Hitting the gym is an excellent way to get stronger, leaner, healthier and look good. However, you may spend hours at the gym and still get minimal results. Read on for 11 ways to maximize your workout to achieve your fitness goals.
1. Have a plan
Decide what you want to do before you step foot into the gym. Having a plan beforehand can prevent your heart rate from dropping, especially when you have already engaged in a warm-up exercise before getting to the gym. Write down your routines and time to eliminate decision-making as you workout to streamline your training. Read more here.
2. Warm up
The best way to prepare your body for the workout session is by warming up. This increases blood flow and improves your heart rate for high-intensity workouts. You do not have to use cardio equipment at the gym to warm up.
Cycling, jogging, or walking to the gym are excellent pre-workout activities to get you pumped up for your routine. Other warm-up exercises you could do include push-ups, body squats, arm circles, high knee pulls, jumping jacks, skipping ropes, or dynamic stretching.
2. Alternate your workouts
Workouts play a crucial role in staying healthy and physically fit. However, you should avoid engaging in the same exercise routine over and over again as this conditions your body to stay comfortable. This means that your body will not work hard enough to lose extra weight or build the coveted biceps and triceps.
Be sure to challenge yourself by alternating your workouts. Dedicate time to weightlifting, strength training, cardio training, and muscle training. By alternating your workouts, you also avoid overstressing a single muscle group.
3. Choose the right weight
Picking the right weight is crucial to achieving your fitness goals. A heavier weight challenges your muscles allowing them to grow stronger. A lighter weight may not improve your strength and fitness, so you need to evaluate the right weight for you.
To determine the right amount of weight for various exercises, consider engaging in a series of trial and error sessions. Begin with lighter weights you can comfortably lift using a proper form and progress to heavier weights to avoid injuries or straining your muscles.
An ideal weight should allow you to finish all the reps in your workout but struggle on the final reps. However, if you experience a lot of pain in your last reps, it is time to move down to a lighter weight. Consider increasing the weight if you can comfortably finish the last sets without a sweat.
4. Listen to your favorite music
If you’re feeling drained and sluggish, consider listening to music. Listening to your favorite songs can get you pumped up during your workout routine, making you feel powerful, strong, and like you can do anything.
According to a study, listening to music after an intensive workout could also speed up your recovery process and enable your heart rate and blood pressure to get back to normal.
5. Track your workout progress
Keeping track of your workouts helps you gauge your performance, allowing you to make adjustments to help you achieve your goals faster.
Consider writing down how many sets and reps you have completed in a specific exercise, along with the weight. You can then tweak an exercise element on the following routine to improve your performance.
Tracking your exercises is also an excellent source of motivation. When you realize how much progress you have made, you will feel more encouraged and motivated to push even further.
6. Exercise regularly
Scheduling regular workouts is the only way to achieve your workout goals. You cannot expect optimal workout results with minimum effort, but do not go overboard, as this could strain your muscles or cause injuries.
Consider scheduling regular workouts at least three days a week and progressing to more days as you gain more proficiency if you are a beginner. Remember to give your muscles time to recover and replenish your energy after rigorous exercise by resting for a day or two between your training sessions.
7. Stay hydrated
The secret to a productive workout is staying energized throughout the routine. To increase your energy levels, you should drink a lot of water to stay hydrated. While alcoholic drinks, energy, or sugary drinks can help you stay hydrated, these fluids may end up adding more calories to your body, making your workout less efficient, so you should opt for water. Add an extra dose of vitamins and minerals to your drinking water by adding sliced oranges, mint, cucumbers, cilantro, and limes.
8. Eat a balanced diet
Maximize the productivity of your workout by eating a balanced diet. Healthy diets fuel your body, increasing the chances of seeing your workout routine through. A healthy diet is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. For a productive workout, you should:
- Avoid a fat-rich diet for four hours before the workout
- Consume slow-digesting carbs before exercising
- Reduce refined sugar intake
9. Monitor rest periods
Taking a minute to catch your breath and rest between your exercise routine is crucial. However, avoid resting for too long. A minimal rest keeps your heart rate elevated throughout the training and ups the intensity of your workout. Be sure to limit your rest periods to at least 30 to 45 seconds to maximize your workout.
10. Get a workout partner
While exercising has many health benefits, it can be physically draining and exhausting. You may end up abandoning your workout routine, especially if you exercise alone, so you should consider getting yourself a training partner. The benefits of having an exercising partner include:
- Built friendships and community
- More fun
- Friendly competition
- Consistent workout routines
- Healthy support system
- Increased dedication to your workouts
11. Get a good night sleep
Quality sleep is important if you want to get the most of your workout. Poor sleep not only affects the amount of calories you burn, but also the ability of your body to come back stronger after each workout.
Exercising can be time-consuming and challenging. Consider implementing the above tips to help you make the most of your workout routine,