In some distant, parallel universe, the laws of responsibility are reversed. Work is something you do in your spare time. Working out, on the other hand, is an essential life task—something to which you devote countless hours to survive in society. In this bold, fitness-driven world, your benefits include being strong, looking fantastic and feeling even better. Life is good.
Reality check. According to USAToday, No matter how much daydreaming you do, that alternate setting doesn’t exist—unless your name is Jay, Ronnie, or Victor. In this time and place, working out plays second fiddle to a number of obligations. And since your time is valuable, you can’t waste one second on a bad workout. Hell, the good ones are tough enough to plan for. Strained reps, poor energy levels, incomplete sets, longer-than-desired workouts, and shoddy results can leave you feeling like your time in the gym is all for naught. But there are things you can do before and after you head to the gym to ensure supercharged workouts today, tomorrow, and beyond—tips that can improve your efficiency, strength, even your time spent with the iron. If you’re going to schedule your day around the gym, make sure you head in there well-rested, your strength tank topped off, your playlist ready to go, and the following pointers in tow. The result? A stronger, fitter body. Now that’s a reality worth reaching for.
Your workout doesn’t start when you walk into the gym—it begins when you wake up in the morning and continues throughout the day. Preparations go beyond just packing your gym bag. They start with eating the right things at the right times to increase your body’s productivity at the gym. In addition to your usual nutritional goals, you should observe that what you’re eating is meant to power you through your workout. So choose wisely.
Before your workout, whether you train before work, or in the evening after work, there are certain things you can and should do to gear up for the battle ahead. Again, nutrition plays a part, but your supplements are what will put you over the top. Taking the right supps during this crucial window helps get your body in a position to grow from today’s session.
Immediately after your workout you should start looking ahead. Your body needs the right fuel to grow and repair itself over the next few days, and you need to start getting ready for your next bout with the weights. That recuperation and preparation starts now. By following these post-workout protocols, not only will you enhance your body’s ability to grow from today’s beatdown but you’ll also get yourself right and ready for tomorrow’s trip to the gym.
Always be in a constant state of readiness. While most of the following tips are geared around pre- and post-workout times, there are some things you can do at different times of the day to get the most out of your workouts. Remember cruising through a set of heavy squats may not be as tough as actually finding enough time in your day to get yourself to the gym. If that’s the case, you need to take every step possible to make sure you get your money’s worth while you’re there. Every set—every rep—is an investment in your physique, and you don’t have the capital to waste on bad workouts. It’s a commitment you’ve made to yourself, and as the saying goes, anything worth doing is worth doing right.
Incorporate as many of the following tips as possible to start maximizing the benefits of your gym time.