I always see people posting pictures or statuses on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram about being in “beast mode” and it seems to becoming more and more popular and is even now on gym clothing and spreading.
This particular phrase has never really appealed to me just like the difference in fitness magazines and their own target audience. For example I’d rather read Muscle & Fitness magazine with Steve Cook on the front rather than Flex magazine with someone screaming their head off on the front, just like some people would rather read a ‘men’s lifestyle’ magazine featuring Justin Bieber!
However since I made the decision to compete around November last year I have noticed I now train differently, and after thinking about why I’m training differently I've come to the conclusion that I've found my own 'inner switch' and setting the goal of competing has lit a fire inside me. I’m not saying I now scream and bang around the gym (I hate those guys) I just feel more focused on what I set out to achieve that day and on that particular body part I’m working. Looking back I found I started doing this firstly when I was working my weak areas (delts and lats) I’d find myself digging deeper and really pushing myself knowing that it’s my weak area and wanting to bring it up and outdo my competition on stage.
I've always been a fan of mind to muscle connection so I always emphasise that during training and aim to keep my muscles under as much tension as possible with controlled movements. Below are a few things that I find help me really focus during training and flick my inner switch.
Pre Workout supplements- I’m not the biggest fan of taking pre workout supplements for every session, as your body will adapt and get use to the stimulant and you’ll need more and more scoops as the week’s progress. If anything I’ll take one before a legs session and sometimes before a chest/back session on my heavy days. I’m personally a fan of Muscle Pharm Assault (Raspberry Lemonade is amazing).
Set Workout- Having a plan will always help you in all aspects of life, going into the gym just thinking “I’m going to train legs” isn't ideal, you want to have a set workout planned out, know what part of legs your targeting, how many reps your going for, how much weight you’re lifting to ensure you've improved from the week before. Read over it before you go into the gym, I print my workouts off at lunch time, read over them and read them again while I warm up on the cross trainer and stretching.
Clear Mind- Having less distractions in the gym will help you in more ways than just keeping you focused and preventing any form of injury for example. I also find the gym is also a great way to release the days frustrations and just get away from anything that’s on your mind and solely focus on yourself and personal goals.
Positive/Competitive Gym Partner- Having someone to train with always has its benefits, try to get someone that’s been lifting just as long as you and if they’re slightly stronger that’s perfect, no doubt you’ll be stronger in some areas yourself and that will motivate them with the competitiveness between you. Not only do you want to physically squeeze out 1 more rep or 2kg more than your training partner but visualise your competition too. That’s some I've started doing since I made the decision to compete however I have done the same in the past when it’s come to my Thai Boxing fights or grappling tournaments, again this is something you can apply to any sport or competition.
Music- You’d be surprised how many people only listen to music while they’re doing cardio, I used to be one of them up until 8 months ago and now I love the added intensity it gives me during a weights session. I’ll be writing another article in the next few weeks discussing more about the benefits of music while you train plus it helps with my next point too.
Less chit chat- You’re at the gym to train, NOT to socialise whether that’s messing around with friends or on your phone (normally updating Facebook statuses so everyone knows you’re in the gym!). I’m not saying don’t speak to anyone at the gym, just don’t get carried away during rest periods or sets. Keep them short, this adds intensity, keeps your heart rate up, shortens the chit chat and gets you in and out of the gym without wasting any time.
I hope this helps and I just thought it’s something I’d share considering I've noticed a difference in my training and focus. Try a few of the tips/techniques above and find your own inner switch!