Weight training and building muscle is all about intensity. Unlike other disciplines that require hours of training in order to progress, weight training requires increased intensity and short training sessions. There are many ways you can increase the intensity of your sessions…drop sets, supersets, short/long rest times, forced reps etc. But what most lifters do not focus on is mental intensity. Your mental state before and during your workouts is crucial to having a good session.
Do you just wander into the gym, bang out a few sets and hope for the best? I used to be one of these people. Now I prepare for my workouts long before I step into the gym, and the payoffs have been huge. More intense, focused workouts. I found that I train so much harder when I’m fully prepared mentally. Here are some things I do to prepare for my workouts before I step into the gym.
Get fired up! Here’s some tips:
Eat to train.
You’re nothing without the right pre-workout nutrition. Although this isn’t mental, it’s worth the mention because if you don’t eat right no amount of mental preparation will be enough to carry you through the session. Complex carbohydrates are your main energy source, all you meals should have around 50-80g of complex carbs and you should eat about 1.5-2 hours before your workout. If you need it, a pre-workout drink can be consumed before you train.
Go through in your workout in your head.
You should never wait til’ you’re in the gym to decide what exercises you’re going to do. Think about your workout during the day. Think about what exercises you’re going to do, how much weight you want to move, and any personal bests you want to improve on. You should aim to improve at least 1 thing every workout. Could be a few more reps, bit more weight, whatever. Keep moving forward.
Listen to music that fires you up.
I got through phases, sometimes I like rap, other times it hard dance. Whatever floats your boat. Listen to the music that you play when you train. Nothing like some good beats to get you in the mood.
Watch training workout videos.
Nothing fires me up to train like watching the pros do it. There are loads of training videos around the web, and plenty of DVDs for sale. One of my favorites is Layne Norton. He’s a pro natural bodybuilder and his training intensity is just insane. I’ve included a video at the bottom of the page for you to check out.
Review your goals/progress.
Think about where you want to be, why you’re training. Focus on that goal. If you’ve been training for a while, think about the progress you’ve made. How much stronger you’ve become and how much bigger and stronger you want to be.
When you’re on the way to the gym start to get in “the zone”. Pump the music up, get fired up for the workout! You’re not in the gym to check out women or chat, you’re their to train. Step in and train hard!
How do you get focused? Post your tips in the comments if you have any.