A lot of people still believe that determination and hard work will get them the desired results. That is true to a certain extent but it won’t really work unless you are doing it right. It’s time to start thinking SMART and start achieving better results with less effort . This is how to go about it:
One of the most important mindsets to acquire is that of starting to think in terms of compound lifts, i.e. more squats, bench-presses, pull-ups and deadlifts. Isolation lifts tend to use one muscle group only and the extra time and effort you put into that isn’t worth the extra muscle mass you get out of it.
By the same token you will want to work out all the various muscle groups and make sure that you are integrating your weight lifting with whole body muscle group (and cardio) exercise such as jogging or jumping rope. Always ask yourself if you are achieving a balanced upper body, lower body, cardio workout.
You will want to use free weights instead of machines for at least half of your workout time because machines give you a very area specific workout. You will see results in muscle mass but by not working out the supporting muscle around the major muscle groups you acquire less strength than if you are using free weights, and so it is important to bear that in mind.
Also you want to avoid exhausting your smaller and less durable stabilizer muscles before your workout is complete, so it is important to focus on your larger muscle groups first. Start off with the dumbbells, follow through with the barbells and approximately halfway through move over to the machines.
Flex your muscles after each set. For example do five arm curls and then straighten your arms completely. Flexing ensures that each muscle is being worked on through its entire range of motion.
Focusing on your breathing is of vital importance during workout and it is often overlooked. You really must learn to take in more oxygen and avoid getting “winded”. With each set your mind should be focused just on your breathing and on the muscle groups doing the work. Don’t let your mind drift off, stay focused.
The breathing should also be the main focus of your stretching as the stretching in itself increases circulation to the muscles and when this is boosted by deep and slow breathing you will gain the double advantage of being able to stretch better and feed more oxygen to the muscles.
No matter how hard you work out in the gym, you are only there for a small fraction of your day. You can achieve the equivalent of an extra hour’s workout a day by modifying your daily habits. The most obvious thing is to incorporate other exercise when possible (ie take the stairs instead of the elevator, use a bicycle instead of the car etc), but most importantly don’t let your muscles sit completely idle for 8 hours a day. Every 60-90 minutes get up and shake your arms, do calf raises and a bit of stretching. Set a timer so you don’t forget. If you cannot do this by your desk because of work protocol, take the habit of “going to the toilet” a little more often.
So just follow our tips and you will be amazed at how much more muscle mass you’ll get with less effort. You will be seeing and feeling the difference in record time and will definitely be glad that you have taken the SMART approach and are getting 100% pure muscle for your time and effort!