We just set the clocks forward yesterday and I’ve fallen a bit behind today.
There’s always a bit of an adjustment for me when we lose an hour of the day: My sleeping patterns adjust, have to deal with a bit of early daylight in my room and my schedule gets momentarily pushed back.
First world problems I know, but I digress.
As you know by now, I get the opportunity to work with thousands of women a year up close and in person with their transformations.
Hundreds of women walk through our doors every day to have their bodies transformed and, along the way, we’ve tested and tweaked almost every single type of diet/exercise technique you can think of.
Today I want to share 6 Sneaky Workout Tricks we do with our students at my gym and you probably won’t find these in your generic fitness magazine.
Some of these are going tricks to be counterintuitive but have proven to be highly effective.
Try them out and let me know what you think…
6 Sneaky Workout Tricks to Start Doing NOW
1. Try Fasted Training For Greater Fat Loss & More Energy
Unless you have a very physical job (ex. construction, massage therapist etc.) it could be more effective to do your workouts in a fasted state (aka. with an empty stomach)
Observations taken from our own gym have our students reporting more energy, increased appetite control as well as increased strength when working out in a fasted state.
Personally, my workouts are usually at 12pm and done in a fasted state 99% of the time. I’ve gotten plenty strong along the way and have set a good many PR’s on an empty stomach (sometimes on the 24th hour of a fast)
In general, working out on an empty stomach just makes you feel better in terms of energy, strength and overall mental concentration.
The bonus is that you also get the hormonal benefits listed above.
2. Take BCAA’s When Training
BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids) are the only supplement I recommend people to take for their workouts and the research is quite conclusive on their effectiveness as well.
BCAA’s help your body retain muscle, absorb protein a bit better and, when taken with your workout, they help enhance the entire experience:
Our students report higher levels of energy, increased cardio and increased muscular endurance when doing our Metabolic Resistance Training Workouts.
Taking BCAA’s are especially important if you try fasted training because muscle protein synthesis is stimulated and protein breakdown inhibited by regular feedings of BCAA pre- and post-workout.
Your appetite is also suppressed and insulin sensitivity maintained throughout the fasted training.
If you’re not taking BCAA’s right now you’re most likely missing out. They will be a staple in 99% of our students workouts until they’re proven ineffective.
3. Increase Your “Mind to Muscle” Connection
Next time you do a workout reconnect your mind to the muscle you are trying to use:
When doing a pushup focus on the chest.
When squatting focus on the squeeze of the butt when you come back up.
When you begin to think about which muscle you are about to train, you send signals to your brain to begin your brain to muscle connection.
By doing this, your muscles become more receptive when it comes time to begin lifting and you also create stronger neural connections between your mind and your muscles.
Get your mind and muscle connection back on track to enhance your muscular development.
This helps you engage your muscle better and makes for a much more effective lifting session.
4. Your Breathing Should Change Depending on the Workout You’re Doing
If you do a Metabolic Resistance Training workout then your breath should be a constant flow that is controlled.
The more oxygen you can get into your body the better your overall endurance will be when doing the intense circuits that usually comprise MRT.
If you’re doing heavy lifting sessions then your breathing should change entirely:
When lifting heavy your breath is more exaggerated especially before you lift the weight in order to get as much air into your body.
This is called Valsalva breathing:
You want to get as much air in your stomach as possible to increase compression in your body.
This ultimately keeps your spine safe throughout as well as increase strength in your lift.
The main point here is to not take the same breathing techniques with you to different workouts:
When training metabolically your breath should be a constant flow of breath.
When lifting heavy your breath should be more exaggerated and held into your stomach until your rep is done.
Do not keep the same breathing patterns to the different exercises you do.
There are different patterns of breath that will lead to increased performance depending on your workout.
Use your breath wisely.
5. Ankle mobility exercises – Start doing them
Your mobility problems most often start from the bottom up and if you have tight ankles they will affect your knees all the way up to your hips and your lower back.
When I see people doing mobility exercises I usually see them hitting up the usual suspects: hips, shoulders and their thoracic spine.
But rarely do I ever find people working on their ankle flexibility.
Most likely, you are dealing with tight ankles due to lack of attention, a sedentary job, wearing high heels, previous injuries to the ankle that haven’t been properly fixed and a whole host of other reasons.
Depending on the level of inflexibility in the ankle, it may cause a complete inability to perform a movement, or create a negative knock-on effect all the way up the posterior chain with the serious potential to cause an injury.
Mobile ankles means you can squat better and reduce injuries to your entire lower body.
Fix your ankles starting now by doing these exercises:
6. Foam roll and Stretch Your Groin For More Lower Body Power
When one is doing mobility exercises one of the oft ignored muscle is the adductor.
You generate 20-25% of lower body power directly from your groin and if it’s lacking mobility or is rife with fascial restriction then you are leaving 20-25% of your gains on the table.
And no one likes to leave them gainz on the table.
Start doing these exercises to reclaim your power back in your pelvis:
That’s about it.
Take any of these little workout tweaks into your next session and see the difference it makes to your body.
The devil is really in the details and making any little tweak to your workouts will lead to big gains in the future.
As for me, today is my rest day. I’m gonna get some work done and hit a little coffee shop on Queen st. to stay productive for the day.