Working out is beneficial for both your mind and body. But, if you really want to increase your fitness or muscle gains, knowing how to achieve better results from your exercise routine will help you to achieve your goals.
Use our top 5 tips to get the most out of your next workout.
1. Increase the intensity of your workout
It’s easy to assume that spending longer in the gym will help you to reap the rewards. However, a longer workout doesn’t mean that you’re getting fitter. Studies have shown that a minute of intense exercise can produce the same benefits as a 45 minute workout. If you prefer a brisk jog on the treadmill, it might be time to switch up your workout routine.
Interval training involves completing high intensity workouts in short bursts, followed by a short rest, which is why it’s also known as a HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout. Eight seconds of high intensity interval training, followed by 12 seconds of lower intensity exercise over a 20 minute period, three times per week, has been shown to produce more weight loss than exercising steadily for double the time.
HIIT workouts help you to burn calories for up to 2 hours after exercising. The exercise post-oxygen intake your body needs after HIIT workouts require more calories than regular exercise, helping you to lose weight faster.
2. Plan your playlist
Listening to music before and during your workout gets you pumped up and ready to take on whatever fitness challenge comes your way. Music has also been shown to make exercise feel easier, helping you to take on more difficult workouts.
So, what music should you listen to? Try making a playlist of your favorite songs, especially those that make you feel good. Music increases your levels of serotonin, a hormone which boosts your overall sense of well-being, and aids recovery.
3. Stay hydrated
Losing water can make your workouts feel tougher. Many people sweat out up to 10% of their body weight, significantly impacting your performance during exercise and your recovery. To avoid feeling lethargic during exercise and prevent cramping, it’s important to drink enough water.
Drink water throughout the day. You should aim to drink up to 20 ounces in the one to two hours before your workout, followed by up to 10 ounces in the 15 minutes immediately before. During your workout session, drink 8 ounces of water every 15 minutes. You may need to drink more during hot weather or if you’re sweating profusely.
4. Consume protein before you go to bed
Eating protein or consuming a protein shake before bed may increase muscle mass and strength, according to one review study. Consuming 30 grams of protein up to 30 minutes before bed in combination with resistance training boosts the effectiveness of your workout.
Protein contains amino acids which build muscle, while resistance workouts rebuild muscle tissue. By consuming protein before bed, your muscles are gaining extra fuel for growth and repair. If you’re worried about gaining weight, the good news is that protein consumed before bed is used for muscle protein synthesis which won’t make you gain weight.
5. Master your pre-workout
Your pre-workout is just as important as your main fitness routine. Start your pre-workout with a few stretches. Dynamic stretches which get the body moving rather than being stationary raise your body temperature and prime your muscles. Different types of dynamic stretches, including torso twists and walking lunges, enhance your speed and agility, aiding your main workout session.
Foam rolling is another form of pre-workout which helps you to get the most out of your fitness session. Foam rolling involves ‘rolling’ parts of your body over a foam cylinder. Research has shown that foam rolling enhances muscle flexibility, while a small study found that it may reduce muscle soreness to improve your overall workout performance.
Foam rolling before your workout relieves any tightness in your muscles by undoing knots in the tissue which surrounds your muscles. If you’re looking for a more effective workout routine, paying attention to tight areas of your body in your pre-workout can make a real difference.
Zoe Wells is a health and wellness copywriter based in the UK. When not writing, she can be found with a book or getting acquainted with the great outdoors"