I was doing personal training with a client in my LA gym yesterday who commented on how difficult it is to keep going on an exercise when it gets so intense that it feels like “the gas tank is near empty,” and “I might not be able to do another rep.”
This is a common feeling among people who train intensely.
(And if you want to get more results, you want to be training intensely.)
Now, as soon as my client said this, I realized that I personally look at this situation differently–and in a way that makes me both feel more comfortable, and also allows me to get more intensity (and results!) out of my workouts.
I’m want to quickly share what I do with you, so you can use it today:
My goal when I’m lifting a weight is NOT to see how many reps I can do, but, instead, my goal–the thing I’m trying to achieve–is to specifically get the “gas tank” to empty.
When your body produces results, it does so in proportion to how much you used up all the strength in a muscle. Your body does not know or care how many reps you did. The latter seems important because reps are easy to count, but it is simply the wrong goal.
Reps are one way to exhaust your muscles, but exhaustion itself is far more important then how many reps you did.
To illustrate just how much more important, you can do an isometric exercise, with no movement at all, and still exhaust your muscles–and still get amazing results.
When I sit down on any weight machine, my goal is to “empty the tank” on the muscles I am targeting as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Because my goal is to get the tank to empty, and NOT to do more reps, I feel more and more satisfied to the extent that my muscles start feeling more exhausted.
Further, I have no desire to cheat or rest during the set, because this would seem to be moving me away from my goal. AND it also would make the set last longer. I don’t want the set to last longer–I want to “empty the tank” sooner and be done with it.
This both gets me more results and gets me done with each exercise faster.
Please try thinking about this today or at your next workout, and let me know how it goes.
So, the next action is to do this right now: take a piece of paper and pen, and write on the paper: “Focus on ‘emptying the tank’ on the muscles I’m targeting. Work to achieve this as quickly and efficiently as possible. Do NOT worry about how many reps I complete.”
Now, place this piece of paper with your gym shorts, your gym bag, or wherever you are sure to see it the next time you go to the gym to work out.
Then comment below and tell me how it went. I look forward to hearing about your experience.