- Consume carbohydrates during your workouts If you train more than forty-five minutes. When elite strength coach Christian Thibadeau was on the LLA show a while back he mentioned that he recommends consuming carbs before and during a workout to mitigate the cortisol surge from training. Taking a quality carbohydrate powder such as Vitargo during training will also improve energy levels especially during longer workouts over an hour.
- Avoid warm-up sets with high reps for strength training. The last thing you want to do is increase fatigue before you get to your top sets. If you’re going to work up to some heavy triples on the deadlift then you should keep all of the warm-up sets in the three rep range as well. For example, to ramp-up to 525lbs for a few sets of three, your warm-up sets will be 1x3x135lbs, 1x3x225lbs, 1x3x315lbs, 1x3x405lbs, 1x3x475lbs then 3x3x525lbs. This strategy will ensure your mind and body are ready for the intense sets without building fatigue. Take one to two-minute breaks during the first three warm-up sets then go up to two-three minute breaks as you get closer to your top sets.
- Avoid stimulants before training. While pre-workout drinks loaded with stimulants or a high dose of caffeine before an intense training session may sound like a good idea to get amped up for a productive workout, it often impedes training performance. The last thing you want is your heart rate through the roof before training. The adrenaline surge that comes with stimulants may give you the illusion that you’re about to have a great workout but you will likely find that you get tired after a few heavy sets (which increase your heart rate further). Instead, try having a regular cup of coffee taken with some beet juice or beet powder ninety minutes before training. This combo increases dopamine for improved focus and the nitric oxide boost from the beets will provide more blood flow to the targeted muscles for a greater pump.
- Do some ballistic work at the beginning of a session to fire up the nervous system. Some examples include 3×5 on box jumps, 3×5 on heavy kettlebell swings, 3×10 each side on jump lunges.
- If maximum strength gains are your primary goal, take longer breaks such as three to five minutes in between sets. Utilize High-Frequency Training training in which you hit a particular exercise three to five times per week and keep the intensity in the 70-80% range. If physique composition goals are paramount then utilize shorter breaks such as 60-90 second breaks.
Interval training is also very effective for fat and does not have to be as intense as the Tabata protocol for results (20 seconds all out, 10 seconds moderate pace for several rounds). For example, try using an elliptical machine in the following manner. Warm-up for five minutes at a steady pace then go at a sprinting pace for thirty seconds followed by a moderate pace for sixty seconds for a total of ten rounds. Cool down for five minutes at a moderate pace. You can do this at the end of your strength training sessions for additional conditioning work or on a separate day. Complete three to four interval training sessions per week. Assuming you have your diet dialed in you will achieve noticeable results in a few weeks. Not only in physique composition but improved heart health as well. Interval training is also excellent for a mood boost and to mitigate anxiety.