If you’re reading this then the chances are that you want to improve yourself in body, in mind and in life. I truly hope that I can help you do so in some way.

With this in mind, today I’m going to go through my top 5 tips for maximising your results at the gym. A few small and easy changes that you can make which could make all of the difference to your success.

1 – Educate yourself

The human body is an amazing and complex thing, it’s resilient, resistant, delicate, strong, beautiful and way too smart. It adapts to whatever we throw at it very quickly. In order to maximize your results its important to stimulate the body in multiple ways which will cause it to adapt and evolve. The levels of stimulation needed to grow or change vary dependent on your genetics, lifestyle, nutrition and training age. If you aren’t lucky enough to be able to afford a one to one personal trainer who can ensure that your body is subject to sufficient and varied methods of stimulation, then my advice to you is this: EDUCATE yourself on your anatomy and physiology. Your body is just a series of levers and pulleys, in order to maximize stimulation you have to be able to manipulate these levers in many ways. By learning where your muscles are, what they do and how they work you will be able to improve your lifts, strength and ability to create tension in amazing ways. Then you will see your results skyrocket. Plus it’ll impress the shit out of your friends when you start talking about mechanical drop sets and set fire to their triceps demonstrating your new skills.

Whether you are a trainer or a recreational gym goer reading this, I suggest you buy “Strength Training Anatomy” by Frederic Delavier. This was one of my first purchases as a new PT and even though I consider my knowledge of anatomy and physiology to be one of my strong points, I still have this book open on my desk at home most of the time to flick back through. A great read, simple, informative and easy to put into practice. It can be found on amazon in almost any country. So wherever you’re reading this from, order your copy now.

2 – Train with an open mind

Never stop learning or asking questions. There is always something that someone can teach you, no matter how much you think that you already know. To be truly strong it’s important that you are flexible, powerful, injury free, can endure and resist fatigue. This can only come from varying your training approach as much as possible. Yoga will help you lift, lifting will help your yoga. Pilates will improve your squats etc. We are all part of an amazing global fitness community who are all here to help each other become better. Make the most of the resources around you and try something new this week.

3 – Leave your ego at home.

Guys this one is aimed at you, lifting too heavy is going to get you nowhere. I have been lucky enough to train some amazing clients, both men and women. However, in my years in various gyms when it comes to training smarter, girls have guys completely beaten. In my experience, women train for a purpose and to feel what they’re working. If it doesn’t burn, they want to know why, because of this they’re not afraid to go lighter in order to feel it. Guys, we all go as heavy as we can possibly lift regardless of form or safety in a lot of cases. STOP IT.

Now don’t get me wrong, this theory is sometimes off. I often see too many women not lifting heavy enough in fear that they will “get big”. Please don’t be afraid of going heavy girls, it will only create an amazing physique that you can be proud of. On the other hand I see a number of guys who have convinced themselves that bicep curling 4kg dumbbells for 8 reps is going to do them some good because they’re “maximizing tension”. Don’t be a pussy! The art for both sexes is to be able to create a relationship where the load is sufficient and the tension maximized in order to stimulate a small amount of damage and a necessity to repair.

4 – Train hard, often

Training frequency is something that I see almost everyone struggling to get right. The nothing that one body part trained once per week really is going to do you no good at all. In my opinion in you should aim to stimulate each muscle group two to three times per week. This means training for fewer sets  per body part in each workout which may seem counter productive. However if you look at your training volume over a week  it will in fact be higher and you will maximize growth without over-stimulation of the muscle. Think of it this way;

Training a muscle once per week:

Exercise A – 3×10

Exercise B – 3×10

Exercise C – 3×10

Exercise D – 3×10

Exercise E – 3×10

Lets say on chest day you pick 5 exercises and do 3 x 10 on each exercise. This gives you a weekly total of

Sets = 15

Reps = 150

Higher frequency training with lower volume per workout example

Mon – Chest and (another muscle group)

Exercise A – 3 x 10

Exercise A – 3×10

Exercise A – 3×10

Thurs – Chest and (another muscle group)

Exercise A – 3×10

Exercise A – 3×10

Exercise A – 3×10

Sun – Chest and (another muscle group)

Exercise A – 3×10

Exercise A – 3×10

Exercise A – 3×10

This gives you a weekly total of

Sets = 27

Reps = 270

Because the workouts are shorter and more concentrated, you’ll be able to lift better, squeeze harder and with less fatigue even though you’re stimulating far more growth. No matter how you look at it you’re winning.

There’s more to this training frequency than I’ve explained but this is the concept simplified, and trust me it works. Look at the graph above , you want to be hitting the muscle each time its at its recovery peak. If you get it right (figure A) you will progress. If you do not train frequently enough, you won’t go anywhere fast.

5 – You can’t out train a bad diet.

This one is really simple. Eat for your goals, for long-term satisfaction and not short-term. Moderation is nothing, if you want results, you have to eat like it. No cheating, no drinking, no messing about. Every nutritional decision you make has a consequence to your body, try to make the right choices, stay strong, believe that it will come and above all be CONSISTENT. 

Everyone is different, if one diet hasn’t worked it doesn’t mean you should resign yourself to a life of watching TV and eating crispy creams. Every individual will respond to different foods in different ways, experimentation is key to finding out what works for you. Once you’ve found it, follow it consistently and you will get your results. A few things i will say which should serve as a good place to start;

  1. Look after your digestive health
  2. Don’t binge
  3. Control carbs
  4. Eat plenty of green vegetables
  5. Eat protein at each feeding opportunity
  6. Drink plenty of water
  7. Stay away from all of these Juice/shake/meal replacement diets. I can’t stress this one enough, DO NOT DO IT.
  8. Eat real food, if a trainer/Herbalife salesman tells you otherwise. Slap them.