People put a lot into getting in better shape. Often, it takes the shape of eating better, getting restful sleep, taking high-quality supplements, staying hydrated with sugar-free electrolyte powder and other healthful habits, but a key element to optimizing your fitness goals is to get the most out of each workout.
While we all want to be leaner, fitter and stronger, few of us want to spend endless hours in a gym to achieve these goals. Fortunately, as long as you structure your workout sessions correctly, you can maximize your workout while minimizing the time it takes to complete.
Here are six tips on getting the most from your workouts.
1. Consume Caffeine Beforehand
Research has shown that consuming caffeine before your workout is beneficial in a variety of ways.
For instance, pre-workout caffeine has demonstrated the ability to increase thermogenesis (heat production) during workouts, thus leading to more calories burned. Additionally, caffeine has also shown to boost endurance and dull muscle pain during workouts.
While many folks are likely to consume their caffeine in the form of coffee, opting to take some caffeine supplements might be a better idea, as these tend to be more effective.
2. Focus on Pre-Workout Nutrition and Hydration
Pre-workout meals are essential, as they provide your body with the fuel needed to exert itself and push hard. Therefore, consuming a meal of mostly carbs, some protein and a bit of fat between 45 to 90 minutes before your workout will help to give you the energy you need.
Additionally, the aforementioned time window is important, as this will give you the time needed to digest your food and avoid gastric discomfort.
At the same time, you will want to ensure that you are properly hydrated as well. However, to help combat feelings of fullness, you might opt to get some high-quality hydration capsules instead of chugging down loads of water.
3. Have a Plan of Action
When you get to the gym, it is essential to already have a gameplan for how you will tackle your workout, as this will help you to avoid wandering around and shorten the amount of time you are at the facility.
Additionally, since gyms can be busy places, it is wise to also come equipped with a plan B in case the machine or equipment you planned on using is taken. This way, you can seamlessly transition your workout plan and still get it done without having to think on the fly.
4. Start with Some Dynamic Stretches
No one is going to contest that it is vital to stretch before a workout. However, instead of doing traditional stretches, you might opt for dynamic stretching instead.
For the uninitiated, dynamic stretching has you move through different stretches, going through the full range of motion of a joint or muscle. Dynamic stretching keeps you moving instead of holding a position for a set amount of time.
The benefit here is that this approach can help to raise your heart rate and body temperature, thereby priming your body for its workout. Moreover, dynamic stretching is also better at increasing mobility and flexibility when compared to static stretching.
5. Get a Gym Partner
Getting a workout partner can prove to be a massive boon for your growth in the gym. In fact, even the CDC notes the benefits of working out with a friend, which includes higher levels of motivation, increased willingness to try new things and greater consistency.
Additionally, having a gym partner will allow the two of you to push each other to break past your limitations and reach new goals.
6. Keep Track of Your Progress
Tracking your workouts and the progress you make is a great way to ensure that you are challenging yourself and not just spinning your wheels. After all, maximizing your gym time (partially) means that you are pushing harder than you did last week.
When it comes to tracking your workouts and overall progress, it is wise to use a physical notebook or dedicated app where you can log information about the exercises you did, reps, sets, weights and other important information.
Then, when you hit the gym the following week, you will be able to reference the previous week’s data to understand how you should increase the difficulty level.
Additionally, over time, you will be able to look back and see how far you have come, which can be an amazing feeling.
Optimizing Your Workouts
Just as it is important to come up with a nutrition plan to help lose weight, it is also just as essential to establish a game plan for your gym time to ensure that you are getting the most out of each workout.
Institute the tips outlined above and you are sure to get into better shape, faster.