3 Keys to Enhance your Gym Performance


Time spent OUTSIDE of the gym, is equally important as the time you put into the gym. Math time: Let’s say you work out five hours a week.  This leaves 168 more hours within a week to be creating habits that are aligned with your goals or contradict them. Time spent in the gym only accounts for about 3% of your time within an entire week! The other 23 hours in a day are what separates people who continually progress from those who do not. If you have found that progress has halted, small nagging injuries are popping up, or your body composition is not improving, then start looking even closer at everything outside the gym.   

An exercise or training routine is usually the foundation and catalyst for all other positive lifestyle choices. The three biggest influencers of the effects of that training are going to be your sleep, nutrition, and stress management.  


Sleep is often the lowest hanging fruit we can take care of. Almost everyone knows the importance of sleep, but it is often neglected. This is one of the main contributors to our mental, physical, and emotional state. An easy place to start is by getting eight hours of sleep. Your workout is only as good as how you can recover from it. During sleep our bodies are changing to adapt to the stress we put on in that day. Late night TV binging and poor sleep habits will only contradict all that hard work you have been doing to improve.  

Quick Tips: 

1- Start by creating a consistent bed time. Know what time you need to wake up and count backwards eight hours. Simple.  

2- Improve your sleep quality by sleeping in a cool room that is as dark as possible. This will help provide an environment for your body to get into as deep of a sleep state as possible.  

3- Avoid screens 30 minutes prior to bed time. This is the hardest habit because of our society today. Screens on phones and TVs are stimulating your brain to be wired and wide awake. That is the last thing you want before trying to fall asleep.  


Our bodies rely on food as a source to repair muscle breakdown and cognitive fatigue. Nutrition serves as a fuel for those hard workouts we put ourselves through. Undereating can cause a lack of recovery and over eating can cause unwarranted weight gain. Find what works for YOU! 

Quick Tip: 

1- Take two nights a week to prep a couple meals. It will only take 30-45 minutes out of your day. If you do not “have” time to do that, consider skipping just one TV show to accomplish that. You will know which one is a TRUE priority by the decision you choose to make more often.  

2- Devote yourself to consistency. No one will be perfect. Find healthy recipes online that fit your goals so food can still be a positive aspect of your day.  

Stress Management 

Take ownership is this area. Sleep and nutrition will help significantly. Most people do not realize how much the daily actions above could be affecting their stress levels and emotions. Our bodies do not know the difference between stressors. This means stress from a workout, stress from a job, and stress from a relationship are all just seen as STRESS to our brain and bodies! Acute stress from a workout is a good thing as it forces our bodies to adapt to come back stronger and fitter. Chronic stress can cause serious long-term health problems. If we are constantly in a heightened stress state, our bodies will not want to recover and reap the rewards of all those hard workouts we have been doing. This can also lead to acute injuries because of the lack of recovery.  


Quick Tip: 

1- Take 5-10 mins a day (or multiple times) to relax and de-stress. This could be through some sort of meditation or just focused breathing patterns. 

2- Look at everything in your life that you deem as stressful to you. How can you improve in those areas to help be in a more relaxed state? 

3- If you are highly stressed one day and go to the gym for an outlet, consider dialing back the intensity. While the hard work out might make you feel better at the time, the added extreme stress on your body will only put you into a more stressed state.  


Start by finding your smallest victory. Do not look past the easiest of changes. Most people will overlook this because they deem it too small or insignificant, when in fact it will start momentum in improving in that area. Get an extra one hour of sleep. Devote a half an hour to prepping your food. Take 10 minutes to yourself to de-stress and work on unwinding (without electronics). Your performance inside and outside of the gym will thank you.  


Shaun Kneafsey 

Fortitude Fitness 


Director of Training 


David Licata