Many women head to the gym often for the purpose of general health and wellness. Exercise promotes wellness and reduces stress, so that is a wonderful mentality. However, if one of your goals from going to the gym is to see results, then there are 6 habits you need to know about. These 6 gym habits will help you see better results from your work outs, faster.
1. Lift heavier weights
It’s great that you are able to do 50 reps with those 6 pound dumbbells, but you won’t see results unless you start lifting heavier weights. Every two weeks, your goal should be to switch to a heavier set of weights – no matter what exercise you are doing. If the exercise involves weights, push yourself enough that you feel the burn, and you’re guaranteed to see better results. Keep increasing your weights until you feel you’ve reached your cap.
2. Don’t forget about cardio
Perhaps you attended a Stretch & Core class at She’s Fit and you feel great because you’ve worked out your abs and you’ve at least gone to the gym, so you’re ready to head home. However, if you are looking to see results, you should not leave the gym without doing some cardio as well. Put your headphones in, jump on a treadmill or stairmaster, and do at least 30 minutes of cardio before you head home to watch Netflix. You’ll reach your fitness goals much sooner this way.
3. Try something new
Your workout routine likely has some variety to it: a few different exercises that you are comfortable doing. Every now and then, try adding a new and challenging workout into your routine. If you trick your body by introducing it to a new exercise, your body will have to work harder and expend more energy than it would if it is the same old routine that your body is used to. At most gyms, there are many staff members around who can recommend a new move that would fit nicely into your routine.
4. Pre-plan your meals
Your pre-workout and post-workout meals should be carefully planned. If results are what you are after, portion control is key, as well as high-protein, low carb and low sugar meals. For example, if you tend to work out in the evening, about 45 minutes before you hit the gym you should eat a healthy dinner such as fish and steamed broccoli. Throw in half a banana for extra energy for the gym. After the gym, a great post-workout meal is a protein shake that is low in fat, but contains protein powder and some carbohydrates (the other half of your banana) to restore your glycogen.
5. Use targeted workouts
If you have time to go to the gym 4 days per week, why not target a different muscle group each time you go? One day can be your butt workout day, where squats and lunges are your focus. Another day you can work out your arms, etc. You will see results faster if you get into this habit, because you are targeting specific muscles and you will therefore be more focused at the gym.
6. Higher intensity
No matter what exercise you are doing at the gym, whether it is cardio or squat repetitions, you should perform all exercises with as much intensity as you can. When you’re squatting, really squeeze your glutes and focus on the muscles. Do as many reps as you can. When you’re on the stairmaster, try to go at a fast pace so that the intensity of the workout is heightened. That way, rather than feeling as though you may have half-assed it, you can go home knowing that you really kicked butt. When your workouts are intense, you’ll see results faster.
Erica Majored in Psychology at UBC and now works at the dating site, PlentyOfFish. She moonlights as a freelance writer and believes any problem can be solved with a glass of red wine and an episode of How I Met Your Mother. See more of her articles on her hilarious advice column TheBabeReport.com. Oh, and she's obsessed with Hawaii. Want proof? Follow her on instagram @ericaleighgordon.