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Having a busy schedule can mean that you have limited time for workouts. You probably don’t even have the time to hit up the gym — and that’s okay! Doing your workouts at home is more than fine, and a lot of times, you don’t even need fancy gym equipment to do them. Despite that though, even if you slip in a workout or two in a week, you may feel like your exercises aren’t effective, that you’re not making the most out of it, or that you may not be getting the results that you are aiming for.
Don’t lose hope just yet, for there are things that you can do before and after to maximize workouts. By gearing yourself up before your battle ahead and after, you’ll be able to improve workout performance and gain the stronger, fitter body that you’re working hard for. Try out any of these exercise tips for a super effective workout!
How Can I Maximize My Workout?
Most people think that going on a strict diet is the key to losing weight. However, if you do it too much, you may end up harming yourself more instead of becoming fit in a healthy manner. Instead, it’s much better to have good eating habits that you can pair up with exercise, leading to more optimal performance and healthier well-being. You can say that eating and exercise go hand-in-hand together. Consider these eating and exercise tips to maximize your overall performance, whether it’s a casual workout or training or a long-duration sports event.
Eating and Exercise: 5 Tips to Maximize Your Workouts
Eat a Healthy Breakfast
Get up and finish breakfast at least one to two hours before your workout. You can eat a light breakfast or drink fluids such as a sports drink. Emphasize carbohydrates to gain maximum energy. Some good options for a healthy breakfast include whole-grain cereals or bread, breakfast energy bars, low-fat milk, juice, a banana, and yogurt. You can also try buckwheat to get more pre-exercise creatine into your muscle cells.
Do you do your workout in the morning? If you do, it’s important that you eat before you exercise. Food can fuel you well before you plunge yourself into your exercise session. Studies have shown that eating or drinking carbohydrate-rich food before a workout can improve exercise performance and may allow you to have a longer session or workout at a higher intensity. If you don’t eat breakfast, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded when you exercise.
Avoid high-fat meals for up to four hours before workouts as they lessen blood flow to the muscles and lessen muscle pumps, making it difficult for your body. If you’re one of those people who absolutely need coffee in the morning, a cup before your exercise may be alright. It’s also important to not try new food or a new drink for the first time before a workout as you may risk an upset stomach.
Watch Your Portion Size
When it comes to eating before exercising, it’s important to watch out for your portion size. You may end up sick and sluggish if you eat too much before a workout. On the other hand, eating too little may not give you the amount of energy that you need to power you throughout your workout. General guidelines suggest that if you’re eating large meals, eat them at least 3 to 4 hours before exercising. For small meals or snacks, eat them about 1 to 3 hours before exercising.
Eat Small Snacks
Some people can eat small snacks right before and during a workout but there are also others who aren’t able to do so. It’s vital to check in with how you feel and do what will work best for you. Snacks eaten before exercise most likely won’t give you added energy if your workout sessions are less than 60 minutes. However, they can help keep your blood sugar stable and can be good to prevent distracting hunger pangs.
Although, if your workout session is longer than 60 minutes, you may do better by including a carbohydrate-rich food or beverage during your exercise. Some healthy snack options include an energy bar, a low-fat granola bar, sweet potatoes, bananas or other fresh fruit, yogurt, whole-grain bagel or crackers, a fruit smoothie, a peanut butter sandwich, a sports drink, or diluted juice.
Eat After You Exercise
Eating before exercise isn’t the only important thing to do. Eating after your exercise is just as important. Having a snack or a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your sweat session can help your muscles recover and replace their glycogen stores as well. Good post-exercise food choices include yogurt and fruit, peanut butter sandwiches, low-fat chocolate milk and pretzels, granola bars, post-workout recovery smoothie, and the like.
One of the most important things before, during, and after a workout is to drink fluids. You need adequate fluids to prevent dehydration. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends drinking 2 to 3 cups of water during the 2 to 3 hours before a workout and drinking about 1/2 to 1 cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. It should also be noted that you should adjust amounts related to your body size and weather.
Additionally, for every pound of weight you lose during your workout, it’s recommended that you drink roughly 2 to 30 cups of water after your workout. Generally, water is the best way to replace lost fluids. However, if you’re exercising for more than 60 minutes, a sports drink can be a great option to have. Sports drinks can help maintain your body’s electrolyte balance, giving you a bit more energy as they contain carbohydrates.
How Can I Maximize My Workout at Home?
Aside from eating healthy, there are a few things that you can add to your exercise routine so that you can make the most out of it. Here are a few more workout tips that you can incorporate to maximize the benefits of your workout time:
Keep Workouts Simple and Do the Same Exercise
Keeping your exercises simple is much better than doing a million different ones. Think about it; if you only have a short amount of time and you’re doing numerous exercises, you’ll probably end up using more of your time preparing equipment or doing only a few reps on a couple of muscle groups. When you limit the amount of equipment you use or limit the number of moves in your workout, including your warm-up and your main set of exercises, you’ll save up more time and put more focus on the muscle group that you want to strengthen. For example, if you do biceps curls and focus on your biceps, it can result in more muscle growth in the long run.
Doing the same exercise also allows you to see your progress better. When you repeat moves, you’re doing a strength training concept called “progressive overload.” This is a concept where you improve at an exercise move by adding weight to your reps or doing more reps with the same amount of training. This is the most effective when you’re consistent with the same workout.
However, it should also be noted that sticking to the same routine for long periods will affect your improvement. If you’re doing strength training, you can change up your routine every few weeks.
Only Do One Set to Failure
The term “training to failure” means doing weight training that’s heavy enough that you struggle to maintain a proper form and fail to complete the set. Most people do 2-3 sets of failure however, it’s more effective to do just one fail set. Research showed that individuals who did multiple failure sets had lower strength gains than those who only did one failure set. Doing only one failure set allows you to maximize the effectiveness of your exercise.
The aforementioned workout tips can help you prepare for your session and help your body’s ability to grow as you go on. Also, keep in mind that what works for others may not work for you and vice versa. Pay attention and monitor how your body reacts to your eating and exercise habits to know which one is best for you and which one you shouldn’t do. If you feel any kind of discomfort, it’s always a good idea to seek a professional with medical education to help you out.