Maximize Your Workouts

It’s one thing to take up a workout; to maximize gains is a totally different matter, though, and it takes a tad more planning and effort. Your sweaty, fat-busting, muscle-toning routine will be far more efficient if you change it up slightly – and here are a few cues to help you get the most out of your gym time with minimal post-workout muscle soreness and fatigue in the mix.

1. Warm Up On the Go

Warm up on the go

Warm-ups are as important as the workout itself because they prepare your muscles for periods of high strain, but you can try saving yourself a bit of workout time by warming up on the way to the gym. You can bike, jog, or walk to the fitness center to engage major muscle groups and cut the waste of workout time: that way, you’ll be able to dive into the reps as soon as get to the gym. If the gym is far away from your home, get off the bus a few stops earlier or park at the far end of the lot and walk to the gym instead.

2. Save Cardio for Later

Most gym-goers do cardio before they proceed to their strength training routine – but this is not exactly the best way to structure your workout if you’re looking to max out its effects. A 2015 study has found that focusing on weight training first and saving cardio for later results in more reps, so it may be smart to put on lifting straps and hit the barbell first, and climb the treadmill or elliptical after your strength training is done – or even save cardio for recovery day.

3. Activate Rest Periods

Rest periods shouldn’t be skipped – but they shouldn’t be needlessly extended either. Limit rest intervals to 30-45 seconds and consider activating them by performing low-intensity moves such as core slider exercises that don’t strain the muscles or expend too much energy. Active rest will help increase workout effects, but don’t Hulk out with the rest reps as this will only reduce your overall workout performance.

4. Break It up into Intervals

Interval training is getting more popular by the day, and for a good reason. By mixing the gym routine and putting training intensity on shuffle, you’ll hack bulk building, boost your fitness and nudge your cardiovascular function in the right direction. For maximum workout effects, mix three-minute aerobic intervals with one- or two-minute explosive periods, and repeat the drill three to five times, with a minute-long rest in between sets.

5. Plan the Failure Point

To amp workout efficiency and results, plan the failure point before it actually occurs, and don’t aim for it at every set. Training to failure promotes muscle building and it also increases strength but you should be reasonable and save the failure point for the last exercise set. To achieve the failure point, use super-slow moves with light resistance, and slow down the pace as the end of the final exercise set draws closer.

6. Don’t Forget to Stretch

Although you may think post-training stretches are a waste of time, stretching after the workout is essential to maximum bulk results because it helps prevent muscle soreness that can result in skipped gym sessions. Once your at-gym time is done, use a foam roller to get the blood flowing in your lateral, back, and lower body muscles, or try the stretch strap if you’re training without a partner. Whatever prop you opt for, make sure you don’t skip stretches before you go out of the gym – your muscles will be grateful for the extra effort.

7. Eat Your Way to Fitness

Healthy food with tomato in focus

Pre- and post-workout nutrition is as important as the structure of your training, as it allows your body to prepare for and replenish after intervals of high strain. The pre-workout meal should be centered on complex carbs and protein with as little fiber and fat as possible to prevent stomach problems during gym sessions. Likewise, your post-training snack should be rich in protein to keep muscle damage in check and accelerate bulk building.

Ready to hit the gym? Make sure to follow the tips listed above in your next exercise session, and peak performance and muscle gains will hit home much faster.

Maximum Strength and Why You Shouldn’t Obsess About It

Professional athletes and bodybuilders have extremely specific goals – performing well in competitions, beating their own or world records, etc. But if you’re someone who doesn’t give a damn what you lift as long as you’re able to play football with your kids or look good for the person you love, keeping up a hard workout pace isn’t as necessary as it used to be a few years ago.

When Do People Start Obsessing About Maximum Strength?

People usually start obsessing about strength between the ages of 16 and 24, when testosterone starts doing its thing. They just want to be strong and don’t care about being athletic. This is all right to an extent, because strength is the basis for getting bigger, faster, and more athletic. However, in order to maximize muscular development and eventually have a great body, the approach should be more balanced. Having tons of workout gear and using all the supplements available won’t make you more athletic. It will probably boost your ego and make you feel like that shredded guy from a protein shake commercial, but that’s not what we’re here to discuss.

What about the flexibility and functionality of your body? Ok, you can deadlift, squat, and bench heavy, but on the other hand you may have trouble jumping in a coordinated manner or performing a one-foot stand without losing balance.

So, What Are You Training for?

Do you avoid playing a game of pick-up basketball or football with your friends because it will interfere with your workout the next day? What older, experienced athletes, lifters and coaches will tell you is that maximizing your strength isn’t the only thing out there. If you plan to do this for a long time, you’ll need to change your way of thinking.

Perhaps you started training some time ago for completely different reasons, had certain goals that aren’t that important today. Maybe you found heavy training to be therapeutic before, but find other things more important now, such as building your career, playing sports with your friends, or going hiking with your spouse.



If you feel that things aren’t what they used to be, then it’s the right time to ask yourself – what am I training for? It’s time to rework your goals and training preferences, and to open up to all the different training variables. What are you getting from your training and is that what you really want?

Will an athlete be better if he adds 50 pounds to his squat or bench? You have pursued maximum strength above all, but did you lose relative strength or gain mass? It is harder for an athlete to change direction or decelerate due to additional mass, right? Coaches do value maximum strength in training, but to a certain extent. We all have our physical limitations, so constantly chasing strength simply means a bad allocation of workout resources. As for training supplements, filling up with proteins, carbs, creatine, steroids and other chemicals will most certainly do you more harm than good. Supplements are a great addition to workouts, but only when you know what and how to consume. For example, proteins like optimum nutrition gold standard whey are popular, but also tested safe to be used as pre- or post-workout supplementation. Performance enhancing drugs such as steroids have numerous negative side-effects like developing dependence, psychiatric disorders (depression or aggressive behavior), heart problems, infertility, impotence, and many other health issues.

Other Things in Life


If you’re not a competitive athlete and want to do other things in life, then you certainly should be able to do them. Once you’re in the playing field of the real world, it doesn’t matter what amount of weight you can lift without your health. Also, when you’re younger, your body can handle much heavier work. Take a turn and focus to train other qualities, reduce the number of your heavy days, and drop your training to 80-90% of what you max.

You should know that you can get more from less. Learn to auto-regulate, even though you track your workouts and have a plan. If you woke up feeling fantastic, then play your favorite workout music playlist and train like there’s no tomorrow. On the other hand, don’t go to the extreme, ditching the gym completely or going as heavy as you can, but warm-up first and see how things are going.