In today’s world, working out is the second most important obligation on your daily schedule. And since our schedules are mostly rather hectic, our time has become so valuable that we cannot afford to waste one second on an ineffective workout session. But with all the reps, energy levels, pre and post workout diets, and sets of exercises to keep in mind, it is really hard to devise a good workout plan. We are here to show you that there are things you can do before and after your visit to the gym to supercharge your workouts and improve your efficiency and strength. With these 5 simple tips you will never have to endure a bad workout again.
Most of us think that our workout starts when we step into the gym, or perhaps when we pack our gym bag. Wrong! In order to get the best results, you must start your workout preparations as soon as you wake up in the morning, and continue with them throughout the day. They include anything from resting at the right time to eating properly. In addition to your regular diet, try eating slow-digesting carbs before workouts. A research conducted at Loughborough University (UK) showed that athletes who eat slow-digesting carbs before workouts had lower insulin levels, could endure more and consequently burned more fat during exercise than athletes who ate fast-digesting carbs. Include oatmeal, sweet potato, buckwheat, fruits, and whole-wheat bread into your breakfast and lunch, and avoid white bread.
Your nutrition is the concertmaster, but your supplements are the second fiddle. Taking the right supps before your training, will get you over the top. Researchers from University of California have discovered that epicathechin, a flavonol found in cocoa, boosts your nitric oxide levels. NO boosters are used as pre-workout supplements because they increase circulation. Adding just 2 teaspoons of cocoa extract to your pre-workout protein shake will keep the NO levels higher for a longer time.
Now that you have properly prepared for the workout, continue in the same style. Do not just measure the time you spend at the gym, but make sure that it is spent in the most effective way. Maximize the intensity of your sets by varying your rep speed. Recent studies have shown that exercisers who performed faster repetitions gained more strength that those whose reps were slower. However, the slow-rep exercises gained more muscle mass than the fast-rep ones. This leads us to a conclusion that a good mix of both of these styles is the best way to improve strength and muscle size. Try changing rep speed every 2-3 weeks.
Bodybuilders who use wrist straps for their pulling exercises usually complete more reps per set (1-2 more to be precise) than when they are exercising without the straps. If you have not been using these props so far, try them out at least once a week and compare your results with and without the straps. For weightlifting, sportswear can make a big change and help you improve your results. That is why you should always choose specially designed weightlifting shoes and gym clothes.
Apart from these pre- and post-workout tips, there are some things you can do even if you did not plan to go to the gym that day in order to get in the constant state of readiness. One of them is to keep your dietary cholesterol at a steady level. Make sure you do not drop it too low, since cholesterol is important for maintaining testosterone levels. Adults who eat a cholesterol-rich diet while weight training, gain over 50% more strength and five times more muscle mass as compared to those on a diet lower in cholesterol. Egg yolks are a rich source of cholesterol, so include at least 1-2 in your breakfast. And have at least one meal a day that includes lean red meat, liver, shellfish or duck.
How do you prepare for your workouts?
Amy Mia Goldsmith is a personal trainer and editor at Ripped.me fitness blog. She has a degree in nutrition and her goal is to teach people to live a healthy, happy life. You can contact Amy on her Facebook page.