Training at the gym is a huge part of my life and I am currently doing some sort of workout 6 times a week to get ready for trials. To get the best out of my time at the gym I am always completely prepared and the following is the equipment and routine I stick to;
Before going to the gym I always go for a single or double espresso. Its important to get into the right frame of mind to train and be motivated. There are going to be times where you just don’t want to workout and it takes a lot of will power not to just go home and watch TV. I had a coach who once told me that I would never make it in football and every time I feel a lack of motivation I think of him and want to prove him wrong. In psychological terms this is called leverage. There will always be moments of weakness but find out what your leverage is, capture it in your mind and use it at your lowest points. Sitting having a coffee is also a good time to put your music on, start to focus on the session ahead and plan what you are going to do.
Find yourself a pair of trainers that feel comfortable to run in and can support you in both running and weight lifting sessions. I choose the Nike Flex experience as they were only around £30 and are incredibly supportive, particularly for your ankles and calves. Although it’s not important to worry about how you look in the gym, feeling confident and focused is. We are all human and if a cool pair of trainers can you give an extra boost than just do it!. When not in the gym, still try to wear a pair of trainers or something that gives you support. It’s fashionable at the moment to wear converse or vans with jeans but their flatness always causes my legs to tighten up and so I stick with with trainers. If you are wearing your trainers regularly, keep washing them or buy odour eaters, smelly is just not cool.
I am not advising you to be one of these characters who is texting and calling on the phone in the gym, don’t do it! How can you focus on two things at once? However smartphones are brilliant for researching technique on exercises, storing results and listening to music. I’m obsessed with my gadgets and how I can use them to improve my sporting results.
Smart Phone Apps
I use Youtube to check all exercises techniques. There
is no point lifting heavy weights
if it is not in the right way or not efficient. I tend to save my favourites on Youtube but it is also good to flick through new techniques in between exercises; it helps clear your mind. For music I recommend Youtube radio. You can save playlists on your phone and if you hear a song that motivates you or relaxes you then you can add it straight away. Try to have a playlist for training and a playlist for warming down and stretching. My training playlist has songs such as Insomnia by Faithless or Chemical brothers. As soon as those songs come up it is like flicking a switch and I am ready for training. Find the songs that put you in training mode, things that can help boost your adrenaline. For your cool down, use songs that you associate with happy memories. I listen to Sunchyme by Dario G as it reminds me of my younger sister, and the cool down is the part of the session where you can relax, reflect on what you have just done and reward yourself for reaching your targets.
If I don’t have music whilst I’m training, particularly running sessions,the
whole workout becomes a lot harder and I always want to make sure I have no excuses not to train. Make sure your sound quality is good and loud, you need to get in ‘the zone’ and block out any distractions such as work, people in the gym etc. Round the ear headphones seem to work the best for me and are the most comfortable all-round. I am still experimenting with bluetooth headphones, in ear ones, and ones that wrap over your head. Sometimes the best ones I have found were from the pound shop, so don’t be fooled by price, just find something that you can hardly feel. When you are training to such a high intensity, you only want to think about training and poor headphones will distract you.
This is the single most important piece of equipment that I have!!! Use this to stretch and relax your muscles before training, and then to relax and work on flexibility afterwards as part of your warm down. Foam Rollers are the main reason I can recover so quickly, keep training at such a high intensity and stay injury free. I will be positing my videos on Youtube but until then research yourself and see how this tiny bit of kit can change your life.
I use a golf ball to help relax the muscles of my feet. Simply roll your foot along the golf ball and this will relieve tension from calves, hamstrings and lower back. You will get some very strange looks at the gym, but be sociable and tell other people how it helps you stretch. Most times helping someone at the gym will lead to them helping you at some stage and so don’t be scared to interact.
After training I take one tablet of Natural Minerals, one tablet of Adrenal Glandular and one protein shake. The Natural Minerals is used for mineral and electrolyte replenishment which is vital to restore, especially after a running session where you sweat a lot. The adrenal glandular is used for stress response, athletic burn out and over training and helps to lose fat whilst promoting muscle recovery.The protein shake promotes muscle growth and recovery but tastes pretty much like cardboard. Many protein shakes are often very difficult to digest so I use a little bit of Nesquick or cocoa powder and that solves the problem. I will list all supplements in a separate post with links to how to buy them.