How to Improve The Quality of Your Gym Sessions...
I always say to my clients it doesn’t matter if you go to the gym 5-6 times per week, if the quality of your gym sessions are poor then you aren’t going to see the results you want. You’re better off training 3-4 times per week but having better quality training sessions.
Here are my top tips on how you can improve the quality of your sessions and make progress in the gym:
Go in with a plan:
Having a workout plan provides you with structure so that you aren’t wondering what to do next and just end up reverting back to the cardio equipment. Workout plans set for you by a qualified trainer will tell you which exercises to do, how many reps, how many sets etc, everything is laid out for you. Especially when it’s laid out by a trainer who knows your goals; you know that everything they have planned for you aligns with your personal goals. And, if you don’t want to ask a trainer for a plan then sit down and write your own, even going in with your own plan improves your confidence and quality of sessions because you are going in with purpose – write yourself a plan and maybe ask a trainer if they will have a look over it for you to see if it’s suitable
Check your form:
You can exercise all you like and smash the gym but if your form is wrong then it is pointless – if you have incorrect form you are likely to a) hurt yourself or b) not target the areas you actually want to target. I would ALWAYS recommend getting a Personal Trainer at the start of your fitness journey to help you perfect your technique (ensuring you’ve got a good Personal Trainer that is!). Once you feel confident with your form then you can tackle the gym with confidence that you are doing it correctly – avoiding injury and also making a fool out of yourself.
Split your workouts up into specific muscle groups: -
I have benefited the most from structuring my workout split correctly, it means you can train 5-6 days per week without training muscles that are constantly hurting. If you are going into the gym and training legs or arms each time, chances are (if you’re doing it correctly) you are going to have muscle soreness for a couple of days, and you will not want to continue training muscles that are already sore. I always split mine and my clients sessions into specific muscle groups – you could also split this into push and pull days if that suits you better.
For example, Monday’s – Upper (Focusing on Chest & Triceps), Tuesday’s – Lower (Focusing on Quads), Wednesday’s – Upper (Focusing on Back & Biceps), Thursday’s – Rest, Friday’s – Lower (Glutes and Hamstrings), Saturday – Upper( Shoulders & Core) and Sunday – Rest!
This is just an example and might not work for everyone, but it shows how you can train hard every session and still train 5-6 times per week without constantly smashing the muscles that are sore. This will improve the quality of your sessions because you will always be training different muscles and allowing to push yourself.
Get a coach/ Personal Trainer: -
You might think I am bias because I am a Personal Trainer and that I am just looking at ways to get people to sign up with me. But that isn’t the case at all, since being a PT I have seen clients go from mediocre training to high level training – all because they’ve got someone there pushing them out of their comfort zone and doing things they would never usually do on their own. Increase weight and reps, supersets, time under tension, circuits; most Personal Trainers will have so much knowledge around exercise that they have such a variety of sessions and new ways to challenge you. A good PT will keep things exciting and never let you get comfortable, personally if any of my clients are on a certain weight for too long then we up the weight or we add in a superset to shock the muscles a bit more. Having a PT will give you that extra bit of motivation during your sessions even on the days when you don’t fancy it. It will also give you more ideas to try out in the gym on your own.
Have a high energy meal beforehand:-
To maximise performance and improve recovery its important to fuel your body with the right nutrients before a workout. Carbs help to boost your body’s ability to use glycogen to fuel short and high intensity exercise, whilst fat helps fuel your body for longer sessions. Eating protein helps improve muscle protein synthesis, prevent muscle damage and improve recovery.
A high energy meal should be eaten 3 hours to 30 minutes before a workout. But you want to have something that’s easy to digest, especially if you are working out within an hour of eating. I personally find eating something 1-2 hours before a workout gives me that extra bit of energy when lifting weights or doing a HIIT session – the last thing you want is to feel like you have no energy when you are doing your session.
Knowledge is power, if you learn how to effectively plan your sessions, perform exercises correctly, fuel your body and bring 100% with you into your sessions you are very likely to make some amazing progress. Your body WILL get use to the same exercise over and over again, if this is you and you feel like you've hit a wall with your training then try some of these tips. If you feel like you've tried all of this and you still aren't making the progress you want then feel free to pop me a email and we can look at ways to ensure your goals are met.
References: (Further Reading)
Pre-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat Before a Workout (healthline.com)
5 Reasons Why You Need A Fitness Plan (heandsheeatclean.com)
Food for fitness: is it better to eat before or after exercise? • Heart Research Institute UK (hriuk.org)