Congratulations on striving to make time for your workouts, but how can you make them more effective? Now that you are making a commitment to your health and weight loss, don’t you want to get the most out of your efforts? There are some ways you can get more from your workouts without putting in any more time or effort. Are you in?
Get ready for your workout by scheduling it into your busy calendar so you can set aside the time. Plan what you will do for your workout and take any necessary steps to make sure you are ready. Do you need to sign up for the class so it’s not full? Do you need to phone a friend to remind her to meet you?
Then, get your clothing, shoes, and any necessary equipment, such as a tennis racket and balls or a reflective cycling vest, ready. Set it out the day before your workout to avoid last-minute scrambling and last-minute excuses. Do you need to download any music to listen to while exercising?
Be sure to hydrate all day before your workout, or down some water first thing if you are exercising early in the morning. Eat a light pre-workout snack an hour or two before your workout, or have a light meal about three hours before.
The warm-up gradually gets you ready for the higher-intensity workout so you can avoid injury and other health risks. Walking and stationary cycling and, if you are doing a swimming workout, slow swimming, can be good warm-ups. Start slowly and by the end of 5 to 10 minutes, you should be going at about the intensity of your workout. Have a bit of water and then you are ready to go!
During your workout, try to focus on the workout and being in the moment. Stop texting and put your phone away if you can – at least, unless you are using it for music, for talking to a workout buddy, or for watching a workout video that you are following.
During your workout, have a water bottle handy and aim to drink about 16 to 32 ounces of water. Most people rarely need sports drinks unless they are doing intense exercise, such as running hard, for over 90 minutes.
When you are finished, take another 5 to 10 minutes to do the opposite of your warm-up. Start out at the intensity you finished your workout at, and gradually slow down until your breathing is slower. Then stretch your major muscle groups to reduce injury risk, and breathe deeply. Praise yourself for the workout and feel proud so you can let that great feeling of accomplishment motivate you the next time.
You are not quite finished yet, but this is the fun part! Recover properly so you’re ready to come back again the next day. Hydrate again with water, and have a well-deserved post-workout snack or meal. Try to eat within an hour after finishing to take advantage of the post-workout window when your muscles are best able to refuel.
Half a whole-grain English muffin with peanut butter.
Cottage cheese and fruit.
String cheese and a slice of whole-wheat bread.
Yogurt and oats.