7 Tricks To Your Best Workout EVER

By

Vince Del Monte, WBFF Pro Fitness Model, Certified Fitness Trainer
and Nutritionist and author of No Nonsense Muscle
Building.

I can’t count how many emails I get that look like this:

“Vince, I have a hard time staying motivated while I work out in the gym.  I can’t seem to stay focused and often feel like I’m wasting my time and not getting the best workout in. What is the best bodybuilding supplement I should be taking or do you have any advice to fix this”

I understand how frustrating it can be to feel like you’re spending time in the gym, instead of investing time in the gym.  It’s a deflating feeling and can leave you with that depressing lump in your throat.

I have gone through short-term slumps where I just can’t get into it and it’s a crappy feeling especially when you’re not looking or feeling your best.

Here are some tips on how to crash through these quitting points!

1. Buddy Up.

Schedule your workouts with a workout partner who has similar goals as yourself and who inspires you and motivates you to work harder.  A good workout partner will push you slightly beyond your limits and keep the flow of the workout Photobucketgoing by avoiding chitter-chatter.  The best workout partners can give you feedback on your technique, arrive to the gym on time and ensure you give each set 100% effort.

2. Treat Yourself To an iPod.

If you already have an iPod, stock up on some brand new music that gets you fired up. I’m not afraid to admit that I might be too reliant on my own iPod but I don’t mind because it ensures I get an intense workout each time.  Music gets you into a rythym and flow earlier on to carry you to the end of your workout.  Popping on some ear phones also tells other members to leave you alone and blocks out back ground noise that can be distracting.

3. Have A Clean Pre-Workout Meal

When I’m training for size, I’ll have a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein about 90-minutes away from my workout.  It might be eggs and oatmeal or pasta and tuna or cottage cheese and fruit.  Those are some of my favorite pre-workout meals.  Ingesting a clean and energy-boosting meal enforces the tone and healthy mindset I live by and gets me ready to push my body knowing that it’s fueled properly.

4. Bring Your Program To The Gym

Even if you have a great memory and plan ahead, bring the printable workout sheets of your program to the gym.  You should know exactly which exercises, reps and sets and weights you’ll be doing before you arrive to the gym.  Seeing the entire plan layed out on paper creates less chance of cutting your workout short.  While others are standing around trying to figure out which body part they should train, you wont’ waste a second in the gym and be motivated by knowing you’re working towards your goals.

5. Know Your Goals

Going to the gym to “feel healthy” is great goal but having more specific goals is far more motivating. What is the one specific goal you’re working towards right now?  Perhaps it’s too look buff for a upcoming vacation?  A business presentation?  A wedding? A competition?  Whatever the case, by focusing on your goal, you’ll train harder and see results sooner so that you’ll be able to continue to focus more.

6. Wear A Stop Watch

One of the biggest mistakes is not keeping your workout honest.  When I ran track, everything was measured with a stop watch so all of our progress was honest.  If you’re not tracking your rest periods then it’s easy to lose momentum and focus.  It can also lead to chitter chatter with other gym members that pulls you out of your zone.

7. Have An Espresso

I won’t lie, some of my best workouts have come after “a shot” or a big black cup of coffee one hour prior to training.  Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system by blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter that normally causes a calming effect in the body and prevents you from feeling pain.  You’ll find your heart rate increase, pupils dilate and your muscles will feel tighter.  It also helps release glucose into your blood stream for extra energy. Voila… want to make that a double espresso?

They’re many more pro’s and con’s to using caffeine before a workout which we will not discuss today.  I find that 200 mg gives me the “caffeine buzz” and I’m a 205 pound male.   A single espresso has about 100 mg; a 6 oz of drip coffee has about 115-175 mg and a brewed coffee has about 80-135 mg (all these numbers depend on the strength of the roast) to give you an idea of how to experiment.

8.  Now It’s Your Turn…

Post your favorite tip or tick that you’ve used to have your best muscle building workout ever.  Feel free to elaborate on what I’ve already posted.

Vince Del Monte

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Comments

29 thoughts on “7 Tricks To Your Best Workout EVER

  1. Another trick that helps motivate me when I’m feeling a lack of will power to get into the gym is to jump onto Vince’s website. Or other fitness professional’s websites, for example, Jeff Anderson, Joel Marion, Eric Bonilla, Scott Tousignant, Zach Even Esh, Craig Ballantyne, etc. Once I see the pictures of their bodies and the other physically fit people they have pictures of on their websites (and of course, once I start reading their advice) for some reason that always motivates me to get into the gym.

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  2. @4real – In reply to 4real…I do the exact same thing: I open a Diet Mountain Dew on the drive to the gym, which gives me just enough time to drink about half of it. It seems to give me just the kick and energy I need to hit the gym hard. Oh, and I don’t waste the other half. I finish it off when I finish the workout, which also seems to help me “wake up” after a grueling workout. I’m not sure if drinking a half-can of a carbonated soda before and after a workout is good for you, but it definitely seems to help me.

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  3. yea good advice,

    what do you think about drinking a protein shake with a 2 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein right before a work out, is that beneficial or eating an hour before does the job?

    Matt

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  4. Definitely go the coffee… I have had some of my best workouts after a couple of short blacks. Probably not the best habit to get into absolutely needing to have one every time, but certainly doesn’t help if you have had a really big day and are dragging your feet into the gym.

    I know plenty of trainers who would scoff at this advice but I highly recommend it and thanks Vince for your excellent coverage on it.

    Regards, Clayton
    Adelaide, Australia.

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  5. All good advice! I workout in my garage and it is tough to stay motivated sometimes, so I keep a log book of EVERY workout and that keeps me going. I make sure I do better than the last similar workout and focus on that while I am warming up. Loud music helps me out a lot, so I crank it up, and focus! For the heavy lifts I rest as much as I need to, such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses, but for all other lifts I try to keep it in the 60 second range. It really helps you blast through the workout and keep things honest.

    Another good idea as mentioned above is the “dream body” picture idea with your current head “Photoshoped” over the original person. I did this and look at it daily on my computer. I tell myself about each body part and how it will become me soon. “I have broad defined shoulders, a slim defined waistline, etc. while staring at the photo. The mind is a powerful thing, so do this through out the day even while excising! You can manifest a body you want, so give it a try! The mind will keep you on track and motivated, trust me!

    Sean

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  6. I’d have to say what i do outside of the gym is the most important thing that helps me get the most out of each work out. If i don’t feel fully recovered from a work out, then it doesn’t matter what i do in the gym it’s still not going to be as productive as it could be.

    I also ensure I get into the gym during quiet periods, that way i get the equipment i need and i can work out at my own fast pace.

    What keeps me motivated? Enjoyment and results, I enjoy what i do and it’s made all the better as I see the constant gains I’m making.

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  7. HI VINNIE:

    As usual you are soooooooooooooooooo RIGHT!
    I do not use: caffeine, I-pod or a partner.

    Lots of crystal clear water. I changed from a “classie” gym to a “down to earth” gym – I do not need socializing, I need to workout (and I got great results – I say “good morning and “good by” (rud?, I do not think so, I get respect from guys and girls). I concentrate better by myself, sometimes I had help girls that asked for it, but take my precious time, and had to explain each workout and make sure that they doing it properly, I will take my time only if they will take it seriously. In other words, I prefer taking care of me.

    My biggest MOTIVATION is when people at the gym tell me the that I motivate them with my workouts (everybody knows that my coach is a Italian-Canadian teacher called VINCE DEL MONTE).

    Regards,

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  8. To Oak Metrcalfe

    You may not lose the benefits of meal. Are you progressing i this way?
    If yes keep on doing this! My situation is similar with yours. I get up at 5 am and eat eggs, oatmeal, veggies about 1 hours prior to weight lifting. That is at 6 am I train and at 7.30 post workout meal.

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  9. becz of the economy i cant afford a starbucks coffee. For energy rush i will drink 1/2 of a diet mtn dew. What are pros and cons of this? i dont know how much caffeine is in it, but it works for me.

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  10. Yeah drinking a Starbucks Double shot Espresso, is probably the best before a workout. And just normal espresso is probably even better. But the Double Shot, is so good, well because it has cream. So people who dont like coffee but want to give it a try, try this.

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  11. A stopwatch definitely makes a difference. Haven’t tried caffeine, might try it on a slugish day. Thanks!

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  12. Hey Vince great stuff as usual.
    I find what motivates me is simply to out do my last workout. Either with time ,especially if I am doing intervals, or to get 1 more rep or Set, or to increase the weight. I do have a workout partner who is stronger and younger than I so that really motivates me to compete. Unlike the comercials,”I want him to see me sweat”. My workout partner is my 20 year old son, so we have a lot of discussions about our workouts before we even start.

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  13. Hi Vince,

    First of all, I still have to send you my progress pics. I did not forget. I just had a minor setback. Re evaluating my life etc… why do I want a six pack, why do I want to succeed etc.. , just had to go back to the “whys”.

    I wanted to share my tip! It helps me every time.

    I watch ultimate fighting championship videos on youtube. Even though I am a girl, I need to watch people with well defined bodies in action. And watching ufc is perfect!
    I literally go into another zone! I make sure my ipod is fully charged, i have eaten my meal an hour before and just 30 minutes before leaving the house, I watch ufc on my ipod via youtube.

    I go straight to the gym … I don’t converse much with other people in the gym. I think of the bodies of ufc champs and its not just the bodies but the power and pride that they posses. I also like that their bodies are not huge but just extremely low in body fat and the strength they possess is phenomenal!

    So when I work out, I got music that is very different from the usual tunes i listen to. Its high energy and the only reason I stop is cause its time to stop. My mind usually wants to go further and keep working out. But I just respect my body and stop at 2 hours. 1 hour work out (5 minute warm up, 30 minutes weights and about 25 minutes cardio) and 1 hour stretching x 3 times a week. If I am tired then just 2 times a week. I also try to stay busy during non workout days.

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  14. I had some issues with motivation myself. I was dedicated to my workouts
    until I got sick
    (nothing serious just a bad cough) which prevented me from
    going to the gym. The following week my shift at work changed from 3:30pm –
    12:00am to 12:30pm – 9:00pm. This threw off my sleep schedule and made it harder
    for me to get to the gym – especially how I am a deep sleeper and a night owl.
    After 9:00pm is one of the busiest times at the gym where you often have to wait
    for a barbell. After 3 weeks of this I found that I had less energy from not
    exercising and my motivation for going to the gym wasn’t great.

    What I did was what you suggested in the first chapter of your book. When you
    lose interest look back at your goals you had at the start of the workout and
    assess your motivation at the beginning and how it is different now. I realized
    that I was still interested in reshaping my body but what had changed was the
    window of time when I could get to the gym.

    Just like your body resists physical
    change it also resists mental changes so
    I combated that. I decided to go to the gym in the morning. I would make both
    my lunch and breakfast the night before and have it ready waiting for me in the
    fridge when I woke up. I would also pack my gym bag the night before including
    my shower stuff and my clothes for work. I would leave it by the side door
    overnight. I set my alarm clock an hour earlier, moved it to the other side of
    the room away from my bed and placed my gym clothes on top of it. This way I
    have to get out of bed to turn off my alarm and have to pick up my gym clothes
    to get at it. The end result is me being at the other side of my bedroom with my
    gym clothes in my hands. It makes it a lot easier to stay out of bed. Between
    that and having my gym bag and meals ready I can leave for the gym 20 minutes
    after I wake up and get there around 10:50; more than an hour and a half before
    my shift.

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  15. Awesome post. I totally agree with you on having a written plan and coming prepared (caffeine and food). Another important thing to consider is starting your recovery right after you finish your workout. I use the foam roller, do about 5 minutes of ART type stretches, and down about 12 oz. of chocolate milk. I recover faster and when I come back to the gym I’m ready to rock!

    Best,
    Charlie

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  16. I like the watch idea, I don’t use a watch because there a digital right in the room, but I do place little black pen dots on the upper side of my arm. Everytime I look at the dots, I’m reminded to stay focused. Sometimes it’s good to have something to symbolize why you are at the gym!

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  17. I’m just starting to work out in the mornings after working out after work for ever. The trouble is I’m already getting up at 4 am in order to get everything in and make it to work on time. This means that my breakfast of eggs and oatmeal comes only about 30 minutes before I hit the weights. Am I losing the benefit of the meal by working out to soon? Any thoughts?

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  18. i had ingured my shoulder about a year back,it was while throwing a ball,i went through phsio theripy but still now its not 100%,cant do much of shoulder exercise n because of that all other body parts suffer,so please if u could advice me on that
    thanks
    peter

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  19. Great stuff Vince.

    Caffeine is Awesome. I cycle through it. One week on one week off. I use the stay alert pills(200mg) 15 mins before a workout and I just feel a rush.

    #8. Listen to music that pumps you up on the way to your workout. Listen to it as loud as you can and Visualize your workout till you actually do it.

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  20. I find that if I am having a bad start to my workout I look for someone in the gym … someone that is as in shape as me…someone that is in worse shape than me and then someone that I would maybe want to look like body wise…

    Then I ask myself which way I want to go and that usually helps

    Also I found that if i breath really fast and hard before a set and talk to myself to pump myself up I start getting a better workout…

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  21. Hi Vince..I had a great 1 hr. Spinning class @ 5:45 A.M. then finished off w/40 mins of CONTINOUSS MOTION free weight..stations..205 LB. dead lifts in Weight room.. no pause just GO..

    I couldn’t agree more w/one who said too many stand around flapping lips..
    C.—->>>M. is best of both..strength/cardio combine. Thanks for all you offer us.

    Kill it..the Coach Z. way..
    Nekomas

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  22. Hello there Vince,
    I believe that those who train right will see results. I believe many let slide the simple things.
    1 There must be enough sleep (8 hrs.)
    2 There has to be a good food intake, Certainly no alcohol.
    3 There has to be proper hydration. (Alcohol will counter good hydration)
    4 No dependence on any form of drug including caffein.
    5 A change of training program every 6 weeks. (need for diversity)
    6 A knowledge of how the body works.
    7 A focus in the training movements. (I need relative quitness, not music. I would only use music if I was doing high intensity work on the crosstrainer)
    8 Commitment.

    I have been training for 60 years now, and still going strong, out lifting and have more staying power than those less than half my age.
    My Regards
    Ernest Tuff

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  23. Hey Vince – thanks for the tips. I find that about 1/3 of an avocado provides a ton of energy for me. I add it to a chicken fajita, or chicken sandwich with a small piece of swiss cheese. Also, about 200 mg of caffeine, 100 mg about 60 mins prior and the rest during my workout. Don’t forget water too

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  24. Hi, these are great tips, and we can do one more crazy thing… take a photo of yourself in your best shap, even its old, go to a specialist photographer or someone who know adobe photoshop and remove the old head and put your recent (in your real age) and make few cpoies of that and spread it all over your place, in the car, in your office and even in your purse or wallet… and keep working with that photo your goal…
    how about that Vince?? yeh yeh yeh,,, I told you its one crazy tip.. 😉

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  25. Sometimes when I go to the gym and I am feeling a little tired, i pop one of those powdered energy drinks into my water bottle. I especially like “Deton8” because it will snap you out of your trance in a matter of seconds.

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  26. you should get some powdered glucose put in a coffee 1 hour before i find that helps me,i work out in my garage so i put posters up of what i want to look like many thanks launchy

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  27. Staying FOCUSED!

    I see a lot of people in the gym who will spend more time walking around the gym and chatting than keeping with a workout. Time between sets is important, but allowing yourself to cool down is killer to any real growth and strength. Keeping you head in the game also makes for shorter workouts

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  28. Hey Vince, As usual you give eXcellent advice always in these emails. The simp/ simple in being motivated that I take w/me to(the)gym each time is..sum kik-ass-caffeine..vary my lifts.sets reps etc.

    I always look forward to my neXt workout.

    .that way I know I am in the one I am doing…

    When things are going weLL or not..I say one thing.. “LifT morE(!!)

    Thanks again for your And Zach’s passion & sharing..

    Kill it..

    Nekomas

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  29. hey vince, thanks for the tips, sometimes its the simple little things that make the big differences, i’ve been having a coffee before my workouts and it works great, i feel more focused and able to push myself that bit harder, i was wondering if red bull was a safe alternative to coffee or should i say, will it have any negative effects that you know of?
    many thanks,
    dave.

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