Sometimes you can be putting 100 percent into a workout, mentally and physically, yet you don’t get maximum results, which quite frankly is more than a little frustrating. But there are things you can do outside the gym that will help you get maximum gains inside it, plus strategic ways of working out that we can all benefit from.
For instance, I like to train after I've fasted so my body uses excess fat rather than the food I’ve just consumed for fuel. I have a caffeine-rich pre-workout drink laced with a serving of the amino acid leucine; this gives me the energy to exercise and helps protect my muscles, ensuring my body burns stubborn fat instead. With this trick in mind, I called on seven personal trainers to find out how to hack your own workout to ensure you’re getting the results all that hard work (and sweat) deserves. Keep scrolling to find out how to turbocharge your workout results.
“I work a lot with my clients on enhancing the connection between mind and muscle, particularly during a warm-up. Have you ever been training a particular body part, but not actually felt much tension or activation where you are supposed to be feeling it? For example, feeling it more in the lower back, rather than your glutes when squatting.
Before your next session perform some simple activation drills (such as glute bridges), but this time send a strong signal from your brain directly to your muscles to switch on with 100 percent effort. This will enhance your neuromuscular pathways, leading to more muscle fibres being recruited and an accelerated results process. Brain, meet muscle. Muscle, meet brain,” — Rory Knight, Nike Master Trainer and Run Club Coach at Equinox
“My go-to tip before training is firing up my neurotransmitters, which has an effect on focus and clarity whilst training. I'll have a double espresso made from a good quality coffee bean and add a sprinkling of maca. That really gives me a kick!” —Russ Bateman, founder of SBC
“You want to train hard three or four times a week? Great! But your performance will gradually decline if you don’t recover well from training, leaving you with sore muscles, ultimately too tired to keep to your training schedule.
After every session make sure you spend some time foam rolling, this is a form of self-massage. Concentrate on the muscles you have worked in the session, rolling them, which will reduce the level of soreness you feel the next day.
On the way home from the gym, grab some Epsom salts and have a hot bath for at least 12 minutes after training with literally half the packet of salts in the bath. This will aid muscle recovery. Finally try to ensure you get eight hours sleep, this is where your body recovers best so you can keep up your training enthusiasm!” — Richard Tidmarsh, owner and lead trainer of Reach Fitness London
“Don’t work out without a plan. Get strategic. Work a different muscle group each day so that you are never too fatigued to exercise. At Barry's, every day focuses on a different group, try it at the gym for yourself.” — Anya Lahiri, trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp London
Try this week split training plan:
Monday: Arms and abs
Tuesday: Legs and butt
Wednesday: Chest and back
Friday: Full body
“If you are doing, say, 10 reps, treat each rep as just one. So, you are 100% focused on technique and movement instead of rushing through your number of reps just to get to the end.” — Dalton Wong, founder of TwentyTwo Training and author of The Feel Good Plan
“One of the best things to have pre-workout is carbs, as they're energy and an ergogenic aid that enables you to train harder, faster and longer. This can be in the form of Lucozade or Haribo, which are probably huge no-no's for everyone, but ultimately they put fast available fuel into your muscles. But that’s not the green light to eat tons of sweets. To see real results from your workouts, your focus should be on hitting the right number of calories every day. If you’re doing that day in, day out with consistency throughout seven days a week, then you’ll see results. Want to take it a step further? Consider looking at your macro-nutrient (carbs, protein, fats) breakdown.” — Steve Mellor, founder of Freedom2Train
“Try avoiding alcohol like the plague—it honestly is your worst enemy if you are trying to get your body back in shape or stick to a regime! Not only will it make you feel sluggish and bloated, but it will also reduce your body’s ability to burn fat.” — James Duigan, founder of Bodyism
How do you turbocharge your workout? Share your hacks in the comment box below.