8 Tips to Get More From Your Workouts

superheroyou 8 tips to get more from your workouts

So you’re working out regularly – great! That’s a fantastic first step toward living a healthier life. But if you’ve reached a plateau in your gains, or you just don’t have much time to dedicate to working out, you might want to make some changes to your workouts so you can get the most out of them. These 8 tips will help make sure that every workout counts.

1. Have a plan.

Just doing the workout you feel like doing when you’re in the mood isn’t going to get you very far (at least not once you’ve been doing it for a few months). Instead, you’ll need to have a plan and stick to it. How do you come up with a plan? Consider your goals.

Do you want to lose weight? Do more cardio. Get stronger? Lift weights. Looking to improve your overall fitness? Consider circuit training or a full-body aerobic exercise like cross-country skiing. Plan to do these things three to four times a week, and stick to your schedule.

2. Warm up.

Do you just jump into your workout right away? Warm up for 10 minutes beforehand, and you might be surprised at how much more you’re able to do. Walk on a treadmill, do some jumping jacks, windmill your arms for a bit, and do anything else to get the blood flowing to your muscles. When your body temperature goes up, you’re better able to use the oxygen in your blood to exercise, making your entire workout that much more effective.

3. Cool down.

Conversely, spend 10 to 15 minutes cooling down at the end of your workout. Walk for a few minutes and then do some light stretching. Scientific evidence is lacking, but many coaches recommend cooling down to decrease soreness after the workout. If nothing else, stretching regularly improves your flexibility and reduces your risk of injury.

4. Mix it up.

Do you spend most of your workout days in the gym? Go for a hike or a trail run. Put in a lot of miles on your bike? Go for a swim. Do a lot of walking? Lift weights. When your body is stressed in the same ways over and over, it gets better at dealing with those stressors, and it doesn’t have to work as hard. Working out in new ways keeps your body on its toes, helping you build muscle and keep your metabolism up.

5. Partner up.

If you always work out alone, you’re missing out on what could be a huge boost to not only your fitness, but your enjoyment of exercise as well. Working out with a friend makes you more likely to show up, encourages you to push yourself, and makes the workout more entertaining. Going solo has its benefits too. But when you need to work hard, having someone there with you is very helpful.

6. Set a goal.

Do you know anyone who’s signed up for a 5k to encourage themselves to run? While it doesn’t work for everybody, this can be a fantastic strategy for getting yourself to work out. If you know that you need to be fit enough to complete a charity ride or make it down to a certain weight by a specific day, you’ll be more motivated to get your workouts in, no matter what they are.

7. Work out twice daily.

While working out twice daily is a common tactic for world-class athletes, it’s underutilized by mere mortals. Even if your total workout time is less than it would have been with a single workout, elevating your heart rate twice in one day could help you keep your metabolism higher for a longer period of time, helping you lose weight. It also helps teach your muscles to recover quickly.

8. Go for an extra 1%.

James Clear has a great blog post on the idea of marginal gains. In it, he discusses a cycling coach who improved everything in his team’s life by 1% – training, diet, health, recovery, even the pillows the team brought with them to hotels. The team won the Tour de France in three years. This is great inspiration for improvement in your life, and integrating it into your workouts is a great place to start.

How do you do an extra 1%? Push for an extra minute on the end of your run. Lift just a tiny bit more this time than you did last time. Knock out an extra two push-ups at the end of your set. You can find 1% anywhere. And once you do, you’ll find it everywhere.

Get Everything You Can Out of Each Workout

Exercise is good for your physical and mental health, but it can be easy to slack on your workouts, whether by not working out enough or not pushing yourself. These 8 strategies will help make sure you get the most that you can out of every workout.

Liked this? Check out Why Men and Women Should Switch It Up at the Gym!

Written by Dann Albright

So you’re working out regularly – great! That’s a fantastic first step toward living a healthier life. But if you’ve reached a plateau in your gains, or you just don’t have much time to dedicate to working out, you might want to make some changes to your workouts so you can get the most out of them. These 8 tips will help make sure that every workout counts.

1. Have a plan.

Just doing the workout you feel like doing when you’re in the mood isn’t going to get you very far (at least not once you’ve been doing it for a few months). Instead, you’ll need to have a plan and stick to it. How do you come up with a plan? Consider your goals.

Do you want to lose weight? Do more cardio. Get stronger? Lift weights. Looking to improve your overall fitness? Consider circuit training or a full-body aerobic exercise like cross-country skiing. Plan to do these things three to four times a week, and stick to your schedule.

2. Warm up.

Do you just jump into your workout right away? Warm up for 10 minutes beforehand, and you might be surprised at how much more you’re able to do. Walk on a treadmill, do some jumping jacks, windmill your arms for a bit, and do anything else to get the blood flowing to your muscles. When your body temperature goes up, you’re better able to use the oxygen in your blood to exercise, making your entire workout that much more effective.

3. Cool down.

Conversely, spend 10 to 15 minutes cooling down at the end of your workout. Walk for a few minutes and then do some light stretching. Scientific evidence is lacking, but many coaches recommend cooling down to decrease soreness after the workout. If nothing else, stretching regularly improves your flexibility and reduces your risk of injury.

4. Mix it up.

Do you spend most of your workout days in the gym? Go for a hike or a trail run. Put in a lot of miles on your bike? Go for a swim. Do a lot of walking? Lift weights. When your body is stressed in the same ways over and over, it gets better at dealing with those stressors, and it doesn’t have to work as hard. Working out in new ways keeps your body on its toes, helping you build muscle and keep your metabolism up.

5. Partner up.

If you always work out alone, you’re missing out on what could be a huge boost to not only your fitness, but your enjoyment of exercise as well. Working out with a friend makes you more likely to show up, encourages you to push yourself, and makes the workout more entertaining. Going solo has its benefits too. But when you need to work hard, having someone there with you is very helpful.

6. Set a goal.

Do you know anyone who’s signed up for a 5k to encourage themselves to run? While it doesn’t work for everybody, this can be a fantastic strategy for getting yourself to work out. If you know that you need to be fit enough to complete a charity ride or make it down to a certain weight by a specific day, you’ll be more motivated to get your workouts in, no matter what they are.

7. Work out twice daily.

While working out twice daily is a common tactic for world-class athletes, it’s underutilized by mere mortals. Even if your total workout time is less than it would have been with a single workout, elevating your heart rate twice in one day could help you keep your metabolism higher for a longer period of time, helping you lose weight. It also helps teach your muscles to recover quickly.

8. Go for an extra 1%.

James Clear has a great blog post on the idea of marginal gains. In it, he discusses a cycling coach who improved everything in his team’s life by 1% – training, diet, health, recovery, even the pillows the team brought with them to hotels. The team won the Tour de France in three years. This is great inspiration for improvement in your life, and integrating it into your workouts is a great place to start.

How do you do an extra 1%? Push for an extra minute on the end of your run. Lift just a tiny bit more this time than you did last time. Knock out an extra two push-ups at the end of your set. You can find 1% anywhere. And once you do, you’ll find it everywhere.

Get Everything You Can Out of Each Workout

Exercise is good for your physical and mental health, but it can be easy to slack on your workouts, whether by not working out enough or not pushing yourself. These 8 strategies will help make sure you get the most that you can out of every workout.

Liked this? Check out Why Men and Women Should Switch It Up at the Gym!

Written by Dann Albright

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