You want to maximize all that time you put into working out for obvious reasons. This is L.A., so there’s that. Above and beyond looking good you might even want to be healthy, function well and avoid injury as you move through the world. Well, at least that’s what I want for you. So let’s look at a few areas where many people could use a little improvement and optimize their gym experience.
Bad Form / Too Much Weight
Bad form doesn’t necessarily always come from too much weight, but too much weight generally leads to bad form. People go their entire lives doing exercise improperly, which develops poor muscle interaction. Improper form also prevents maximum results for the effort exerted. Too much weight almost always leads to bad form. Swinging on a lat pulldown helps to move more plates, but takes the focus off of the lats and into the mid back, more like a row.
Another example would be doing a lateral shoulder raise with too much weight. Your elbows will naturally bend and take the pressure when the shoulder cannot produce the force in this lift, so now your elbows are doing half the work when you are trying to hit the shoulders.
Drop the weight if that’s the issue. Focusing on form can bring bigger gains than lifting improperly. A good way to get more hit to the muscle is to do a one- or two-hold between reps. If you wonder if your form is good you can always work with a trainer, even for just a few sessions, or find a good trainer you trust on the internet.
No Tracking or Structure
I’ve had a lot of success with people by creating structure and sticking to a plan. I’ve had guys come to me who have spent years in the gym and been in decent shape, but a few months and some structure later and they’re starting to get ripped. A lot of gym goers will just do whatever they feel like doing that day, and it’s way better than doing nothing, but is a slow road to results.
Get a plan, record your results and track your progress in a notebook or in the notes section of your phone. You should be regularly working toward an increase in reps, weight, a slower negative, something. Muscle needs challenges to tear and repair, which equals growth. Get a plan and then best yourself!
Lifting weights is actually tearing the muscle. When we take a rest day, and also when we sleep, the muscle repairs itself, and in the process it grows. If you go to the gym religiously this may sound crazy, but you can actually take a whole week off and not shrink into a little tiny girl! Trust me I tested this out and it works. There were a bunch of years where I just wouldn’t take time off – I thought for sure the whole thing would fall apart. What I found is that when I went back to the gym I was much stronger for the break.
Take a day or two off each week, and a week here and there. An expert on sleep that I interviewed for a show suggested seeing how long you naturally sleep on the weekend and then making that happen during the week. Many of us think we are fine with six and a half or seven hours of sleep, when our bodies actually need more.
Excuses or Results
Many people let their relationships and their jobs come before their physical fitness. Our bodies are the most valuable thing that we have. To take care of the body should always be the number one priority. When you’re in good shape, you can actually take better care of all of your responsibilities and the people around you.
Commit to yourself first, everything else will fall into place.