All of us make New Year’s resolutions that we just don’t stick to. If yours was to concentrate on fitness during 2020 and you didn’t even make it through the whole of January – we feel you. The idea versus the reality are two completely different things, so you may be in need of some inspiration to get back on the right tracks.
Sticking to a rigid fitness schedule can be gruelling and time-consuming if you don’t put the correct strategies in place.
Regardless of whether you’re a fitness guru or are new to the whole ‘gym thing’, here are 7 essential tips that could help you get the most out of your workout:
Drinking coffee before hitting the gym is one of the best methods to boost your energy levels before a gym session.
Coffee helps invigorate your central nervous system and metabolism rate, so you’ll have a little more energy to push through exercises classes, as well as burning more calories in the process. It has also been known to convert fat cells into energy, instead of being stored as glycogen in the body.
As a gym newbie, it’s hard to know how you’re going to reach your goals without a plan of action. If you’re in need of some help, it may be worth hiring a professional personal trainer to create a workout plan and push you to reach your fitness goals.
It’s best to have some form of plan in mind before hitting the gym, as it can be difficult to know which machinery to focus on for your fitness goals. Also be sure to have a Plan B in mind, just in case the equipment or floor space you need is taken, so you don’t waste any time.
Some people find that having an upbeat workout playlist works wonders for their motivation in the gym. Choosing songs that make you feel positive, powerful and strong can really help you push through some of your toughest fitness challenges. In fact, research has shown working out to a great beat can help reduce fatigue, boost athletic performance and can even make workouts seem easier.
The Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology also claimed that music has the ability to boost the hormones serotonin and dopamine in the body, which are thought to stimulate a quicker recovery after a workout.
Although you probably can’t live without your phone, try and pry yourself away from it during a workout session. It’s hard to focus on the here and now if your mind is elsewhere. If possible, leave it in the locker room while you’re in the gym – as the saying goes – ‘if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind!’
If you workout at home and make use of workout apps for your fitness regime, be sure to switch your phone onto aeroplane mode to avoid any distractions.
If you struggle to find time in the day to work out, don’t waste your session by taking too much rest. Give yourself a realistic time to take a breather in between exercises before getting back on it, and this way, you’ll maximise the intensity of your workout by keeping your heart rate raised.
Taking the appropriate amount of rest all depends on the workout you’re carrying out and your body type. As a general rule, you should be taking enough rest to be able to cope with your next set, just before your heart rate starts to slows right down again.
Did you know that during extensive workouts, your body loses approximately 10% of its fluids? Even just the loss of 2% can make your workout seem much tougher and your body may also take longer to recover afterwards.
Although you may take a bottle of water to the gym with you to replace the fluids lost, it’s recommended that you drink approximately 1.9 litres per day (which is the equivalent of 8 glasses). By drinking as much as you can before hitting the gym, you’re less likely to feel dehydrated, tired and lacking in energy.
Sleep is the secret to a much more productive workout. Scientists claim that getting the recommended amount of sleep per night (7-9 hours) conserves energy and repairs tissues in the body that may have suffered minor damage during workouts.
The bottom line is; the more time you spend in the gym, the more sleep you’re going to need. If you’re a regular gym-goer, it’s important you find ways to regulate your sleep patterns so you don’t underperform the following day.
Getting enough shut-eye gives your muscles and tissues the chance to repair and build strength, as well as replenishing lost energy from the day before. By sticking to a rigid sleep pattern over time, you should start to notice a vast improvement in your fitness performance.