Get the Most Out of Your Workout

Looking the part is half the battle.

Do you ever wonder if you’re doing everything you should be doing (and the right way) when it comes to your workout routine? Are you in a rut with your gym rituals? Is 15 minutes on the treadmill really going to help you slim down? Keep reading for five quick tips on how to ensure you’re not wasting your time (or unnecessary energy) while working out.

Eat
While you don’t want to approach the gym with a belly full of a steak dinner, you do need to have something to eat before you go to give you enough energy to burn. Consuming complex carbs will help with your workout by boosting your stamina (so you don’t hit a wall at the 10 minute mark). Eat fruits and veggies, whole grain bread, pasta or cereal. Eat just enough to feel satisfied, not full.

Hydrate
Hydrating yourself throughout the day is super important! Stay away from sugary drinks like sodas and juice – water is always the best option. The recommended daily amount for water consumption is 8 glasses (64 ounces) so try to get this in, especially on days you plan to work out. Also, the more you sweat out, the more you need to rehydrate, so that recommended 64 ounces actually should go up to counterbalance all the fluids you are losing. If you want to really rehydrate your body, try a water with electrolytes in it like SmartWater.

Cardio
If you think doing 1,000 sit-ups is going to result in a six-pack – think again. Your body needs to burn fat before it can tone up. A workout consisting of both cardio and resistance training is the key to a tighter, more toned bod. Your body first needs to eliminate unnecessary fat before your muscles can become toned. Cardio such as jogging, running + walking, using the elliptical or a stationary bike followed by muscle-toning activities is best.

Stretch
It’s crucial to stretch before and after each workout. It’s extremely important to do this post-workout to avoid any damage, straining, or cramping in your muscles later (no one enjoys a charlie horse…that’s such a weird term). Spend at least 5 minutes stretching your entire body – even if you only plan to work out your upper body, it’s best to stretch everything.

Eat
The best time to eat after your workout is within 45 minutes of when you stop. According to Fitness Magazine, you should reach for foods high in protein because they help to repair and strengthen those muscles you just did a number on. Their picks: protein shake with banana, peanut butter and banana on rice cakes, hummus and pita, yogurt and fresh berries, tuna on whole wheat, and turkey and cheese with apple slices.

Bonus tip: Wear comfortable clothes, shoes and a substantial sports bra that you won’t have to worry about throughout your workout. If you’re constantly tugging at or thinking about your outfit, you (and your body) won’t get as much out of your experience. Plus, it is key to have the correct shoes for your workout (they make different kinds for running, biking, cross-training) because they cushion and help your body get the most out of each workout. Working out with the wrong shoes, or old ones can cause knee, joint, and other problems to occur, so double-check your shoes to make sure you aren’t risking an injury the next time you hit the gym.

How do you make the most out of your workout?

♥AUTHOR: ANNA HARMS

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