Ever go to the gym and have a really shitty workout?
Don’t worry it happens to everyone.
You leave the gym feeling frustrated and disappointed.
You feel like you didn’t do enough, or you didn’t get stronger from last week’s workout, or maybe you hit a setback and you actually got weaker.
There are a ton of reasons why a workout can suck, but I’m here to help you turn it around and prevent it from getting shitty in the first place.
Here we go!
Get A Proper Warmup
Jumping straight in lifting or even cardio without a proper warm-up is like playing Russian Roulette. You’re bound to get hurt or injured eventually.
Not only does warming up prevent injuries, but it helps you lift heavier and promote strength gains.
Most of my shitty workouts have stemmed from me being too lazy and not taking the proper time to just get in a quick workout.
You might think stretching is a perfect way to get in the groove!
The perfect warmup doesn’t include 10 minutes of static stretching.
In fact, studies show that static stretching actually lowers performance and weakens your ability to lift heavy weights by up to 10% during a workout.
This is due to static stretching increasing joint instability and weakening tendons and ligaments. In the end, this decreases your ability to lift heavy right before your workout!
But it’s not just for lifters! Studies also show that static stretching causes runners to run less fast, jumpers to jump less high, and swimmers to swim slower!
Your best bet? Avoid static stretching!
So what should you do instead?
What is dynamic stretching?
Very similar to static stretching but with movement. You generally complete the same stretches you normally would, but without holding the stretch.
Example of static stretching: Sit and reach, touch toes and hold for 20 to 30 seconds each leg
Example of dynamic stretching: Sit and reach, touch toes and immediately release. Repeat several times.
Dynamic stretching is great because it helps get the blood flowing to your muscles without weakening your ligaments and joints. It also helps warm up stiff and cold muscles back to normal temperature and get them ready for a workout!
Some prime examples of my favorite dynamic stretches are:
- Jump Squats
- High Kicks
- Torso Twists
- Page Turns
- Leg Crossovers
- Arm Circles
- Lunge With A Twist
Start incorporating these into your warm-ups right now and you’ll notice a better workout right away!
Light Weights – Get That Blood Flowing
The next part of avoiding a shitty workout is by warming up with super light weights that gets the blood flowing into the muscles.
This is key if you’re serious about lifting and increasing strength, but it’s also important for endurance athletes who work their cardiovascular as well.
Not only will it improve your performance but it will make you feel better too.
Like Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “the pump is the most satisfying feeling you can get in the gym!”
As soon as you’re done with a few minutes of dynamic stretching, I highly recommend two warm-up sets of super light weights and 12+ repetitions.
We’re not trying to exhaust ourselves here (this is not the actual workout), but just getting some solid blood flow into whatever muscles you’re about to work does wonders.
For example, if you’re about to do some squats, warm up on the leg press or leg extension machine with some super light weight where you can easily do more than 12 reps. You’ll notice as soon as your done with these two sets that blood will begin to rush into the activated muscles.
It’ll also help get some fluid in your joints so they’re not too stiff.
Now you’re ready to start squatting!
Sometimes workouts suck because you run into people who constantly talk and bother you.
I’ve ran into friends at the gym who I ended up talking to for 20 minutes straight.
Each time it disrupts my workout and I have to switch gears.
I end up spending more time at the gym than I want to.
It’s generally best to avoid long conversations at the gym. If you see someone you know, a casual ‘hi’ or quick convo is totally fine, but make sure it doesn’t mess up your workout.
I’m even one of those people who’s big in networking at the gym. Sometimes you meet people who help get you your next job, or start a business with!
Regardless, the gym is your time and nobody else’s. Take the time to really focus on putting the work in.
Block Out Judgement
Many people walk into the gym and feel incredibly self-conscious.
They feel that everyone is constantly staring or even body shaming them.
This is simply not the case!
If you’re workouts suck because you feel like you’re being judged, you’ve got it all wrong!
In fact, almost everyone in the gym feels like they’re being watched, when in reality no one is.
The only way you’ll ever be judged for working out is if you do something crazy like start screaming at the top of your lungs for each rep, or do crazy weird exercises that no one’s ever seen.
Truth is most people respect everyone else in the gym.
I and everyone else knows that all people who take the effort to come to the gym are there to better themselves. That deserves appreciation.
Even if you know for a fact that people are judging you for your time in the gym… fuck ‘em.
They’re focusing their energy on you, what does that show to the world? They have nothing better to do.
Remember, there are over 7 billion people on this planet, you can’t please everyone.
Just focus and love yourself and you’ll do amazing!
Change Up Your Routine
It’s very possible that a shitty workout is caused because you have been doing the same workout every day for quite some time.
It doesn’t matter who you are or how much you like benching. If I had to bench every single workout for months I would get tired of it.
It’s also very possible that you’re not enjoying a workout because you’ve hit a plateau.
If you’ve been doing the same exercises and lifts for more than 6 weeks and you’re not gaining any newfound strength, it’s entirely possible you’ve hit a plateau.
And when you’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to change up your workouts.
That means changing all your exercises, the weight, and rep ranges.
A change in your workout is exciting and will have you pumped to get back at it!
Grab A Gym Buddy
Sometimes workouts suck because we have no one there pushing us.
When you have a gym buddy, not only does it give you a little extra motivation but you can push yourself a little farther knowing you have someone to spot you.
Workout also become more fun!
Gym buddies also help hold you accountable for your goals, so if you’re not performing up to par your gym buddy will let you know.
Always be sure to pick a gym buddy who is around your strength level or a little stronger.
That way you can both progress together at the same level and get better together.
Don’t Sweat It
If you still happen to have a shitty workout, don’t sweat it. The worst thing you can do is stress about a gym session. It’s done, it’s over, let it be in the past.
Stress is not good for your health nor your gains.
Life has its ups and downs and you just so happen to hit a down. Literally don’t put any thought to it. Keep on going, don’t give up, and keep enjoying life!