You probably didn’t start exercising hoping for mediocre results. It makes sense to expect the most from every rep, run and minute of hard work you put in. The good news is that scientists share your concern, and there’s a growing amount of research on what can be done to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your workouts.
In short, the solution is to understand that your workout doesn’t start when you lift the first weight or take the first step. It begins as soon as you wake up and continues throughout the day. From eating enough nutrients to getting enough sleep to taking enough breaks, there are several factors that can boost your workouts. Here are six important ones.
Listen to Music
If there’s any situation where music is more than just enjoyable and actually productive, it’s during exercise. This is due in part to the fact that listening to your favorite tunes releases dopamine and serotonin, two chemicals that are known to improve recovery. So, keep a few relaxing tracks in your playlist to cool down to after each workout.
For those whose primary goal is to build muscle mass, supplements are integral to the process. It’s seldom easy to get all the nutrients you need from diet alone, especially when you require high amounts of protein or similar compounds.
The standard recommendation is to take around 20g of protein and 3-5g of creatine per day. This regimen has been shown to raise muscle mass by an impressive 87% and decrease body fat by 3% over a ten-week period. You might also want to explore the other types of supplement compounds that are available on the market today.
For example, turkesterone is getting popular for its strength and testosterone-boosting properties. A few other common workout supplements include branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), fish oil and glutamine.
Eat Slow-Digesting Carbs
A study from Loughborough University found that athletes who ate slow-burning (low-glycemic) carbs for breakfast and lunch burned more fat and had lower insulin levels during the day. Opting for complex carbs such as oatmeal, fruit, brown rice and whole grains also increases your energy levels, making you more prepared and motivated to exercise.
Coffee fans will be glad to hear that caffeine can boost your workouts. Research has shown that consuming 200-400mg of caffeine an hour or two before exercising increases fat burning and endurance. It also lowers muscle pain, potentially allowing you to get more reps in before calling it a day.
You don’t necessarily have to drink coffee, as caffeine is available in supplement form as well. Some studies also suggest that supplement versions of the stimulant are more effective in this context.
It should come as no surprise that drinking enough water is important for getting the most out of your workouts. During each session, you stand to lose 2% to 6% of your body weight in fluids. Sweating out just 2% can be detrimental to both exercise performance and recovery, making your workouts feel more difficult.
You can make this easier by keeping a water bottle with you. Make an extra effort to drink after your workout, as that’s when your body is most in need of a top-up.
Finally, remember that quality shut-eye is just as vital to your workouts as anything else. A good night’s rest helps you recover and will even improve your performance at the gym the next day. So, be sure to get between seven to nine hours of proper sleep every night.
Putting these tips into practice can make a world of a difference to your workouts. You’ll feel good, perform better and see results beyond your expectations.