BY ERIC BROSER
You were able to hit the sack nice and early and get a good night’s sleep, allowing you to awaken rested, refreshed, and energetic. You planned out and executed every meal perfectly, eating each right on time, confident that you’ve consumed optimal amounts of complete protein, high-quality carbs, and healthy fats.
As you walk through the gym doors you can sense that your pre-workout supplement is kicking in, as a powerful feeling of focus, strength, and “singleness of purpose” overtakes your mind and body. You put your gym bag in the locker and are now more than ready to wage all-out war on the weights. Will this be the best workout of your life? Well, that depends…will you manage to avoid these pitfalls while training?
This one irks me almost more than any other pitfall I will mention. Is it so hard to do without Facebook and Twitter for 1-2 hours of your day? Can you stop talking/texting with your bros long enough to focus on your workout? Is it possible to wait until after your final rep to flirt with the girls you met over the weekend? Listen, unless your wife is pregnant and in her ninth month or you’re waiting on a possible six-figure job offer at any moment, then leave your cell in your gym bag or locker if you’re serious at all about making gains in the gym.
Of course it’s fun to see your friends in the gym—and it would be downright rude not to shake their hand and say “How’s it going?” when you pass by them. But that doesn’t mean you should interrupt your workout to have a 20-minute conversation about last night’s basketball game or to argue the merits of whey vs. casein protein. Crush the weights first, and then when you’re done, feel free to chat it up with your buddies or the hot gal working behind the desk.
It’s always smart to plan your workout ahead, and to base it upon your current physique strengths and weaknesses. However, when you find that a machine or bench that you need is taken, and that the person (or persons) using it will be there for a while, you have two choices: 1) Ask if you can work in, or 2) Find an alternate exercise to do in its place. Do NOT stand there and wait for 10 minutes until the equipment is free—as you’ll cool down, lose your pump, and most likely destroy your focus and drive.
I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed someone getting caught helpless under a bench press, squat, or legs press, with the result almost always being minor to severe injury. While it’s certainly not a necessity to have a “spot” on most exercises (as far as safety is concerned), please do not take foolish chances with potentially dangerous movements like BB bench presses, squats and angled/vertical legs presses. If you train alone, ask another gym member to watch you, especially during your heavy sets.
There are few things as important to manifesting physical progress as remaining intensely focused while you train. The mind/muscle connection is a scientifically and practically proven phenomenon, so keep your head in the game throughout the entire workout. Even between sets, think about the muscle you’re working if you’re dead serious about building a great body.
You just KNEW I had to mention this in an article such as this. Stop swinging, swaying, and jerking, and keep your exercise form tight and strict (at least until you reach failure). Keeping tension on the muscle is more important than the amount of weight that goes from point A to B. Stretch, squeeze, and make the target muscle do all the work.