Seven Habits of Highly Effective Lifters
If you are a regular at the gym you begin to notice the other regulars that attend the gym at the same time that you do. Before long you notice that there are some lifters that take off and are effective at their training and then there are others that seem to be stuck and haven’t been able to effectively transform their bodies.
Why? There are certain habits that successful, effective lifters have in place that allow them to transform their bodies into the lean, muscular, strong bodies they have always wanted.
Related: 9 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Fat
Here are seven of the habits that effective lifters perform to accomplish their goals.
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7 Habits of Highly Effective Lifters
Habit #1 – Meal Prep
No surprise here that the number one habit that makes lifters effective has to do with getting proper nutrition. When it comes to getting leaner, bigger, and stronger nutrition will always be the foundation and you will always spend more time eating and thinking about eating than you will actually training.
Effective lifters know what or where they are eating at least 80% of the time and the easiest way to ensure that you know what you are eating from week to week is to perform meal prep. There are numerous ways to perform meal prep.
There is the once a week method where you shop, prepare, cook, and portion your food all on one day. This works especially well when you are time crunched and can only set aside a couple of hours a week to ensure that you are getting quality foods.
The other method of meal prep is the daily meal prep where you integrate meal prep in your morning routine and you portion and pack the meals that you need for any meals away from home. Either option works well you just have to choose the one that works best for your life and schedule.
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Habit #2 – Get at least eight hours of sleep a night
Sleep is vitally important for any type of muscle building or fat loss goals and aside from eating can have arguably the largest impact on the success of your training. You become smarter, leaner, and more muscular when you get a good night’s sleep. During a restful nights sleep you release all the anabolic hormones that are responsible for adding on and keeping muscle mass.
You may think that you can manage with fewer than eight hours of sleep every night but the reality is that if you care about accomplishing your health/fitness goals you must pay attention to the quality and quantity of your sleep. Effectives lifters make habit out of going to bed at a designated time, minimizing things that will impact the quality of their sleep like excessive consumption of caffeine or alcohol (or both), and getting eight or more hours of sleep every night. If you aren’t sleeping enough now, you should be!
Habit #3 – Planning training
Effective lifters plan their training. Bottom-line. While it is possible for raw beginners to just do “something” in the gym and make progress, after a while the progress from transitioning from doing nothing to something will stop.
Effective lifters understand that to keep making progress they must keep getting better by creating progressively more and more stress to their bodies to cause favorable changes to their physique. Progressively adding stress to the body is accomplished by having a solid plan to follow for a sufficient amount of time to cause the desired changes.
Planning training does not have to be complicated, in fact, plans that are too complex often fall apart because they require too much effort to execute and life usually has a way of interfering with a ridged training plan. The trick is to come up with a plan or pay someone you trust to create a plan that works for you and provides the necessary training stimulus for you to reach your goals. Plan your training and stick to it!
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Habit #4 – Drink enough water
What? Drink water! Yes, it’s that important. The human body can be made up of more than 60% water depending on your body composition so, its important to make sure that you are supplying your body with enough water. Water is the medium in which all of your bodies chemical processes take place and when you are chronically dehydrated your body does not perform these processes nearly as efficiently as when it has the required amount of water.
How much water is necessary for your body to function optimally? Most people should take in about two liters of water a day plus more depending on physical activity and no coffee does not count towards your water intake. Effective lifters ensure that they are getting enough water by always having some kind of water bottle with them.
Not only does the habit of keeping a bottle of water with you keep you better hydrated, it also helps with fat loss by keeping you from reaching for soft drinks or other calorie laden beverages whenever you get thirsty. So make having water available to you at all times a habit!
Habit #5 – Warm up properly
Most typical gym rats consider their first set of an exercise their warm up. If you’re crunched for time that may be all that you can afford to do for a warm up but, if you have the time to put towards a more thorough warm up you will notice a significant increase in your performance during the workout.
A proper warm up will increase the blood flow and elevate the temperature of the working muscles as well as increase the strength of the signals that your nervous system sends to the muscles to contract. All of these things will increase your ability to lift heavier weights and reduce any risk of injury.
A good warm up begins with briefly addressing the tissue quality areas on the body that tend to become stiff and impede movement quality for example, hips and upper back tend to be stiff on most individuals. Then the warmup progresses towards activation of muscles that will be helping with the main movements for that day like the smaller glute muscles on a leg day or the smaller muscles that make up the shoulder girdle.
Next you perform an activity that will increase your body temperature and heart rate a little such as jumping rope for a couple of minutes. This entire process should take about ten minutes tops if you move with a sense of purpose which is well worth your time if you are seeking increased performance. Get in the habit of warming up before you train.
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Habit #6 – Cool down properly
If most gym rats don’t warm up enough, the chances that they properly cooldown are pretty slim too. Effective lifters understand that muscles are damaged during the training session and the sooner that the recovery process starts the sooner they can train again which means better and more progress towards their goals.
Failing to take some time to cool down can result in some pretty stiff muscles the next day. Performing a cooldown allows for your body to get a jumpstart on the recovery process and ensures that you are ready to train again as soon as possible.
A proper cooldown can involve about five to ten minutes of gentle moving and stretching while consuming a post workout shake or meal that includes protein and carbohydrates. You don’t have to over think your cooldown some foam rolling while you sip on your shake and some deep diaphragmatic breathing are a great way to conclude a tough training session. Make a habit of starting the recovery process as soon as possible.
Habit #7 – De-stress/Meditate
Most people today live in a state of constant stress from personal life and life at work, and if you train too that is additional stress that gets put on your body as well. Effective lifters know how to mange the amount of stress in their life so that they can perform optimally in all areas of their life including their training. This is accomplished first by limiting the amount of work and other stress that we experience and then by taking some time to meditate, breath deeply, and slow down the mind each day.
When you successfully mange the amount of stress in your life you sleep better which helps you recover from training. Keeping stress at bay also helps optimize your hormone levels which makes it easier to achieve and keep the physique you want. Remember, effective lifters manage the amount of stress in their life.
There you have it, by forming good habits you can form a great physique. Apply these seven habits to your life and watch your success in the gym grow to new levels. No rocket science or Voodoo just plain old consistent, hard work and effective habits will get you to your goals.