No matter what your workout regimen might look like, it’s a given that you want to get all you can out of it. If you’re going to commit to a program and set aside the time each day to get after it, you’ll want to maximize that time and make sure you aren’t wasting energy. This is particularly true in the early going. For the first few weeks, before you really start seeing results, you want to feel that you’re pushing your body and that the workouts are taking effect. You’ll know, long before you start seeing inches coming off, muscle building up, or whatever else you’re looking for, if it’s working.
With that in mind, we’re looking at a few small ways to make sure you get everything you can out of each and every workout.
1. Hydrate Early
This doesn’t refer to early in the day, though it’s not a bad idea to start hydrating early on. Rather, it’s about hydrating long before a workout – not just downing a glass of water before you go out on a run, or stopping by the fountain before you hit the gym floor. Those ideas are better than not hydrating at all, but you should remember that hydration is a process. It’s about water getting into the body, not getting into your mouth. You’ll prime your body to perform better in workouts by hydrating well in advance, and consistently. Additionally, it’s recommended to have seven to 10 ounces of fluid for every 10 or 20 minutes of exercise while you’re at it.
2. Warm Up
We won’t get into too many specifics here, because your warm up depends largely on what kind of workout you’re getting ready for. Stretching is the easy approach, but most people don’t stretch nearly as thoroughly as they should. Dynamic warmups are also getting more popular, and they can certainly prime the body for exercise as well. Whatever the case may be though, don’t go from no activity straight into your workout. You’ll be better prepared with a warm up.
3. Learn To Breathe
Breathing is underrated. That sounds like a strange statement to make, but for background we actually turned to a blog post directed at gamers, for whom breathing is an important exercise for focus. That post discussed learning to breathe like a pro as a means of clearing the mind and focusing on the task at hand, and naturally the same concept can apply to exercise. As for what it means to breathe like a pro, there are several deep breathing exercises you can use. Ultimately, they’ll not only focus your mind and work out your lungs, but prepare you for the same deep and intentional breathing you should be doing during your actual workout.
4. Cultivate A Playlist
The idea of workout playlists has become extremely popular, and yet a lot of people more or less miss the point. This isn’t about a list of songs you simply enjoy, nor songs that help you “get in the zone,” or even “zone out.” Those are subjective reasons, and while they might make working out more appealing from moment to moment, they don’t do you a whole lot of good once you’re actually exercising. Studies have actually shown that the best exercise music should be between 120 and 140 bpm (beats per minute), because there’s actually a scientific side to the concept of a workout playlist. Now, you should still aim for music you enjoy. But in an overarching way, keep in mind that the music is for focus first and entertainment second.
5. Prioritise Sleep
There’s no getting around the benefits of sleep during an exercise routine. In a very fundamental way, exercise is about breaking down the body to build it back up stronger, and the body needs recovery time to make this process work. That time comes largely while we sleep, which is why you should include adjustments to your sleep schedule in your workout regimen. It’s easier said than done, but ultimately it’s a fairly simple way to get a boost in the effects you’ll see.