For a change in training environment, I ventured to my local big box commercial gym the other night for my workout and wow, not much as changed or improved since my last visit.
It’s not that people were doing things wrong because I saw some good things like intervals on treadmills, proper warmups, and tons of protein shakers but it was more of what I didn’t see. I didn’t see any energy, intensity, heart, spirit, etc.
Everyone looked a bit sad, dead, zombie-esque.
Their workouts… looked equally dead.
Training and working out is about improving the quality of your life through fitness. It’s exciting and empowering. But I saw first hand at the gym that it’s easy to forget this.
To help you never look like a gym zombie, I want to share 4 tips to help you get the most out of your workout and trip to the gym.
Also, I’ve included a sample “Do Work In A Big Box Gym Workout” for you to try at the end of this post so try it.
1. Show Up
Whether you get to the gym early in the morning, in the middle of the day, or after work make sure you show up physically and mentally.
Showing up physically doesn’t mean just walking in the doors. It means that you made an effort to eat well and consume enough water throughout the day to give your body the best chance for an awesome workout.
When you want to get the most out every workout, you have to think that you’re eating for fuel. I tell Reign Fitness clients that training days should motivate them to eat even cleaner because they all love to workout, hit Personal Records, and make progress. Make an extra effort to show up physically on training days.
Showing up mentally means that you’re leaving everything else going on in your life outside and getting focused for your workout.
Gym time is “You” time. Time you dedicate, pay money for, and sacrifice to improve the quality of your life. Make it count.
I like to take 5-10 minutes either before I walk into the workout or in the locker room just listening to music. It helps me transition into the right mind set and think about my goals. This really is a necessity for me every workout and it has become engraved into my routine. ( I really like the hear what you want to hear campaign from Beats, it really shows what music and mindset can help you do)
2. Have A Plan
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they go to the gym, is not have a plan.
Unless you are an experienced gym rat, not having a plan is a sure fire way to spend your workout time wondering what your workout should be.
It doesn’t have to be a super detailed 12 week strength program or anything (if it is, more power to you), it can be as simple as targeting a certain muscle group (legs, butt, core, arms, etc.) or having a time/distance/calorie goal.
But having some type of direction will keep you more productive and focused when you’re in the gym.
Of course, if you know what your workout is going to be and you have a more specific idea of exercises, sets/reps, and rest times… You are well on your way. Don’t worry, there is a sample plan at the bottom of this post for you to try – all I ask is you take notice of what it feels like to walk into the gym knowing exactly what you are about to do. It’s a pretty awesome feeling.
3. Big Muscle Groups
The scene is pretty consistent anytime you walk into a big box commercial gym.
You see a lot of people on machines, doing cardio, and training chest or arms. What you don’t see is a lot people lined up behind squat racks, doing deadlifts, or training full body movements that work big muscle groups.
Probably because all these movements are hard but they are the exercises that pack the most punch.
Anyone looking for direction in the gym, my advice would be to focus on training big muscle groups with compound exercises that work a lot of them at once. Big muscle groups require a lot more energy to move, meaning more calories burned (plus a ton of other benefits). Target big muscle groups like the back, chest, butt, and legs.
It doesn’t have to be squats underneath a barbell in a big power squat rack, especially if you’ve never done that before. You can easily start with body weight squats or even dumbbell goblet squats to target those muscle groups.
Big Compound movements like deadlifts pack a big punch because they require the entire body to work at the same time. It takes a little time to learn the proper form but it is an amazing exercise to have in your arsenal.
(Incorporate Exercises like pushups, rows, squats, lunges, deadlifts, presses, and pulls)
4. Make It Count
It doesn’t matter if you have 15 minutes or a full hour for your workout, YOU NEED TO MAKE IT COUNT.
If you show up and you’re there to improve, it’s time to do work. Trust me when I say, you won’t regret giving it your all in the workout.
The worst feeling is getting done with a workout and thinking that you could have done more, trained harder, or hit a couple more reps. Don’t be easy on yourself, don’t let your trainer take it easy on you, and don’t leave with regrets.
One of the things I love about fitness and training is that it’s honest. You get out exactly what you put in. There isn’t anytime when you can slack off and get more of the results because fitness is honest.
Every rep counts, every set counts, every workout counts, and you need to make it count.
Sample “Do Work In A Big Box Gym” Workout
Directions: Start with the dynamic warmup, completing the set number of reps for each exercise taking the time to maintain proper form. The warm is dynamic and is preparing your body with like movements in the workout.
When you start the workout, pick weights that are challenging that still allow you to complete the exercise for the set number of reps with good form. Anytime you see a letter following a number it is a superset or tri-set. Each of these supersets or tri-sets are to be performed back to back with no break until the last exercise is completed. Once you finish all the exercises in each round, take the recommended amount of break.
***Note: If you are performing this during peak hours in a gym, make sure to prepare all the equipment in advance in order to maximize efficiency and ward off any bench/equipment stealers. Also, don’t worry if people look at you crazy, it’s probably the first time they are seeing someone who knows what they are doing.
Body Weight Squats x 20 reps
Walkouts x 10 reps
Jumping Jacks x 20 reps
Reverse Lunges x 10 reps each leg
Pushups x 10 reps
Repeat 2 rounds
1a. Pushups x 10-12 reps
1b. Dumbbell or Barbell Rows x 10 reps
1c. Goblet Squats (holding a dumbbell or Kettlebell) x 15 reps
3 sets/Break 45 – 90 seconds
2a. Standing Dumbbell Military Press Single Arm x 10 reps each arm
2b. Pull-ups (supported or unsupported) x 8-10 reps
3 sets/Break 40-60 seconds
3a. Walking Lunges (with or without weight) x 10 reps each leg
3b. Burpees x 10 reps
3-4 Sets/Break 40-90 seconds
V sits x 20 seconds
Russian Twist x 20 seconds
Push To Plank x 20 seconds
Repeat 3-4 rounds
If you break, make sure its after finishing the round and for 40-60 sec.
Did you try this workout? Was it too easy, too hard, or did you have more questions? Did this post help you? We would love the feedback and just to hear from you so please drop us a line in the comments.