There are all things we do in the gym that are, quite honestly, a waste of time. It’s hard enough to make time in the day to get to the gym so when you are there – even if it’s just for 20 minutes – you want to make the most of it. If you are like most people, you make one of the mistakes below that is limiting the gains you make. Check out our list below of 4 changes you can make now to get faster results from your training sessions.
1 – Focus Your Workouts around Compound Exercises
This is definitely the most important thing you can change today to unlock better results. Most people go to the gym and do an endless assortment of isolation exercises. The funny thing is, they could get much better results, in a fraction of the time, by focusing on compound lifts.
So which exercises are we talking about? The squat, deadlift, bench press and row are exercises that should be staples of your training routine. They work far more muscles than isolation exercises and allow you to lift heavier weight. In fact, you can build yourself a great body from doing ONLY those 4 exercises. Isolation exercises are simply accesories – ways to fill out lagging bodyparts or give certain muscle groups extra attention after the big lifts
When doing compound exercises, make sure they are performed at the beginning of the workout when you have the most energy. They will take a lot out of you, so you won’t need many isolation exercises after that to exhaust the target muscle group.
2 – Replace Steady-State Cardio with HIIT
High intensity interval training or HIIT is a form of cardio where you do short bursts of intense exercise followed by short rest periods. Most people who do cardio stick to steady-state: running on a treadmill for 40 minutes at the same speed. While better than nothing, this type of cardio is nowhere near as effective at burning fat while maintaining muscle mass as HIIT.
HIIT training keeps your body off-guard so it can’t find an efficient way to perform the exercise. By efficient way, we mean doing the cardio while burning as few calories as possible (this is how your body thinks). For people like us who have very little time to spare, doing 20 minutes of cardio instead of 40 sounds like a great deal. If that 20 minutes also burns more calorie then where do we sign up?
Remember that HIIT cardio takes a lot out of you. Don’t do it on the same days as you lift weights or it will limit your body’s ability to recover properly. Instead, do HIIT cardio on off-days.
3 – Replace Machines with Free Weights
While machines definitely have a place in your training routine they shouldn’t be the focus of every workout. Free weight training is simply more effective because it forces your body to balance the weight while lifting which means you end up working the stabilizer muscles as well. Also, machines are locked in a fixed motion which might not be natural for you. By using free weights instead of machines, you can perform each movement in a way that feels natural.
In terms of dumbbells vs barbells, it’s really up to you. We prefer dumbbells because it forces you to work each side individually and works the stabilizers more. However, if you are getting better results from the barbell then stick to that.
4 – Take a Testosterone Booster
Did you know that your testosterone levels are one of the biggest determinants of how much muscle you build, how much fat you carry and how intense your workouts are? Guys with high testosterone levels tend to have the most effective workouts which results in faster muscle growth. They also tend to have more masculine characteristics like risk taking and confidence.
There are a number of ways you can increase your testosterone level. Obviously lifting weights is one of them, but you should already be doing that. Eating a clean diet that is high in protein, healthy fats and complex carbs is another. One of the most crucial factors is how much sleep you are getting. In fact, your body produces the most testosterone while sleeping, so if you are cutting your sleep short then you can kiss those gains goodbye.
In addition to the above lifestyle changes, we also recommend taking a testosterone booster. These products are packed with natural ingredients that, when taken individually, have been shown to boost testosterone production. So what happens when you take them together? You get a powerful synergistic effect that will amplify your gains and shorten recovery times. There are a lot of new products out there so we understand it can be a bit overwhelming at first. You want to make sure you are taking a high-quality product (even if it costs more) as those are the ones that will give you the best results. In order to help you guys out, we’ve put together a guide to testosterone boosters. Click here to check out our dedicated testosterone booster page.
Bonus – Eliminate Distractions
When you are between sets, do you focus on the next set ahead or are you browsing the internet on your phone? If you picked the latter, you are seriously hurting your results. Phones are one of the biggest distractions at the gym (aside from socializing) so make sure you put yours on airplane mode the second you walk into the gym. It’s totally ok to use your phone to record your reps and sets and even to play music – but let’s keep it at that. That text message can wait until later.