We all know that we live in a society that only wants to do the work if it results in instant gratification. Anyone in this field or industry for more than a year knows that it takes endless work over decades to reach the goals that the majority of us have. With that being said there are a few things that you can do today that will make you better this afternoon, or tomorrow.
Below I have listed a few simple things you can do to improve your performance in the gym almost overnight, and how or why they do this to you.
Self Myofascial Release - doing SMR on your major muscle groups just once will provide an incredible improvement in the way you move almost instantaneously. This is because you will loosen the fascia (sort of like a sleeve in this case surrounding the muscles) as the fascia loosens you will develop greater range of motion, and contractile force from those muscles. This means you will be stronger and move better! So what muscles should you roll out and how?
Glutes - This may have the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to squats, or deads. Place a lacrosse ball under you on the side of your glute (between where your front and back pocket would be in your favorite jeans. Move around until you find a painful spot, and hold it there for at least a minute. The pain will subside substantially after a minute or two, and you will move like you’ve never moved before.
Feet - stand on a lacrosse ball, move it around until you find a painful spot and hold it until the pain subsides. This will allow you a much smoother squat with a lot more ankle ROM.
Lats - most people we run into have lats that are far too tight to do any overhead work safely so they compensate in different ways. The easiest way to fix this and avoid a real injury would be to use a PVC pipe and place it just under your armpit while you lay on your side. Again, with all of these there will be pain and that is a good thing, just move around (up and down, and side to side) to find the worst areas, hold it until the pain releases, and then stand up and move your arms around.
Meal Prep - Even if your goal is not to lose weight or gain muscle, meal prepping serves two functions. When we prep we will always prepare better food that fuels our bodies in a more ideal manner. Having healthier food at a much more convenient reach will always benefit you both long and short term. The second thing this does is boost our psyche and allows us to feel like we are moving in the right direction. This small victory compounded over time will make a tremendous improvement in the results you find day to day and over a lifetime.
Exhaling - Learning how to diaphragmatically breathe is something everyone at IronRx has talked about for a while, but it's hard to do without guided instruction and constant attention. But there is something you can do sitting in your car or on your floor or just about anywhere. Four or five complete exhales held for 5 seconds will instantly lower your HR, and down regulate (relax) your traps, shoulders, and neck. That alone is worth the 30 - 40 seconds it takes to exhale. You will instantly feel better, have better ROM in your shoulders, and be able to handle more training volume.
To do a complete exhale what you need to do is sit or lie down. Reach your arms away from you as far as you can. Actively reach away from you like you're reaching for a free americano from starbucks. Hold that position and blow every bit of air out of your lungs. Hold that for 5 seconds while reaching for that americano. Repeat this 5 times.
These three simple things you can do today will undoubtedly improve your performance in the next couple of hours and days. That being said, this is not a cure all, these are just a few small secrets we have picked up over the years. You will still need to put in a lifetime of work to get where you want to be and maintain it. But any little thing you can add to help is always a plus. Good luck and remember there is No Time To Waste.