Muscle Intelligence: 40 Ways to Get the Most Out of Every Workout


If you aren’t reaching your goals, here are 40 habits that you can implement immediately to make the most out of every workout.

  1. Take 5 minutes before you set foot in the gym to focus your mind, create the mindset you need to attack the workout and be successful. This is called an Anchor. This can involve meditation, walking, music, scents, journalling. 
  2. Walk, stand, talk like a strong and confident person the minute you walk into the gym.
    It is your time to own it. Leave the timid you at home. 
  3. Use strong words. I am going to. I will. I can. I get to.
    Leave victim words out of your life: Try. Can’t. Have to. Hope to. Need to. Impossible. 
  4. Demand Excellence of every rep, every set, every exercise. 
  5. Exercise is an attempt to use EXTERNAL stimuli to create an INTERNAL response. NOT simply to complete lifts. Think about that. What stimulus are you creating? What system are you challenging? (Nervous system, Neuromuscular system, Metabolic system, Aerobic system?)
  6. You get ONE opportunity to make the most of today. What are you going to do with it?
  7. Take complete ownership for everything you do. You alone are responsible for your performance and success. Copouts kill progress.
  8. Every single rep is an opportunity for progress, or to retreat into poor old habits. Pay Attention to every inch of every rep. 
  9. Pay attention to tempos and rest periods. They determine the stimulus youre exerting on your body. (Nervous system, Neuromuscular system, Metabolic system, Aerobic system)
  10. Stop watching other people. Use time between sets as a meditative way to connect with your body, and create the mind you need to push your barriers. Like a warrior, this is a habit you must create. 
  11. Muscle Growth = MAXIMAL MUSCLE TENSION over Variable Time.
  12. Max Tension requires max stability.
  13. Create Obsessive Stability at the 3 hubs(Pelvis, spine, scapula). Stability is everything in training. Stability can be internal(muscles) or external (machines, benches, floor, etc). Connect your feet like roots or an Anchor into the ground. Use flat shoes or no shoes. 
  14. Your Mobility, Skill, and Stability will determine capacity for growth.
  15. Perfect practice. 
  16. Own every inch of every rep. 
  17. Controlled violence on every rep. Contractions should be hard. 
  18. Breathe through your nose (ONLY). 
  19. Breathe into the pain. Embrace it. Smile. 
  20. Visualize the process and outcome before every set. 
  21. Create an internal focus. Think about Muscles not movements.
  22. Calm your mind with deep nasal breathing and light breath holds between sets. 
  23. If you have a hard time getting amped, increase breathing rate. (18 breaths/minute)
  24. If you have a hard time focusing, decrease breathing rate (6 breaths/minute.)
  25. Drink a lot of water before and during training. (1-2 liters)
  26. Seek to challenge a muscle, not complete a rep.
  27. Number of reps are there as a guideline. Not gospel. Muscular challenge within a given time is the only real goal.
  28. Work harder. 
  29. Always Do 10% more than is asked of you. 10 reps? Do 11. 
  30. Gym time is for training. Not talking, texting, or scrolling. 
  31. Contract the muscle first. Use that contraction to create motion.
  32. As soon as training is done, recovery begins. Calm the Nervous system immediately (disconnect and breathe).
  33. Recovery starts in the brain/mind, then the nervous system, then the muscular system follows. 
  34. Training is sympathetic (stimulating/catabolic), the rest of the day should be parasympathetic (calming/anabolic). 
  35. Develop a strong grip. Minimize use of straps.
  36. Every day is an opportunity for progress. Take one step in the right direction.
  37. Progress doesn’t happen in a single workout. It happens over successive workouts. Build progress into the workouts. PLAN, EXECUTE, PERSIST, GROWTH 
  38. Consistency wins. 
  39. The type of workout you do (STIMULUS) should be determined by the state of your body going into the gym (HRV). 
  40. What you eat before you train should be determined by the state of your body going into the gym (HRV).
Picture of Ben Pakulski

Ben Pakulski

Since first lifting weights as a teenager, Ben has been on a mission to do whatever it takes… …to become the most muscular man on the planet! On the eve of The Arnold Classic, he confronts the dark realities of bodybuilding… And his own future! Follow him on his journey…

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