It doesn’t matter how ripped you are, how long you’ve been working out or what your exercise routine is, we all have days when we want to hang our gym towels and call it quits. We have days -- or sometimes weeks -- when working out feels like a chore. But, if you can push through the times when your body is tired and your mind is fatigued, you’re destined for greatness.
Here are five ways to boost your intensity to reach your full potential.
1. Keep your workout short.
While we condone workout buddies and forming friendships at the gym, it’s best to keep the chit chat during your actual workout to a minimum. Every time you take an extended water break or pause your workout to chat with your buddy, you're increasing the length and decreasing the intensity of your workout.
Research shows that short, intense workouts yield the best results. You’re also more likely to stick to a workout routine that doesn’t involve hours and hours of gym time. To stay focused, set your stopwatch for 30-45 minutes and focus on your breathing, your muscles, and your form. nt.
2. Switch up your routine:
If your mind is bored during your workout, your body is probably bored. Improve your overall intensity by making changes to your usual workout routine. For example:
- Replace one muscle-focused exercise with another move that works the same area.
- Alternate rep schemes. If you usually perform a high number reps with lighter weight, make the switch to fewer reps with heavier weights.
- Perform drop sets. Once you’re about to reach failure with heavy weights, drop some weights and finish out your reps.
- Enlist the help of a friend to spot you so you can push your body to the max without sacrificing safety.
- Swap out your cardio. If you normally run, try sprints, swimming, cycling, etc.
If your routine has turned stagnant, stay challenged mentally and physically by altering the moves or swapping exercises.
3. Improve your headspace: Most of the time, it’s the mental game that can be a muscle killer. Learn to curb your own negative thoughts by:
- Arguing with yourself. Ask yourself, “if someone I respected said this about themselves, what would I tell them?”
- Surrounding yourself with positive people
- Forcing a smile. Science says faking it actually decreases stress and makes you happier
- Changing your music. If you normally workout to heavy metal or rap, make the switch to music with a positive message. This doesn’t mean you have to blast Donny Osmond during your set, but you could try YouTube-ing motivational speeches or sports montages while you workout.
- Helping someone else. Shift your focus from yourself to someone else and you’ll likely feel a whole lot better.
- Having an attitude of gratitude. Make a mental note of five things you’re thankful for right now.
Motivation that comes from your negative thoughts might be effective for a while, but forming positive associations with your body during your workout will yield better long term results. Plus, who wants to be angry and unhappy at the gym all the time. Embrace the endorphins and get happy!
4. Amp up the fun factor
Speaking of happy, if you’re feeling sluggish, change-up your routine by adding in exercises that feel like play, but work your muscles effectively. Try:
- Jumping Rope
- Box Jumps
- Agility Ladder
- Medicine Ball Slams
- Suicide Sprints
- Dot Drills
High-intensity and plyometric workouts like these require your focus. You won’t have a chance to get bored if you’re doing them right. Plus, exercises that require explosive movements build your fast-twitch muscle fibers -- the largest and strongest muscle fibers in our bodies. As a result, these “fun” exercises are the ones that will yield the best results when it comes to building large muscles while increasing your speed and strength.
5. Select an effective pre workout supplement
Most pre workout powders contain caffeine or some other stimulant to pump you up before a workout, but not all will improve your endurance, power, and strength. Top of the line workouts like NFP’s IC Red deliver more than just a pre-workout energy boost.
Sticking to the best pre workout supplements on the market will help you maintain your intensity throughout the workout by fighting muscle fatigue and increasing the anaerobic capacity of your muscle tissue. The continuous energy and mental focus that IC Red preworkout provides will help you lift heavier and for a longer period of time.
Additionally, slamming some IC Red before your workout will deliver dramatic pumps. When your muscles swell (called hyperemia), the physique you see in the mirror will deliver a boost of encouragement. The pump is a sign that your body is sending the oxygenated blood and nutrients that your muscles need to grow. In short, it’s evidence that your workout is effective.
If going to the gym is feeling like a chore, it’s a sign you need to make a change. We’ll all experience those “off” days, but equipping yourself with skills to maintain your intensity during your workout will ensure that those days are few and far between.