In the world of fitness and bodybuilding there is a lot to know. For every answer on the best workout for building bicep mass, there is another question on creatine tablets. Knowing where to start can be hard!

But before you learn the ins and outs, isn’t it best to know how to have the best workout possible?

Project X athlete James Stirling gives you 8 tips on how to get the most out of your workout.

1. Have a plan

Walking into the gym, be aware of what muscle group you will be training and the exercises you will be doing. The time wasted thinking ‘what should I do next?’ can be used lifting weights to stimulate growth! If you don’t write your workouts down, at least have a mental note. You will be surprised how much a little bit of preparation will improve your workout.

2. Use a diary

Just like it’s great to see your improvements in the mirror, it’s also extremely rewarding to see your developments written down. Not only this, each week you can look back and focus on increasing the weight you lift or the reps you perform. Knowing how many reps you need for a personal best is a great tool for motivation.

3. Focus on control and time under tension

Focusing on time under tension and the control of your movements assists in maintaining technique and really forcing the muscle to adapt under stress. For example, try a 3 second pause when you feel muscular tension around your quadriceps at the top of a leg extension. You might need to decrease the weight, but you certainly won’t regret it!

4. Lift for result, not for your ego!

There is nothing worse than seeing a gym user lift a heavy (too heavy!) weight to impress his friends. This can cause injury that will set you back and deter the hard work you have put it. Make your lifts goal specific, by tailoring your rep range if you are looking for hypertrophy (muscle gain) or strength.

5. Hydration

Drink plenty of water, as a 2% reduction in water can impact performance by as much as 10-15%.

6. Good music

Because everyone enjoys lifting weights or running a mile listening to their favourite soon.

7. Post workout recovery

Feed the muscles you have worked by replenishing with a post workout shake. When we exercise and resistance train, we deplete our bodies of essential amino acids and protein. A Matrix protein shake post-workout is a fast and effective method of protein absorption.

Good rest

Rest well and sleep like a log – this will aid recovery and help support the delayed onset of muscle soreness. Casein is a slow-release protein and is perfect as a shake before bed to feed your body whilst you sleep through.