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Laws of Fitness: Part II

You see them every time you go to the gym: lifting the same weight, going from machine to machine, and not breaking a sweat.  Those are the same people that aren't making any progress.   

Law 2: Train Hard

It's not rocket science, and anyone can do it.  Most people shy away from it though.  Here's how to make sure you're training with the intensity to ensure success: 

1. Train with a buddy. 

If you want to go fast, go alone.  If you want to go far, go together.  This is one of the easiest and most effective ways to make your workout more intense.

2. Listen to music.

I've only ever met one person that didn't like to listen to music while working out.  If you're like me, having music in your ears can bump up your instensity level from zero to extremely high levels like you just watched the ending of the movie "Rudy."  Tip: If you chant "RUDY! RUDY! RUDY!" during your set you instantly get stronger.  Try it!

3. Measure rest periods.

Rest periods should be deliberate.  Don't just wait around until you feel like your next set.  Tip: keep it between 30 to 120 seconds.

4. Have a plan. 

Self explanatory.  Even taking the time to think about what you're going to do on your way to the gym can help you get in the mindset.  Tip: Don't have a plan?  Stick to the basics.  For instance, start with one of the "Big 7" lifts and you can't go wrong.  Pro tip: Have a training split and follow it.  That takes out half of the planning and acts as a road map for exercise.  Use it!

5. Drink your coffee. 

. . . or other pre-workout concoction.  Like with most things fitness, keep it simple.  I prefer 16 ounces of black coffee 30 minutes prior, but that's me.  If you're going to have an actual "pre-workout" drink, don't be swayed by fancy labels.  Creatine Monohydrate and caffeine are going to be your main effective ingredients.  

6. Use positive self-talk.

Sounds corny, but it works.  Telling yourself that you're just here to work hard and get it done does something to the mind.  Tip: Where the mind goes, the body follows.  

7. Play "the game."

I play this little game when I workout, it's called "see how deep in can dig" when I begin my workout routine.  This means clearing the mind of everything else and focusing intently, with a white-hot focus during every rep.  I'm either thinking about the set and reps that I'm doing right now or I'm resting with my stopwatch in my hand, planning my next set, my next exercise, and the remainder of the workout.  After that, it's all about recovery.  Get into your own head, make the workout perfect for you, and you'll do well.