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Three things you can do to make your workouts more effective

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If you aren't exercising, you are missing the opportunity to live longer, have less risk of cancers, diabetes, or heart attack, and even a better sex life. Exercise and other lifestyle behaviors are proven to make your life better. So, if you have an ongoing exercise regimen or you are just falling back into a fitness plan, there are things you do to improve the results you're trying to achieve. Like premium fuel enhances the performance of a luxury vehicle, knowing how to prime your body to get maximum results is imperative. "Science is finally catching up with what smart runners have always known," said Ron Maughan, a professor of sport, exercise and health sciences at Loughborough University in Britain. "Without enough fuel, you won't get the intensity of training you need to get improvements."

Here are three things you can do to enhance your return on your workout investment.
1. Fuel with carbohydrates. Anytime you are headed for a workout, you're output performance will depend on how, what or if you ate something before. More importantly, the make up of what you decide to eat before is vitally important. Carbohydrates are the body's preferred fuel for muscle output. Most people skip breakfast and head straight to the gym. Before your next workout, try eating some carbohydrates, preferably at least fifteen to sixty minutes prior. That means that at the earliest time of the day options might include: a banana with a smear of peanut butter, Gatorade G Series 01 Prime Chews, or a handful of trail mix. A small snack under 300 calories will only take about an hour to digest. This is why a larger meal (600-1500 calories) will take two to four hours to convert to energy.
2. Hydrate to concentrate. Muscles are made up of 72% water. A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that dehydration is a key factor in the cause of headaches, loss of focus, fatigue, and low mood while exercising and resting. That said, it's important to hydrate before, during and after your workouts. If you can't focus on what you're doing, your form will falter. If your form is compromised, then the results will be as well. If you have worked out with a personal trainer, you'll find that just the slightest change in alignment can make an exercise harder. That intensity change can result in more muscle recruitment and faster results. Addtionally, muscles function better when they are hydrated. When we are dehydrated our blood becomes thicker. Thicker blood, ( from dehydration or lack of water ) is harder to push through the body, and compared to hydrated, more viscous blood carries oxygen less effectively to the muscles and brain. Hence a compromised hydration of the body results in less results from your workout efforts.
3. Compound the exercise. If you haven't heard this term, not to worry. A compound exercise is one that uses more than one area of the body. Combining upper and lower body movements as one exercise, is a great way to maximize your workouts and get better results. A simple compound exercise is a squat and overhead press or a lunge and side arm raise. Connecting the body as opposed to doing isolated moves like a bicep curl or seated arm row, will result in higher muscle output and thereby, more calorie burn, increased muscle strength and faster results. The other benefit is that the core muscles have to work to stabilize and balance the body. Instead of letting the ab muscles relax, it forces them to be more active throughout the work.

Exercise is an investment that appreciates like no other. Put your fitness in the bank and see how your investment grows.

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