Working out and eating a balanced diet is pivotal to getting and keeping a healthy lifestyle. The two are not mutually exclusive either. Picking one over the other will not prove results. Along with eating healthy, you must work out. Whether you are trying to lose a few pounds or you are looking to beef up, going to the gym or doing a few exercises around the house will for sure give you the results you are looking for, especially if you implement these proven strategies to get the most out of your workouts.
Do Some Weight Training
Lifting weights builds muscle which in turn boosts your metabolism. In addition to your 20-minute run, do some weight training. Studies have shown that adults that spend at least 20 minutes a day lifting weights gain less abdominal fat over 12 years as opposed to those that only did cardio for 20 minutes. Weight training is a form of resistance training. When you only do cardio, you are making your metabolism go down which makes losing weight that much more difficult.
Cut On Your Favorite Tunes
Having a playlist going while you go hard in the gym can turn something so boring into something really fun. Not only is it working to entertain you while you are working out your body, but it has been proven that music can boost your body’s serotonin and dopamine levels. These two hormones are known to be responsible for recovering your muscles after a hard workout. When your exercise session is over, do not be soo quick to cut off the music. Turn on some of your favorite relaxing songs and keep it playing soon after you finish your workout. It can help even out your blood pressure and heart rate so your muscles can start recovering.
Warmup Before Working Out
Most people stretch before working out, but you can take your session up a notch by trading a good stretch for a warmup. This warmup should simulate the workout you are about to do as it will both increase your body’s blood flow and improve your range of motion without putting your muscles’ and tendons’ elasticity at risk. A study shows that people who performed a warmup with light leg extensions and squats were able to squat more weight during their workouts than if they stretched.
Eat More Carbs Before Working Out
Eating more carbohydrates before your workout will give your body the fuel it needs to perform any intense workout. With more carbs, you will get the most out of your workouts. When your body is properly nurtured and given enough energy, it will put in more effort, therefore, producing greater results. Do not be afraid to eat a bunch of carbs before your next high-intensity workout. Your body will thank you for it.
Workout In Intervals
When thinking about intervals, we are not talking about doing five seconds of work while resting for 30 minutes. These periods are very intense and it is recommended that you put all your effort into these high-intensity intervals with short breaks. For your next workout try doing as many reps as possible for at least 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds. Repeat this process for four minutes, making sure to rest for one minute. Do four circuit rounds of this and see how much of a workout you will get. You will burn more calories per minute by working out in intervals.
Drink Plenty Of Water
Water is your best friend. Put down the Gatorade and protein shakes. You lose a lot of bodily fluids when you work out, which makes your workout harder, reduces your performance and decreases your body’s ability to recover. This is why drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout is pivotal to getting the most out of your workout. It is recommended that you drink half to an ounce of water per pound of your body weight a day. Make sure you weigh yourself before and after your workout session to ensure you are replacing your body with enough fluids during your workout.
Familiarize Yourself With Free Weights
Exercises that use free-weights target a wider range of muscles during the workout than if you were to use a weight machine. This leads to an increase in hormonal responses in your body since you do not have anything to guide or support you. Essentially all your muscles have to work together to support themselves and you as you lift these free weights. Try it next time. Do not be shy!
Get Some Good Rest
You want to make sure you have a decent sleep schedule. Consistent poor-quality sleep will lower your body’s ability to bounce back after each and every workout. Remember that your body needs sleep because sleep begins the hormonal changes that encourage your body’s recovery. Make sure that you are getting at least seven to nine hours of sleep every night otherwise you are vulnerable to symptoms of over-training and fitness plateaus. Take off those glasses purchased from an eyeglass website, put your phone on do not disturb and get some shut-eye.
Try A Post-Workout Massage
A post-workout massage not only soothes you after an intense workout, but it can also influence your genes in your muscle cells to reduce inflammation and improve their number of mitochondria. Essentially, they help fire you up during your workouts and they help your body to recover after your workouts. Massaging your muscles will help the recovery process.
Got Chocolate Milk?
Seriously though, drinking chocolate milk has proven to be the best post-workout recovery drink. The reason behind this is because of chocolate milk’s 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. It is known that protein is responsible for stimulating muscle repair and carbs provide energy while helping that protein to get into your muscles. A study found that cyclists that drank low-fat chocolate milk after their workouts recovered just as well as cyclists who drank typical recovery drinks. So, the next time you perform an intense or long workout, give drinking chocolate milk a try as soon as possible. You may be surprised at how quickly you will feel refreshed and re-energized.
Switch Up Your Workouts
Keep your body guessing. You want to make sure that your body is getting a plethora of workout variations as this leads to more gains. Make sure you are performing many versions of an exercise. This changes up the muscles used and the amount of weight you can lift, getting the most out of workout than if you were to do the same movement over and over again month after month. Do not be afraid to change it up from time to time. If you are doing squats, consider doing a variation of squats. The same rule applies if you are lifting weights.
Get A Workout Buddy
Having a workout partner will always give you an opportunity to get the most out of your workout. The friendly competition forces you to push a little harder, run a little faster, do one more rep or jump a little higher. A workout buddy can also keep you accountable for those days when you do not feel like doing anything. If you are not one that enjoys working out, having someone there will make your workouts feel less miserable. Next time you visit your gym or decide to do a home workout, invite a friend. You will be surprised how much more motivated you will become.
Eat Protein Before The End Of The Night
Protein, protein, protein. It builds your muscles after a workout. Eating protein before bed is a recipe for getting the most out of your gym sessions. Research shows that proteins before bed, particularly casein, keeps amino acid and muscle protein synthesis rates high while you sleep. Snacks full of casein include things like Greek yogurt or cottage cheese. It is recommended that you eat these snacks after a workout and right before you go to bed that night.
Get Your Mind Together
A large part of working out is mental. While working out, it is important that you get your mind right by imagining yourself as someone who is confident and powerful. Engage not only physically but mentally. While you are performing the hardest workout of your life, instead of telling yourself that this is too hard, tell yourself that you can conquer any challenge that comes your way including this workout. Put on the playlist that makes you feel powerful and turn it all the way up. Look yourself in the eyes and give yourself a much-needed pep talk. Do whatever you have to do to get into the zone.
Pack Your Gym Bag The Night Before
There is nothing worse than showing up to the gym only to remember that you forgot something essential. Avoid this by getting organized and packing your gym bag the night before. Include any straps, chalk, belts, water, toiletries, towels, water and snacks. If you have things to do after your workout session, make sure you have extra clothes and other products needed to freshen up.