How to tell if your Workout was Productive
Productivity and its culminating effect is basically the foundation of what we're all trying to achieve in the gym. Immediate results, aside from a great pump, rarely to never occur so all you can do is work as hard as you possibly can in the hopes that what you are doing will be enough to create positive change. So the questions you then have to ask yourself after each training session is was what you did productive? Did you do enough? Will your efforts eventually show? If you find yourself struggling with the answers to those questions, the following scenarios may just help.
Just Need a Minute
One of the defining factors for me personally when determining whether or not my session with the weights was a good one is how I feel in the aftermath. If I'm filled with energy and excitement ready to tackle the rest of the day immediately, then I failed in my mind. If I did my job in the gym there's no way I should be clicking my heels as I walk out of there. Your goal is to give it your all and leave everything out there on the gym floor. That means once the workout is done, you should probably just need a minute or two to regain yourself, pull yourself together and figure out how you're going to manage to get through the rest of the day. I know this sounds really hardcore, because it is, but for me that's when I know I succeeded in being productive on that day.
Another great determining factor that I rely heavily upon is how long my pump lasts once the workout is done. There are some days when the pump hurts so much yet so good that I just want it to go away but not really and that's when I know I filled the muscle up with as much blood as possible and the effects of that will for sure eventually be seen. If you've lost your pump as soon as you've packed up your gear in the locker room, chances are you didn't do enough, at least from a bodybuilding standpoint, the accrue new gains.
Not Really Ready to Eat
Food is the catalyst for growth. You can train as hard as you want for as long as you want, but if you're not eating to support all of that, you won't grow; plain and simple. In pure contradiction to that and much to our dismay, many times after an awesome workout the last thing you feel like doing is eating. You've just gut punched your central nervous system with a crazy and highly productive workout and that could potentially cause a sickening sensation that has you hovering around the nearest garbage can. If you've experienced this at some point or another, don't worry. The food will be there when you're ready, just do your best to pull yourself together and eat as soon as you feel like it.
Now there's much debate around this topic and I agree with both sides so how you view this will come down to a matter of personal opinion and experience. Some people say that you don't necessarily need to be sore in the days that follow a workout for growth to occur. Others say the worse the pain, the greater the gains. It all really hinges on your nutritional strategies but if you're looking for my opinion on it, I like feeling some soreness and stiffness in the muscle in the following days. That always makes me feel like I accomplished something, but that doesn't mean I'm right about that and there have certainly been days when I didn't notice any muscle soreness after what I thought was a good workout but that didn't make me think any lesser about what I had done the day before either. Like I said, it's a matter of personal preference which could really just all boil down to a mental thing we need to appease our craving for gains.
Any way you cut it, your training performance in the gym has to be of a higher standard for you to make something positive happen. Much like you've chosen to wear a higher standard of footwear by strapping on your Heydays, you have to also ensure your productivity in the gym is better with each session you go into. If you can take the mindset out onto the floor with you, then results are almost guaranteed and there will be no second guessing whatsoever if what you did was good enough or not.
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.