Best Workout Tips: Part III

My Best Workout Tips wraps up today with some advice for serious fitness buffs who are looking for small suggestions to make bigger gains.
1. Rep it out – The most muscle growth from lifting weights occurs when you work out with 60-80 percent of what you could lift for one maximum rep.
At 80 percent, the average person can do eight reps, while at 60 percent they can do 15-20. Shoot for 6-12 reps when you work out in that optimal range.
2. Fuel up at the right times – Studies show the two most important times to eat are when you wake up and after you train.
Get a good breakfast loaded with carbs and protein. Eat items such as egg whites, low-fat yogurt, or milk and cereal and fruit.
After the workout, remember that it’s extremely important to refuel soon after, when your body’s cells are most receptive to replenishing the energy they just spent.
A premade drink workout shake with carbs and protein will immediately satisfy that post-workout need. Within 1 ½ hours of the workout look to have a healthy meal consisting of complex carbs and protein (chicken breast is a good choice).
3. Take a compound approach – Focus your time and energy on compound lifts – ones that incorporate multiple body parts in one exercise – rather than isolation movements. Examples of compound exercises are squats, deadlifts, clean-and-jerks and bench press.
Also, don’t be afraid to do exercises that are hard. If they were easy everyone would do them and look great. It takes hard work to get in great shape.
4. Vary the workload – Instead of doing the same basic workout routine, vary the exercises, amount of weights and repetitions you do. Variety is the spice of life and also the way to a stronger body.
Perform heavier weightlifting sets some days to build raw strength and muscle and then on other days go to lighter weights and higher reps to counterbalance with muscle endurance. You’ll avoid hitting plateaus as often by creating muscle confusion.
5. Take a break – One of the misnomers some workout novices believe is that hustle is always good in the workout room, just like on the football field or basketball court.
That’s not always true in the weight room. When you’re in the middle of a heavy set of squats or bench presses, there’s no way you should try to whip through the sets. It’s OK to take 3-4 minutes to rest and mentally prepare between “big sets.”

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at