How to Take Your Workouts To The Extreme Each and Every Time



When it comes to fitness, there’s nothing better than an amazing workout. You crush every rep and every set without fatigue or face-contorting struggle. And you leave the gym feeling like you did great work and are about to reap all the benefits.

Unfortunately, we've all experienced workouts that are mediocre. We feel beat, weak, or unenthusiastic. We struggle to lift a weight that was easy only a week ago. Even worse, we feel like we're one false move away from injury.

In this article, I’m going to explain EXACTLY how to get the full potential of each and every workout. The result is more enjoyable workouts and results!

Fuel Yourself Correctly

As the old cliché goes, “You are what you eat.

If you eat a lot of processed foods, sugary carbs, and artificial fats, you can still lose weight, but you will NOT feel great or perform well in the gym.

To make the most of each training session, eat lots of veggies, lean protein, and healthy fats (like avocados, real butter, nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, Greek yogurt, etc.) in every meal. These will provide the nutrients your body craves for optimal metabolic function — don’t be surprised if you feel more energized and focused just by improving your diet.

Also, eat carbs. If you’re training 4 times a week, lifting weights, running, biking, and playing sports, you NEED carbs. (And more than most humans too.) Carbs fuel your body and help you recover from a hard training session; skimp on your carbs, however, and you’ll get to gym with your fuel tank on “empty.”

Just make sure eat good sources of carbs like potatoes, rice, quinoa, whole grains, etc.

Listen To Your Body

Sometimes, the best thing to do is to ditch your scheduled workout and do something easy and relaxing like taking a walk, taking a yoga class, or going on a easy bike ride around your neighborhood.

This, however, might seem counterintuitive: “Why should I take it easy if I want to take my workouts to the extreme?” The problem is that we don’t live in a vacuum: there are so many non-gym factors that affect our readiness — work stress, family stress, a bad night of sleep, a poor meal choice, or (on the other end of the spectrum) a relaxing dinner with friends, an invigorating massage, or good news at work.

Listen to your body and make day-to-day adjustments. How? Often, your body will give you clues as to how ready you are to push your body (your “training readiness”). And the crazy thing is you can assess this WAY before you step into a gym.

Do you feel a little less coordinated than usual?  Does a walk up the stairs feel a little harder than normal? (Those are hints.) For a more-scientific approach, you can measure your heart rate variability (HRV) first thing in the morning. Your HRV tells you your daily readiness by measuring how your heart beats to analyze the stress levels within your body.

Warm Up Correctly

Believe it or not, your warm up can make or break your workout. For example, let’s compare two different warmups.

Warmup A: 10 minute jog on a treadmill followed by some phys-ed stretches, pushups, and jumping jacks.

Warmup B: A foam roll, followed by a series of mobility drills and activation exercises.

Warmup B will win every time — it’ll help you push more weight and even prevent injuries. First, it works to increase your body temperature, crank up your neural activation, warm up and open the joints, and fire up your nerves to handle intense physical activity. Second, it addresses common trouble areas even for people who lift a lot of weight: poor glute activation, poor thoracic spine mobility, weak hips, and a weak core.  

Shatter Your Mental Barriers 

Often, people have fitness goals of lifting a particular amount of weight or doing a certain amount of reps, etc. But along the way, they hit a barrier that’s a magic number. For example, maybe they’ve struggled to bench more than the big “250” or they just can’t deadlift “300.”

And weirdly enough, it’s often mental. Sometimes setting a new record has less to do with your strength and power and more to do with your mental strength and commitment. All it takes is one brief moment of “fear of failure,” however, and you’ll end up dumping the bar on the squat rack or needing your spotters to help you with the bench.

Listen To The Right Music

I remember the times I forgot my headphones and had to workout to the tunes of whatever Top 40 station the gym decided to play. Oh god. I think I spent more time trying to ignore Justin Bieber than I did focusing on my lifts.

If you want to lift more weight, invest in good headphones (i.e. they don’t fall off, move around, or tangles you with its cord) and listen to music that pumps you up.

Improve Your Baseline Conditioning

The better your conditioning, the harder you can push yourself in the gym and during your workout.

But when I say “conditioning,” I don’t mean balls-to-the-wall, max effort work. I mean your foundational powerhouse — aka the “aerobic” system. By improving your capacity here, you’ll improve your recovery in between sets, increase your endurance, and speed up your recovery between workouts. 

On your light days or active recovery days, do 20 – 40 minutes of aerobic work (120 – 150bpm). Do a jog, bike ride, treadmill hike, rowing machine, etc.

About Anthony

Anthony J. Yeung, CSCS, is a fitness expert at Esquire, GQ, and Men’s Health and the founder of Unlock Your Fitness.



The world’s most personalized pre-workout.
What is your stimulant tolerance?
zero
no stims for me thanks
low
a standard energy drink or cup of coffee is enough for me
medium
I drink multiple energy drinks or cups of coffee a day and/or I take pre-workout before the gym
high
I drink pre-workouts or energy drinks all day long
What is your goal?

Enhanced Performance
start a fitness program and/or take it to the next level

Weight Loss
fat loss and cutting

Muscle Growth
gain strength and size
Do you play collegiate or competitive sports?
yes
no
Alpha Amino BCAA

Alpha Amino is the ultimate performance, hydration and recovery sports drink powder. Its premium formula is built on the power of amino acids and formulated with ingredients that promote healthy fluid balance. Alpha Amino has 14 Amino Acids including a well-studied 2:1:1 BCAA ratio. These Amino Acids support the body’s ability to fuel skeletal muscles, preserve muscle glycogen stores and reduce protein breakdown.

  • Performance BCAA’s with 0g Sugar
  • 14 Amino Acids
  • 5g BCAA’s in the clinically studied 2:1:1 ratio
  • Electrolytes for hydration
  • Zero Stimulants & Zero Sugar
C4 Sport

C4 Sport! If you are a collegiate athlete or play sports competitively, C4 Sport is the perfect pre-workout for you because it is NSF Certified for Sport. C4 will help you tackle your training in the gym and on the field.

  • Boosts energy + focus
  • Enhances muscular endurance
  • 135mg of caffeine
  • Contains CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine, an amino acid, patented and clinically studied form of beta-alanine that has been shown to support muscular endurance
  • NSF certification is trusted by the MLB, NFL, NBA, NCAA, and everyday athletes alike
C4 Original

C4 Original! This is our best-selling pre-workout with more than 1.3 billion servings sold! C4 Original is perfect for you if you are new to the pre-workout game or you are seeking a lower stimulant C4.

  • Perfect for energy, focus and pumps
  • Good if you’re at the start your fitness journey/want to step up your workouts
  • 150mg of caffeine

Pro tip: If you are just starting out on a pre-workout, take half a scoop to assess tolerance level.*

Also available in convenient, bottled, ON THE GO formula!

C4 Ripped

C4 Ripped! If your goal is to lose weight, C4 Ripped is the perfect pre-workout for you.

  • Helps you train harder while supporting your body’s ability to burn fat
  • Creatine-free
  • Includes ingredients like Green Coffee Bean Extract to support weight loss
  • 150mg of caffeine
  • L-Carnitine Tartrate
C4 Extreme Energy

C4 Extreme! If you love energy drinks and are always on the hunt for higher caffeine levels, C4 Extreme is for you.

  • C4 Extreme is the most stimulating C4 pre-workout
  • 2x as much caffeine than C4 Original
  • 2x as much CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine (tingles) than C4 Original
  • 300mg of caffeine
C4 Ultimate

C4 Ultimate! If you’re a seasoned gym goer who loves pre-workouts and you’re looking for a fully-loaded, high-impact pre-workout, C4 Ultimate has what you need.

  • The most powerful C4 created
  • Per scoop: 300mg caffeine, 6g Citrulline Malate, 3.2g of CarnoSyn® Beta Alanine, 1.5g Nitrosigine®, 1.5g Creatine Nitrate, plus a powerful blend of nootropics
  • Fully-loaded formula packs a heavy punch of ingredients for focus, endurance, and pumps to help push you to your ultimate limit
  • Formulated for the ultimate – not entry level

Also available in convenient, bottled, ON THE GO formula!

BCAA Sport

BCAA Sport! If you are a collegiate athlete – or play sports competitively, BCAA Sport is a perfect stimulant-free option for you, because it is NSF® Certified for Sport®! BCAA Sport supports all day hydration & recovery, to maximize your workout results

  • All Day Hydration & Recovery
  • Supports All Day Hydration & Recovery
  • Zero Stimulants & Zero Sugar
  • 4G BCAA’s, 2.25G Added Amino Acids, 2G Added Glutamine, and Added Electrolytes
  • NSF® Certified for Sport®
CN3

CN3&trad; combines 3 forms of Creatine into a stimulant-free 3-in-1 Creatine complex! Providing 6.25 total grams consisting of micronized Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Nitrate, and Creatine Hydrochloride. CN3&trad; is an amazing product to be taken before, during, or after a workout. Looking to amplify Strength & Pumps? CN3&trad; has got you covered!

  • Strength & Pump Amplifier
  • Stimulant free
  • Includes Creatine Monohydrate, Creatine Nitrate, and Creatine HCL
  • Unflavored or flavored
CLK

Cellucor CLK® is a stimulant free toning and sculpting supplement built on the power of four all-star weight loss ingredients: CLA, Raspberry Ketones, Carnitine, and the latest in diet support; Slimpro®.

  • Stimulant Free Fat Loss
  • Stimulant free toning and sculpting formula
  • Powered by four ingredients to support weight loss
  • Can be taken standalone, or paired with C4 Ripped (C4 Ripped contains stimulants)
  • Raspberry flavored softgels

Share & Contribute

Do you have a story or would you like to be a contributor? We'd love to hear from you.

Learn How