Nobody enjoys spending more hours than they have to at the gym. Whether it’s to develop strength, increase your mass or tone your physique, etc. You don’t need to slave away for hours on end to do so. Here are 10 tips for optimizing the quality of your workout (in as shortest time as possible – without sacrificing your effectiveness!)
1. Slow-Digesting Carbs
Eating slow-digesting carbs—such as brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat grains—in the morning helped burn fat later on in the afternoon. This is because these types of carbs provide more energy and endurance, compared to fast-digesting carbs (like white bread and plain bagels).
Wandering around aimlessly, whether at home or in the gym, is a waste of time. Prevent this by setting out in detail what it is you want to accomplish. This will decrease the amount of time your heart rate has to drop. A higher heart rate is necessary for increasing your metabolism, which helps burn fat faster.
3. Be Intense
Can you talk and walk at the same time without losing your breath? If you can’t, you may need to skip this step. Build up your endurance. If you can talk and walk normally, you know you’ve plateaued and need to increase your intensity while training. Compound exercises help this (such as squats, my personal favorite) which work out multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
4. Avoid High Fat
High-fat meals, before a workout, decreases blood flow to muscles. This is bad news for you if your goal is to increase mass, as our muscles need blood flow. Avoid high-fat meals at least 4-5 hours before training.
5. Dynamic Stretches
Dynamic stretching is millions of leagues more effective than static stretching. Static stretching is better reserved for the cool-down period of your workout. Dynamics are better because you’re actually moving, your body temperature raises – as well as your heart rate. This primes your body for the “torture” you’re about to do to it.
Caffeine equals energy. Try 200-400mg of a caffeine supplement an hour or two before training. This will not only decrease muscle pain during the workout but increase fat-burning during.
Do you socialize or watch TV while training? Then you’re killing your workouts by mindlessly going through the motions. “Focus on contracting the muscles you’re involving,” states Pete McCall (C.S.C.S) who is an exercise physiologist and ACE-certified personal trainer. “Then you can get a better result out of it.”
No matter what exercise you do, if your form is off, your workout will suffer. It is so important to master the fundamentals of form to maximize the results you’re after. If you’re in the Phoenix, Arizona area, personal trainers at a Phoenix gym will help you with form.
9. Don’t Go To Failure Often
If you work to failure on every set, you’re killing the number of reps you can perform on consecutive sets. Plus, training to failure increases the amount of time you spend recovering. This takes away from how often you’re able to train.
10. Protein (Post)
During training, muscle fibers tear and weaken. They need protein to rebuild and improve. Consider adding whey, or soy protein shakes to your post-workout meal, as well as a batch of eggs (which contain 6g of protein per egg).
Before you decide to put yourself to the test, speak with your physician. Your doctor knows your body better than you do, and as a health professional will be able to give you more advice.