5 Tips for a Better Workout
Did you ever go to the gym and feel meh? Almost like you wasted the forty minutes or hour you were there? Here are five tips to get the most out of your workout.
#1 – Create a Ritual
In Fight Your Fear and Win by Don Greene, Ph.D, a renowned sports psychologist, professor at the Juilliard School and “stress” coach to top executives, he suggests creating a ritual that prepares you mentally before you even leave home. For me that means putting on my lifting gloves. For you it might mean changing into running shoes, or braiding your hair a certain way. Once you are in your “uniform” your brain will recognize it’s time to focus on your workout.
#2 – Get Help if You Need It
Ever notice a lot of people wandering around the gym aimlessly? I used to be one of those people, because I didn’t know what I was doing. If you are new to the gym, schedule a time to have someone show you the equipment. Most gyms will let you have a free 20 minute session with a personal trainer. If you can afford it, hire a trainer, even for a few sessions with the goal of learning how to properly do basic exercises on the machines. There are also tons of videos and books that demonstrate how to use dumbbells and barbells you can use at home.
#3 – Have a Plan
Keep a fitness journal. Here’s what a sample entry looks like:
- Lateral pull down/ 60 lbs./ 3/ 15
- Seated rows/40 lbs./ 3/ 15
- Biceps curls/ 15 lbs./ 4/ 12
When you know what you’re going to do, you’re more efficient. If there’s a line at the Lateral Pull down machine, you can switch to the next exercise on your list so you’re not wasting time.
#4 – Raise Your Energy Level
Have you ever felt completed exhausted two minutes into an objectively easy workout? That probably means you’re tired or hungry. The best workout starts the night before with a good night’s sleep. Some tips include turning off all blue screens (cell phones, computers, TV) an hour before bedtime, limiting your caffeine in the afternoon and figuring out what time to go to bed that gives you 7-8 hours of sleep before you need to be awake.
If your energy fades midpoint you might need more fuel in your belly. Eat a slow digesting carb before your workout, like oatmeal, fruit, sweet potatoes or whole wheat bread. If you take supplements, this is the time to do it. There are tons of pre-workout powders. A lot of it is trying it out and seeing how your body feels. If you don’t do supplements, a simple cup of coffee an hour before you exercise works wonders. Caffeine helps with endurance and increases fat burning. Also, remember to drink water. Muscles don’t work as well when they are dehydrated.
#5 – Listen to Upbeat Music
According to researchers at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan’s campus, listening to upbeat music will not only improve your performance but will distract you from feeling tired. For the study, 24 adults (12 men, 12 women) ran 20-second sprints on three separate sessions. First they listened to upbeat music, second they ran in silence and third they listened to a podcast with no music. When they listened to upbeat music they enjoyed the exercise more, had higher heart rates and peak performance compared to the other two conditions. Set up your favorite playlist and get pumping!
The gym is your time, so make the most of it.
Here’s my story.
Copyright (c) Lisa Traugott 2023. All rights reserved.