Apologies for the recent absence. I had my exams going on, followed by a public speaking competition. Nevertheless, you’ll be happy to know that I stuck to my workouts and never ate unclean all the while!
In fact, just today I reached 3/4th of a goal I had for this year. I did 75 push ups in one go! I can’t tell you how pleasantly shocked I was and I’ve been telling about this to anyone who’d listen.
So, coming to today’s post, I wanted to talk about the mental aspect of working out. How do you approach it? What do you plan to accomplish? How much should you rest?
The answer to these questions is highly situation specific. Here are some of the things you have got to decide, before you start your workout.
- Purpose of the workout
Why are you working out today? What is your focus? I identify 4 main areas of focus-
Now, most people just focus on one thing- strength. You go to the jump, pump some weights and bam! you are done for the day. I believe that for wholesome development, you have got to focus on all 4 of these areas separately.
- What’s in, What’s out.
By that I mean, what exercises do you include and what do you take out. It’s pretty obvious once you have decided on the purpose. For example, you wouldn’t include sprints on a day when you want to focus on flexibility. Or, you wouldn’t do planks when you want to focus on agility.
Deciding the workout plan, before you start is a great way to make sure you are focused and won’t go off track by doing pointless things or worse, do exercises that end up negating each other.
- Target area.
This is specific to when you are doing flexibility or strength training. It’s extremely important to isolate and train each body part, to get maximum gains in strength and muscle. Only if you are going for fat loss will you try to work as many muscle groups at a time. Otherwise, train arms on one day, abs on another, legs on the next and so on.
This again, is very purpose-specific. But ideally, your rest period should be limited to just recovering enough to do the next set. If you rest too much, your heart rate will fall right down and you’ll effectively start from scratch. If you rest too little, you will strain your body.
A good thumb rule is to rest 1/2 of the time that you work out. For example, 2 minutes workout will mean you rest for 1 minute.
- Befores, durings, and afters.
Before a workout, make sure there is something in your stomach. Eat a high carb, high protein food or a bowl of fruits half an hour before you workout. This will make sure you reach your maxima and surpass it during your workouts. Keep the water drinking to minimum, and you will feel really heavy and will have to frequently visit the bathroom.
During the workout, do not eat. Sip protein shakes and drink as little water as you can. The problem with drinking too much while working out is, the blood flow will get redirected to your stomach to absorb water. And your muscles will be left wanting.
After the workout, shower. Definitely shower. And eat something with high carbs and proteins (proteins should be half the amount of carbs) within an hour after you finish. Carbs are important because at this time, your body needs energy. Lack of carbs will mean it starts breaking down protein and even muscle to get that energy. You don’t want that.
So, that rounds up a basic (and complete) approach to a normal workout. I promise you, do this and you will see gains coming your way thick and fast!