Strained reps, poor energy levels, incomplete sets, longer-than-desired workouts and shoddy results can leave you feeling like your time in the gym/on the track is all for naught. But there are things you can do before and after you do your session to ensure supercharged workouts today, tomorrow and beyond – tips that can improve your efficiency, strength, aerobic abilities and so on. Make sure you start your training when you’re well-rested and your playlist is ready to go. The result? A healthier, stronger and fitter body. Now that’s a reality worth reaching for.
Your workout doesn’t start when you walk into the gym
Your workout begins when you wake up in the morning and continues throughout the day. Preparations go beyond just packing your training bag. They start with eating the right things at the right times to increase your body’s productivity during your session.
Before your workout
CARBS – Researchers at Loughborough University (UK) discovered that when athletes ate slow-digesting carbs such as whole grains for breakfast or lunch, they had lower insulin levels and burned more fat during the day. The athletes also had more endurance and burned more fat during exercise compared to those who ate fast-digesting carbs such as white bread. Be sure that all the meals you eat before your workout include slow-digesting carbs such as oatmeal and sweet potatoes.
Treat yourself with a good playlist – Edit a good playlist on your phone/mp3 player/ iPod to get in the zone and feel pumped up!
During your workout
Hydrate – water, water and more water. Your body is sensitive to water balance, so keep slugging water throughout your sessions.
Don’t stretch too much, get warm instead – Get your muscles ready to roll by warming them up for 10-15 minutes. It will help you preform better during the workout and will decrease the chances to get injured.
You live in the 21st century , use technology! – Keep track of your times, reps, sets, speed and everything else. Use this information to keep track of your progress and face new challenges.
Plan the workout time – If you can, choose one time to train (for example : before/after work), your body will adapt to it.
Core-stability sessions – Building a strong core will make you feel a lot fitter and help you progress in other areas of your body as well. For example, having a strong core when you squat, allows you to use the proper weights for your legs without hurting your posture and back.
Right after your workout
You’ve just wrecked your body. Good. Now it’s time to start looking ahead. Your body needs the right fuel to grow and repair itself over the next few days, and you need to start getting ready for your next session!
Cool down – Your body needs a short cool down just as much as it needs a warm up.
Stretch – Researchers from the University of Texas (Austin) reported that athletes who stretched after their workouts were more flexible than when they stretched beforehand. Plus, it’s easier (as well as safer) to stretch a muscle that’s already warm and pliable.
Nutrition – Have a good meal with enough protein and carbs to rebuild your muscles and get some energy!
And one last tip:
Try to train with a partner/ in a group every once and a while. Maintain a competitive atmosphere, and learn from others.