewhat clean is a majority of the battle, there are multiple things you can check on to see if there’s anything lacking in your routine. Although not a major role individually, doing all the little things right add up to quite a chunk in the end!