At the gym yesterday I found myself asking what sort of tips or advice I could write pertaining to boosting workouts that might be at least somewhat unique and useful. Everyone who works out regularly is always looking for ways to boost their performance at the gym in various ways. Some people want to lift a little more weight than last week, others would like to add a rep or two to their sets, and for cardio some might like to increase the duration or intensity of their workout. So I’m going to present you with a 8 ideas that I believe might help boost your workouts. These ideas may be a little unconventional so I’ll provide a short explanation for why I believe incorporating them into your workouts could give you a boost.
WRITE IT DOWN – Take a small notepad with you or use an app on your phone to keep track of what exercises you’ve done, how much weight you lifted with each set, and how many reps you did with each set. For cardio write down which machine you used, duration, and distance. Keeping track of all of this information will provide you with numbers to compare against and improve upon by adding a rep each week, adding weight, running a little longer than last time, or running faster than last time. If you can’t remember what exactly you did for your previous workouts it’s almost impossible to tell whether you’re improving or not.
WEAR HEADPHONES – This idea might sound silly, but I think this can really be a mental booster. If certain songs motivate and inspire you then consider making a playlist of those songs for your workouts. Also for a little extra credit you could put the songs that really get your adrenaline pumping towards the end of your playlist so towards the end of your workout those songs will be playing and you’ll have that mental toughness to get through it. Many of you are may already wearing headphones during your workouts and so you already know the mental boost this can give you. Wearing headphones might be a nuisance for some people to wear during their workouts and that’s understandable, but there are more ideas below so keep reading. The highest quality headphones for exercising that aren’t outrageously priced in my opinion are the Jaybird X2 Wireless Headphones.
GET SOME PROTEIN BEFORE & AFTER– Research studies have shown that getting some protein before and after a workout can reduce muscle damage, stimulate muscle growth, and speed recovery time. Some protein before a workout could help you get that extra rep or lift that extra 5lbs. Some protein after a workout may shorten the amount time that your muscles are sore.
MOVE AROUND WITH URGENCY – Don’t just lolligag around the gym. Moving to each new exercise with urgency will help you break a good sweat, keep your heart rate up, and keep your adrenaline pumping.
TRY 1 NEW EXERCISE EACH WORKOUT – Your muscles get used to the same exercises over and over. Mixing it up could give you a performance boost. Doing a variety of exercises will also work different muscles or different areas of muscles which have been neglected by doing the same exercise over and over. Cathe Friedrich has a good article on her site about the importance of exercise variety.
RECRUIT A PARTNER – If you can, try to recruit a friend to join the gym and work out with you. Knowing that someone else is expecting you to meet them at the gym will help with keeping on a regular schedule. A workout partner can always assist with that extra rep and provide a little vocal motivation if necessary. Just make sure that your partner is serious about exercising and not just meeting you for some good conversation otherwise your workouts could suffer. For some more reasons why you should recruit a workout partner click here.
PUT PLATES BACK ON THE RACKS – I still don’t understand why people can’t re-rack barbell plates after they’re done using them. I assume it’s out of pure laziness and lack of compassion. It’s common courtesy to re-rack the barbell plates because those 45lb plates are not light for anyone to lug around unless you’re Ronnie Coleman. Anyways, this might not be a huge workout booster, but think of hauling the extra weight of the plates back to their respective racks as a tiny workout in itself.
GO TO THE GYM REGULARLY – Duh! This is a no brainer, but it’s important to make time in your schedule for the gym and to attend regularly. If you miss a workout it’s fine, but once you start missing multiple workouts in a row then it starts to become a habit and before you know it you’ve quit going altogether.
Do you have any great ideas for boosting workouts? If so please share in the comments below.