7 Ways to Improve Any Workout
It goes without saying, if one is truly concerned with not only how they look, feel, and perform, but also their overall health and well-being, exercise is a must.
And while yes, any sort of workout is better than no workout at all, it should also be common sense that getting the most out of the time you spend on your fitness would reap the greatest rewards.
Unfortunately, when it comes to their training, it appears that the masses are ok simply going through the motions. Even worse, they aren’t motivated by their workouts. They are either dreading them altogether or they are counting the minutes until it they are done.
We can certainly understand that exercise, fitness training, working out, etc. is not everyone’s cup of tea by nature, but this does not mean we shouldn’t do what we can to be as efficient and effective with the time we spend doing it as possible. Right?
If that makes even the slightest bit of sense to you, you might appreciate these 7 ways to improve any workout…
Have a Plan
Not to sound too simplistic here, but seriously, have a damn plan BEFORE you step foot into the gym, on the track, sit on the bike, etc.
This does not need to be some overly-detailed thing, but you should, at the very minimum, know what you intend to do during that next 45-60 minutes.
In you are biking, running, walking, etc, you should know how far you intend to go, what pace you want to keep, if you are going to do steady-state work or intervals, etc.
As the saying goes, “The failure to plan is a plan to fail.”
Our suggestion? Every Sunday evening, take 15 minutes or so and map out your training/workouts for the week. Use your Notes App on your phone. Keep is simple and make it easy to access.
A plan makes a big difference!
Relax. Don’t get too excited now. We aren’t suggesting you start prepping for your next workout with shots of tequila! (Sorry Rock! No Teremana recommendations in this article.)
We are suggesting that you do your best to make sure you are properly hydrated before your training sessions.
While proper hydration is relative based on a myriad of factors such as age, gender, location, etc, there is no question that everyone can, and should, at least make sure their minimum water intake is met.
While we would love to see everyone hitting a one-gallon per day goal, you must at least be sure you hit 100 ounces per day.
If you can get 20-30 of those ounces in within the 60-90 minutes preceding your exercise, you are setting yourself up for a really good session.
Just be sure you are not trying to “chug” that right before you start!
Remember, proper hydration leads to better muscle function and mental clarity while fighting off fatigue, and preventing muscle cramps!
Very good reasons to take this extremely easy, but highly beneficial step.
Depending on your goals, lifestyle, dietary habits, training time, etc, what you eat (or don’t eat) before your training session can, and will, have a big impact on your intensity and strength.
Does this mean you MUST eat before or leading into a workout? Not necessarily. In fact, we train in a completely fasted state these days as it meets our goals and provides far better results.
While we choose to live a nutritional lifestyle revolving around intermittent fasting (following a 16:8 protocol) and train just before break-in our fast (our post-workout shake breaks our 16-hour fast), we recognize this is not for everyone.
The key, whether you fast or not, is to be sure that your nutritional habits put you in the best possible position when it comes to your training.
It is very possible that what, or when, you eat, can leave you feeling sluggish and lacking intensity and strength. Certainly not the goal!
If you are not training in a fasted-state, we suggest trying to get a smaller protein plus complex carb meal in 60-90 minutes before your warmup begins.
Choose wisely and pay attention to the way your body reacts to what and when you eat heading into your workouts. Make adjustments as needed.
Supplement to Win
Everyone seems to be using for, or looking for, a pre-workout supplement these days. This is not only understandable, but honestly, if good choices are made, highly beneficial as well.
A pre-workout supplement is typically in powder form and to be taken 15-30 minutes before you begin.
The purpose of these supplements? Simple…to put you in a prime position to benefit from the work to come.
A properly designed pre-workout formula will not only allow you to train harder and longer, but also increase your intensity and focus as well.
A little heads up though…many of the pre-workouts found on the market today are filled with caffeine, stimulants and/or sugar that you do not need.
There need not be a feeling of bouncing off the walls or jumping out of your skin for a pre-workout supplement to be effective.
More importantly, for some individuals the levels of those ingredients found in some formulas can be downright dangerous. Be smart!
While you may or may not choose to use NitroMode, the 3D Labs Nutrition pre-workout formula, you should be looking for something very similar.
NitroMode is not only calorie and sugar-free, but contains a limited amount of caffeine, with many other high-quality pre-workout nutrients and electrolytes.
No jitters, no jumpiness. Just better energy, focus, performance, and recovery.
Again, choose wisely…NitroMode or not!
Get Warm…the Right Way
It is true, most people would much rather skip their warm-ups and cool-downs. This is not a good idea…for several reasons.
Failure to warm-up, or warm-up properly will not only hurt the training session to come, but more importantly can, and likely will, over time, lead to injuries or ailments.
If you want to set yourself for short-term workout and long-term wellness success, you will do your best to include both aerobic and dynamic movements in your warm-up sessions.
Aerobic warm-up work would be something like the stationary bike or stepper or treadmill for 5-10 minutes.
Dynamic movements might be jumping jacks, push-ups, walking lunges, butt kicks, etc.
Our suggestion is once again really, really easy to implement. Raise your body temperature, increase blood flow and get some sweat going with 10 minutes of aerobic work then spend 5 minutes on a series of movements such as air squats, jumping jacks, push-ups, butt kicks, etc.
Doing your dynamic work after your aerobic work will ensure that the body and joints are warm and thus ready for more full-range work and movements.
Track You Training
Don’t roll your eyes now. Relax, listen up!
Tracking what you do during your workouts could be, quite possibly, the most efficient way to make progress.
You see, as the saying goes, “what gets tracked, gets improved”, is true when it comes to your fitness training.
The easiest way to know when your workouts are working, or when you body is overtrained and needing rest…is to track your training.
We don’t need to go into a ton of detail here. Keep it simple. Use your Notes App again and simply add the work done to the plan you had previously created.
This allows you to see progress or recognize the need for change or more rest when progress begins to cease.
Do not minimize or overlook this. This could become one of your greatest fitness habits.
Get Your ZZZs
Like it or not, your sleep and your workouts go hand-in-hand, benefiting one another almost equally.
While it is likely common sense that good sleep leads to better energy levels, most people don’t realize that better fitness levels lead to better sleep as well.
Most of us have heard that getting 8 hours of sleep a night is good for us. Unfortunately, the quality of those hours is more important than the hours themselves.
And this is where many are hurting.
Allowing your body to truly “rest”, meaning reaching the important deep and restful REM sleep cycles is key to not only improving your workouts, but your all-day energy levels and focus as well.
Talking about sleep may not be exciting, but being well-rested will improve your workout performance, allow for proper hormone production and better recovery.
This may sound silly on its face, but the sooner you make your sleep a priority, the more you will likely get done.
Make good sleep a priority…starting tonight. Watch what happens!
Time for Better Workouts
Now that you’ve got these 7 Ways to Improve Any Workout, it’s time to put them to use.
While we see no reason all seven of these suggestions could not be implemented before your next training session, we also know that might feel overwhelming to some, so pick 2-3 and get a move on.
We can guarantee, these seven tips, when properly implemented, can improve anyone’s fitness training, irrelevant of workout type.
Let us know how it goes, or what questions you have!
…we would love to hear your thoughts on this, or any other article we write, so please, drop us your comments, ideas, input, and suggestions in the comments below.
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Now, onward! You only have one life to live, one body to live it in...so take care of it. Progress, not perfection. Good, better, best with your food intake and some form of "movement" daily. Get your nutritional foundation from food, supplement where necessary, and drink plenty of water.
And, don’t forget, always consult your physician before making any changes to your diet or exercise regiment.
Live a 3D Life...Decisions Determine Destinations!