We all want to get the most out of our time and investment when it comes to our health. And for many of us, that means working out regularly. But are you getting the most out of your workouts? And how can you know? Here are six ways to make sure you’re squeezing every bit of benefit from each session. From simple changes like the proper use of wellness supplements to more involved strategies like fueling your body correctly, these tips will help you make the most of your time spent sweating it out.
1) Get an Early Start
Early bird gets the workout worm! A morning workout is fantastic because it ensures you get your sweat on before life gets in the way. Plus, science has linked working out first thing to improved sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene refers to the habits and rituals we do that help us get a good night’s sleep. Studies show that people who work out in the morning have the potential for better sleep hygiene since they’re more likely to go to bed earlier and have a set sleep schedule.
By working out early, you’re shifting your circadian rhythm. This natural body process regulates when you feel awake and sleepy, so you can sleep better at night. As a result, you’re more alert in the morning for your workout and everything else during the day.
2) Optimize Your Workout Supplements
No matter what time of day you choose to work out, you need to optimize your workout supplements if you want to make the most of your sweat session. That means ensuring you have the proper nutrients to support energy and recovery.
One of the essential nutrients to look for is protein. Protein is crucial because it helps build and repair muscle tissue. It’s also necessary for proper immune function. The best time to take protein is before and after your workout. This will help you maximize muscle growth and repair.
Studies show that the recommended daily protein intake might not be sufficient, especially as we grow older. But this protein shouldn’t all be coming from animal-based sources. This is where plant-based protein powder comes in as a great alternative. While protein is readily available from plant-based sources like beans, grains and nuts, most people don’t get enough from their diet, or it’s simply not convenient to eat those items pre- or post-workout. This is why protein powder from plants like peas, brown rice and hemp can be a helpful supplement for people looking to improve their workouts.
3) Ensure You’re Getting Enough Fuel for Energy
The type of fuel you use during your workout will be determined by the kind of diet you’re following. Generally, energy comes from carbohydrates, but these days we’ve also realized that when following specific diets, fat can work as an energy source as well.
Carbohydrates are an important energy source and are included in many balanced diets. Complex carbs like whole grains and vegetables are especially beneficial, as they provide essential nutrients and fiber. However, simple carbs like sugar and white flour should be limited, as they can cause blood sugar spikes. You’ll likely be drawing your energy from carbs if you follow diets like the flexitarian diet, the DASH diet and the highly praised Mediterranean diet.
On the other hand, if you’re following a ketogenic diet or a very low-carb diet, you’ll get most of your energy from fat. In this case, it’s important to make sure you’re eating healthy fats like avocados, olive oil and nuts. These fats will help you maintain energy levels and support a healthy lifestyle.
4) Don’t Ignore Health Issues
It’s vital to be proactive about your health, especially if you have any existing medical conditions. For example, if you have diabetes, high blood pressure or gastrointestinal disease, you should be extra careful about your diet and exercise routine.
If you have diabetes, you’ll need to be careful about the types of carbs you eat and when you eat them. You should also monitor your blood sugar levels before and after working out. High-intensity workouts can cause blood sugar spikes, so it’s essential to know how your body reacts to exercise.
If you have high blood pressure, you’ll need to be careful about how much sodium you’re consuming. Too much sodium can cause fluid retention and raise blood pressure. You should also limit caffeine intake, as caffeine can increase blood pressure.
If you have gastrointestinal disease, you’ll need to be careful about the types of food you eat and how much you eat. In addition, you’ll want to work with a doctor or registered dietitian to plan the best natural probiotics, enzymes and other supplements for you.
5) Consider Your Overall Health Goals
Your workouts and supplement routine should be based on your overall health goals. For example, are you looking to lose weight, build muscle or improve your athletic performance? Depending on your goals, you’ll need to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients and planning workouts that will meet these goals.
If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll need to make sure you’re in a calorie deficit, which means about 300 calories less — per day — than your base metabolic rate (BMR) dictates. This means you’re burning more calories than you’re consuming. You can do this by eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly. You should also make sure you’re getting enough protein, as protein helps with satiety and can help prevent muscle loss. Be sure you’re not on a strict cardio regimen, even if muscle building isn’t your priority. Building some muscle will be beneficial for more expedient weight loss.
If you’re currently under your goal weight and looking to bulk up and build muscle, you’ll need to make sure you’re in a calorie surplus. This means you’re consuming more calories than you’re burning. You’ll need to eat a protein-rich diet, as protein is essential for muscle growth. You should also exercise regularly, using resistance training to build muscle. But don’t forget to add in mobility training to ensure you don’t get injured.
If you’re looking to improve your athletic performance, you’ll need to focus on your diet and exercise routine. Here, you’ll need to make more unique adjustments. For example, perhaps you need to be in a calorie deficit to drop a few pounds. Still, you also need to go heavy on the weights at the gym to improve your power-to-weight ratio. Likewise, maybe you need to add more protein to your diet to help you recover. Still, you also need to focus on enhancing fiber intake to bolster gut health. As you can see, this one’s a little more complicated. For that reason, you may want to reach out to a trainer with experience in nutrition to help you out.
6) Get Creative with Your Workouts
Just because you’re working out doesn’t mean you have to be bored. There are tons of variations for how you can structure your workout routine. You can do traditional weightlifting, HIIT workouts or CrossFit. You can go for a run, a bike ride or a swim. You can even do yoga or Pilates. The options are endless.
You should also mix up your routine to avoid boredom and plateaus. If you always do the same workout, your body will quickly adapt and stop seeing results. But if you’re constantly mixing things up, your body will never have a chance to adapt and you’ll continue to see results.
There are many ways to get the most out of your workout — you just need to know what works best for you. If you have any health concerns, it’s important to speak with a doctor or nutritionist to create the best plan possible. And don’t forget to keep things interesting by constantly changing your routine.