People often over complicate things when in actuality, they’re sabotaging their ability to improve.
I am just as guilty as the next guy.
This is especially the case with gym workouts for me.
Intricate workout plans with a boat-load of exercises – those days belong in the past.
Simplifying my workouts in the gym has helped me in many ways.
These are some things I’ve quit doing at the gym.
1. Lifting light weights – I’ve stopped “coasting” when it comes to the amount of weight I lift. Heavy weights have helped me get stronger. Period. The added strength helped me beat my marathon PB by more than 40-minutes. I realize that “light” is a relative term. But challenging yourself to lift heaver weights will help you see improvements faster. And women, no – you will not get bulky!
2. Stretching – I used to waste 5-10 minutes before each workout stretching. Over the past few years, stretching before a workout has lost its prestige. Those days are over. In fact, there’s insufficient scientific evidence that pre-exercise stretching reduces injury risk. If I have time, I will stretch for a few minutes after my workout. Not before. So don’t waste your time.
3. Listening to music – I used to be a listen to music guy at the gym. I no longer listen to music. I find it too distracting and it clutters my mind. Working out in the gym is like meditation for me. It’s like hitting the reset button for my mind.
4. Performing lots of exercises – Initial cardio and post-workout stretch / core work aside, my gym workout these days includes 3-4 strength exercises. That’s it. No more. No less. Functional, compound (multi-muscle) exercises are efficient and the way to go. They help you gain strength, work lots of different muscles and engage your core. Squats, deadlifts, lunges, pull-ups, seated row, bench press – these are the type of exercises I focus on. No more biceps “curls-for-the-girls” – just exercises that give me good bang for my buck.
5. Ab exercises – 6-pack abs may look nice, but they serve no functional purpose unless they act as armor for combat sports . Having a strong core is a much better approach and will serve you better in the long run. I focus on core exercises like planks and bird-dogs. Crunches and sit-ups do a real number on your spinal discs and can lead to debilitating back pain.
7. Waiting for equipment – This may seem obvious, but I still see lots of people waiting for equipment. For every exercise I perform, I have a back-up exercise that works the same muscle groups. For instance, if the squat racks are being used, I will perform lunges instead. If the barbell bench press is being used, I’ll pop over to a stand alone bench and use dumbbells.
When is the last time you quit something at the gym? What was it?