Improve Your Workouts With These Useful Tips
Getting a good workout requires both time and effort. It’s true that showing up at the gym is half the battle, but what about the other half? If working out is something that you just do passively, you’re missing out on maximizing your workout routine. Since you’ve already gone through the trouble of structuring your day around your workout, why not make the best of it? Here are some tips that are sure to level up your routine and save you some grief at the gym.
Take Some Caffeine before Your Workout:
Caffeine catches a lot of flack for being unhealthy - and for good reason - but it’s also a great stimulant. Caffeine improves your workout performance by increasing activity in your central nervous system and adrenaline levels in your blood. This will make it easier for you to push through your workout.
The recommended dose of caffeine is about 200 milligrams or 1 to 2 8-ounce cups of regular coffee. You can also take caffeine pills. Take them about an hour before your workout, and you’re good to go. More than that, you probably are doing more harm than good.
Curate Your Own Playlist for Working Out:
When you’re working out, your psychological drive is just as important as your physical drive to finish your routine. Music is a tried-and-true method of keeping your spirits up during the process.
People who listen to music while exercising have a much easier time taking their workout further, oftentimes without even realizing it. Music takes you away from the present moment, in which you might be feeling pain, discomfort, or fatigue. It takes a little pain to see results, but that doesn’t mean you have to feel every excruciating second.
Make a playlist of your favorite upbeat songs to exercise to. Research shows that people tend to sync up their moves with the music they’re listening to and feel more motivated when listening to songs they actually like.
This is to say that, though most people listen to upbeat hip-hop or rock while in the gym, you should curate your own personalized playlist based on what makes you feel good. It’s different for everybody.
Do Dynamic Stretching Instead of Regular Stretching:
You know that stretching before a workout is important, but have you heard about dynamic stretching? Dynamic stretches are made up of active movements that mimic the activity you’re going to do afterward.
Unlike static stretches, you don’t hold a dynamic stretch. You simply go through the stretch continuously. For example, a runner might do some lunges and a swimmer might circle their arms before the main exercise.
Dynamic stretches prepare your body for what’s about to come and improve your range of motion. There are dynamic stretches for every kind of exercise, like running, weight-lifting, biking, swimming, etc.
Take Supplements Appropriate for Your Workout Goals:
Supplements are not strictly required - unless you’re trying to gain muscle in a short amount of time - but they sure are helpful. No supplement is going to magically transform your body and the people that promise you as much as probably lying. But there are select supplements you can take to help you along on your workout journey.
Although supplements help you gain a bit more from your workout, it’s very important to remember that they can’t make up for a rich, varied diet. Neither should you try to replace a supplement
with a macro, like protein powder with protein from your diet. It’s incredibly unhealthy for you, and supplements don’t offer many extra benefits beyond a certain point. They are only meant to supplement certain things in your diet.
Creatine is one of the most popular workout supplements in the world. It helps your muscles produce more energy for high-intensity exercises, like lifting and running. If you can exercise for longer, you’ll hit your workout milestones in a shorter amount of time. That’s what creatine promises to do.
You’ve probably seen people downing protein shakes at the gym. Supplemental protein usually comes in the form of a powder, which can then be mixed into almost any liquid you’d like to consume. Usually, it’s water, but it can also be milk or coffee.
Protein helps your muscles repair themselves and controls your appetite, which is why it’s such a popular supplement. If you’re looking to gain muscle mass, you want to up your protein intake.
This is where protein shakes come into play. It can be difficult to consume enough protein for muscle growth solely through your diet. You’d have to eat a lot of fish and chicken breast. Protein shakes are just a more efficient way of consuming protein, so keep that in mind if you’re thinking about purchasing them.
Incorporate Compound Exercises into Your Routine:
Compound exercises are exercises that require the use of several muscle groups to complete, like a squat for example. They are a game-changer when it comes to increasing the efficiency of your workout.
Compound movements should make up about 70% of your overall exercise routine. The other 30% can be isolation exercises - movements that target a single muscle group, like a bicep curl.
Some compound movements include squats, lunges, dips, push-ups, pull-ups, deadlifts, bench presses, shoulder presses, and jumping rope. There are many more, so do your research and select the exercises that you think you can do. This ratio works whether you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle.
As a matter of fact, don’t shy away from lifting weights and incorporating compound movements into your routine. They won’t make you buff. What makes you skinny or buff is what you’re eating outside of the gym. As they say, abs are made in the kitchen.
Whatever your workout goals are, you probably want to get the most out of your time and effort. It doesn’t feel great when you find out you could’ve been doing something slightly different and getting significantly better results. Hopefully, some of these tips will prevent you from struggling too hard during your fitness journey.