Act Like A Beginner in the Gym

This post is about taking some tools from beginners to get the best results in the gym

Remember when you first started working out? The excitement you’d feel for each workout because it meant you were closer to your goal. I remember them like it was yesterday. Now I find myself sometimes falling into the trap of the end result.

I believe the key to continue making progress in the gym and even speeding up the process is acting like a beginner and still applying the knowledge gained from years of working out and studying fitness. Having that hunger of a beginner allows you to be present for your workout. You’re not worried about the successes or failures of previous workouts. Your only concern is dominating your current workout and moving one step closer to your goals. By focusing on your current workout, you’re likely to use more intensity rather than going through the motions.

The attitude of a beginner allows you to focus more on how the current workout will move you closer to your goal rather than if you struggle. Part of the reason people reach plateaus is not because of a lack of passion but because they don’t have the same level of passion as they did earlier in their fitness lives.

Many factors play into why this happens. Daily stresses of life and doing the same workout are some of the main culprits. Switching up your routine and managing stress will help with these issues. One way to battle stress is meditation.

I also find that there’s less ego when you have the beginners mindset. You’re more concerned about improving yourself than competing with others. There’s a greater focus on how you can improve.

Another thing I like about beginners is they don’t know any better. Plateau is not in their vocabulary. They only saw room for improvement. Our minds are what holds us back. I like the saying ” the body follows where the mind goes “. By having the beginners mindset of constant improvement, you can take your body to new heights regardless of your fitness goals.

Experience based knowledge combined with the enthusiasm of a beginner will lead to amazing results.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else. It will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must stay there, you must go beyond them. – Bruce Lee

The Power is in Your Hands

This post is about using your hands to boost your workout performance

Lifting heavy weights is awesome. There’s all kinds of changes you can make to improve your lifts like stretching a certain muscle or changing your body position. I recently learned about a hack I can use that will help me with any lift.The key is in how you grip the weight. Grip strength is obviously important in a lift like the deadlift but it can also help your other lifts.

Try doing a lift while passively holding a weight. Now try the same lift while gripping the weight tightly and see if there’s a difference. I briefly mentioned this in a previous article Get Stronger With Light Weights  . I learned about this technique from legendary strength coach Pavel Tsatsouline. This technique has been very useful for me when I do any of my heavy lifts.

The more I thought about it, the more it makes sense. Lifting heavy triggers the Flight or Flight response in your body. Flight or Flight is when you’re in a very stressful situation and your body’s natural response is to run away or fight. This is your body’s way to protect you whether you’re being chased by a wild animal or have heavy weight on your back.By holding onto a weight as if your life is depending on it, the flight or fight response multiplies. By eliciting a greater fight or flight response, your body is forced to “fight” or generate greater force in your lift. How else can you explain those stories about a mom lifting a car to save her baby that was stuck under?

This is probably why my lifts usually improve the better I get at Farmers walks Get Strong With Farmers Walks!. The farmers walk strengthens your grip and your core. The stronger your grip is, the easier it is to hold onto a weight tightly. A stronger grip also allows you to squeeze the bar harder and elicit that flight or fight response in your body to generate greater force.

Get your hands stronger!

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Leave The Gym and Come Back Stronger!

This article is about the things I did for a week to help my body recover from lifting.

When it comes to fitness and achieving your goals, you have to focus on longevity. If you’ve been pushing your body through intense workouts, you’ll need to take time off sooner or later. It’s better to have a planned week off than be sidelined due to injury. The week off gives your muscles and joints time to recover. Knowing when to back off is critical for the longevity of your body. After weeks of challenging my body through heavy weights and intense cardio, I decided to take a week away from my workout routine. To make the most of my recovery week, I did things that would benefit my nervous system while still remaining active.

Monday: On Monday I did 3 minutes of leopard crawls to start my day. I enjoy crawls because they stimulate my nervous system. Doing leopard crawls will make you feel like you can fight a lion. They suck while doing them but you’ll feel refreshed afterwards. Try it out if you don’t believe me. In the evening I played pick up basketball with my friends.

Tuesday: I woke up and did 3 minutes of leopard crawls just like the day before. In the evening I did 40 minutes of yoga and meditation to relax my body and mind.

Wednesday: By this point, I was itching to get back to the gym. It took me every ounce of disclipline not to go. In the morning, I did 5 minutes of meditation to get my mind right. A healthy mind is important for a healthy body. In the evening, I did 10 minutes of crawling and walked for 15 minutes.

Thursday: I didn’t do anything in the morning. I had to run some errands before going to work. That evening, I did a lot of deep tissue work. I used a pvc pipe and lacrosse ball to loosen up some tight muscles. I prefer these over foam rollers because they go deeper into the muscles. Afterwards, I did 30 minutes of meditation.

Friday: Friday morning, I did a few minutes of meditation to get my mind right for the day. In the evening, I challenged myself by doing a one hour yoga workout. I’m a big advocate of yoga as a compliment to any fitness routine.

Saturday: I did 30 minutes of yoga followed by 30 minutes of meditation. 30 minutes seems long but I’ve been meditating for the best 2 years so I’ve gained  high level of comfort with it. I’m a believer in the benefits meditation can have for your health and fitness because I’ve experienced it. If you want to see why I think every active person should meditate, check out this article Meditate For Faster Results!!   

Sunday: I did some deep tissue work and 20 minutes of light yoga. I followed that up with 30 minutes of meditation. That’s just 1.5 hours of my entire day to greatly improve my health. I’d rather do that than watch a tv show that I’ll barely be paying attention to. I’m looking forward to getting back in the gym with renewed energy.

In addition to these activities, I did contrast showers ( alternating between hot and cold water) and got at least seven hours of sleep every night. It’s important to take time to let your body recover. Even though you may feel fine physically, your nervous system could be fried and you wouldn’t be aware of it. Take a look at an old article on my recovery weeks What Happened When I Took 2 Weeks off of Lifting?.

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