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Be a gym hero

Man weight lifting
(Image credit: Unknown)

Perfect timing

Gym Zero chooses the busiest time of day to visit the gym, which dooms him to queuing for equipment, tripping over dumb-bells and being constantly distracted from doing an intense, muscle-crafting workout. But that’s the way he likes it.
 
Gym Hero tactically selects the half-hour before or after the rush so he can move seamlessly from warm-up to workout. This maintains his momentum and heart rate, so he’ll complete a session with no hanging around – and keep burning calories the whole time.

Grand entrance

Gym Zero saunters into the gym with a towel on his shoulder, calling everyone by their first name. His focus is firmly on making himself popular – and on the girl at the thigh adductor machine.
 
Gym Hero walks straight over to the first exercise station with iPod engaged and a purposeful look in his eye. He simply nods and smiles at acquaintances, preserving the single-minded determination to nail a great workout.

Getting warmer

Gym Zero hops onto a treadmill to warm up, setting it to zero incline and plodding through ten minutes of tedium. Then he heads to the bench press and loads up the bar with 60kg of cold steel, yelping in surprise when his left pec explodes.
 
Gym Hero, realising the need to raise his heart rate and warm up his opposing muscles, gets on the rowing machine and progressively increases effort over 15 minutes. Then he does a set of press-ups to warm up his chest muscles, as well as chest stretches. By the time he hits the bench press he’s ready to press one more rep than last time.

Workout wise

Gym Zero retreads the same old routine that he got off a poster on the wall of Frank’s Gym six years ago. His body barely notices him going through the motions, while his brain tries to escape through his ears with sheer boredom.
 
Gym Hero knows that his body adapts to a workout after four weeks, so he creates a new workout every month and mixes favourite exercises with new variations and techniques. As a result, his body constantly upgrades itself to keep up with the fresh challenge and he’s never bored.

Heavy weather

Gym Zero, being inherently lazy but utterly egotistical, chooses a massive weight, and then uses every trick in the book to avoid using his muscles to lift it. He swings his whole body into each rep, bounces the bar off his chest, lifts his elbows up, and generally lets his muscles off the hook.
 
Gym Hero selects a weight he knows he can lift and focuses on pumping out perfect reps, concentrating all the training effect where he wants it and giving himself a cast-iron motivation to complete the set: he’s done this before so he should be able to do it again – or go one better.

Wet work

Gym Zero hasn’t had anything to drink since his lunchtime Pepsi and is dehydrated within minutes, prompting him to down a litre of water. This hits his stomach like a lead balloon, causing him to slump over his dumb-bells and go greener by the rep.
 
Gym Hero spends all day hydrating and sips 700ml of energy drink in the hour before his workout with nothing in the final 15 minutes, leaving him energised and ready. He just needs to sip water between exercises to stop his throat drying.

Back on track

Gym Zero takes too much rest between exercises, prompting his body to release calming chemicals into his bloodstream because it thinks it’s time to recover. Oblivious, he heads over to do the hardest exercise in his workout, lasting about four reps before giving up.
 
Gym Hero does big multi-muscle, compound moves at the start of the workout when he has the most energy. This allows him to move on and mop up any last muscle fibres that aren’t already exhausted with targeted isolation exercises.

Final push

Gym Zero’s time-wasting antics have already taken him past the 45-minute mark when the energy stored in his muscles has been depleted and his body has stopped releasing the adrenaline required to lift heavy weights. Basically, his body has started to eat its own muscles for energy.
 
Gym Hero has already left the building. By keeping his workout short and focused he exhausts his muscles efficiently, maximising their growth potential.

Hit the post

Gym Zero is straight out of the gym and into the pub, where he drinks enough calories in alcohol to cancel all his fat-burning efforts. Alcohol also blocks the distribution of nutrients into his blood that are essential for repair and growth.
 
Gym Hero consumes a post-workout snack of three parts carbohydrate to one part protein, with around 1g of carbs per kg of bodyweight, providing his body with the building blocks to rebuild and grow muscles. The two hours he spends chilling afterwards recharges his batteries ready to
do it all again tomorrow.

Right result?

Gym Zero’s gym membership is virtually worthless. The more energy he wastes trying to get ripped, the worse off he is and the less likely he is to keep ‘training’.
 
Gym Hero has made his workouts an integral, efficient part of his life. He has more energy and less stress, and he gets fitter, stronger and more ripped every day.

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