So how do you know you are getting the most out of your workouts? If the below applies to you, you’re on the right track!
1: You’re Nearly As Strong From One Set To The Next: This tells you that you’re using the right weight, you’re resting enough between sets and you’re body is properly fuelled through your pre workout nutrition – whether this is in the form of actual food or liquid. Remember that if the opposite occurs, make sure you are warmed up enough before your workout, that you’re not using too much weight and that you are using correct form and working the muscle – not rushing through in a jerk-style movement each rep. I would recommend between 1 minute to 2 minutes rest between sets.
2: You Don’t Feel Hungry: If you get the urge for hunger before your workout is over it means blood-glycogen levels are dropping, meaning that muscle glycogen is being used leading you to use muscle protein for energy – not what you want, if you’re trying to build muscle and strength. A key rule – if your body burns muscle protein, it means your muscles will always be small. Never, ever neglect your daily nutrition – if it means you have to skip a training session in order to feed your body, so be it…..nutrition is critical to muscle growth!
3: You’re Pumped: A few sets into your workout, you should feel your muscles getting bigger, feeling heavier with a veiny look….well this is the pump that Arnie once compared to sex…….how to get that pump? For each muscle group, do three or four sets of 10 to 15 reps using light weights, resting around 30 to 40 seconds after each set. This is a great exercise for the chest, shoulders and the arms. The benefits of the pump (apart from comparing it to sex) include: (a): kicking muscle-building enzymes into high gear, (b): improving the muscles ability to store nutrients thus creating more muscular endurance – giving them a fuller, harder look, (c): generating lactic acid thus stimulating growth hormones which lead to bigger muscles and smaller fat cells, (d): and of course – looking and feeling great!
4: Your Body Feels Worked Out But Not Wiped Out: Ways to check you haven’t overdone things in the gym is noticing whether your arms are shaking slightly when getting changed, smaller muscle groups containing muscle spasms……
5: You Feel Great: You should after the hard work and prep you’ve put in….that elation should continue well into the remainder of the day and carry you to your next workout…..seeing improvements in your workout will only make you want to better yourself next time, which is a great feeling of achievement – and it is possible!
It is also worth understanding how to avoid mistakes in your workout, while making sure you hit all the above mentioned goals……a training log is a must. Recording your performances and how much you lift will enable you to try and better it and see the progress you have made – that is motivation in itself. The aim, if you want to increase muscle mass, is lift heavier or increase the reps as you progress, while keeping a record each time. One final mistake, which is common, is doing too much at once. Many newcomers think that while most people with great bodies do, say an hour in the gym, doing 2 hours will compensate and help them catch up with the pros overtime….no it won’t. It will just stop you from progressing at the rate your body dictates, while risking injury and even stopping you from continuing on your weekly training plan.
I mentioned in my last article – “Signs Your Workout Isn’t Working” https://www.pumpingfit.com/signs-your-workout-isnt-working/ that doing the same exercises can cause boredom – as well as not challenging your muscles, which they crave for, in order to get bigger. Do the research, speak to others in the gym – see what other exercises are possible (dependant on your actual goals and objectives).
Keep the faith and keep up the great work!