With all the different diet plans and workout strategies available today, it’s hard to know for sure that we get the most out of any particular weight loss regimen. Here are a few simple tips to help ensure your next workout is time well spent.
Start Hydrating Long Before You Start Sweating
Did you know the average person can lose as much as 400 mL (13.5 oz) per day of moisture just from breathing, and about 300 mL (6.76 oz) of water from skin surface evaporation? Factor in sweat and increased breathing/evaporation during an intense workout, and you’re looking at a major bodily fluid loss. If you feel dizziness, nausea, or even a headache after your workout, you could be dehydrated. You may also start associating your workouts with feeling unwell, making you less apt to follow through with them in the future. Set your mind and body up for success by sticking to hydration guidelines before, during, and after your workout.
Give Your Body Fuel
It’s hard enough to find time to squeeze a workout into our busy lifestyles. It’s often twice as hard to make sure we have the proper kinds of food available before we get started. However, if your body doesn’t have adequate fuel to power you through your workout, it can slow your metabolism, cause your body to burn muscle instead of fat, and make you more likely to binge-eat from hunger after your workout.
The best options involve very light meals (200-300) calories, including things like yogurt, fruit, nuts, or peanut butter. If you want to kick up your energy levels and post-workout recovery, try a low-fat smoothie about 30 minutes before you start, which provides you with sustained energy and all the compounds your body needs to maximize your workout and return your body to equilibrium faster afterward.
Caffeine helps some people maintain energy levels throughout the day, though added sugar and cream may work against your dietary goals. It’s important to still indulge in moderation.
Experts recommend drinking coffee black since cream and sugar can add as much as 100 calories and almost 10 carbs per cup to your intake. However, with healthy additives, you can keep the joy in your diet while getting the energy you need.
Prepare for Take-Off!
We know; you never have enough time to work out, let alone time to warm up! However, think about how well-spent this time would be if it prevents you from missing work or important events due to an injury. While most experts recommend 10 minutes, even 5 minutes is better than no warm-up at all. You can do some stretching before a workout, although it is best to save your static stretches (where you hold the pose) for afterward when your body is at its most limber.
Dynamic stretching is a quick but controlled range of movement that prepares your muscles without overtaxing them. The real purpose of a warm-up is to get your heart rate up and get your body ready for exertion, much like a plane does at the beginning of a runway right before take-off. There are several different things you can do, such as foam rolling, jumping jacks, or squats. The important thing is to get your blood flowing right away before you begin to push your limits.
Above all, remember to stay hydrated, and keep your mind fixed on your goals whenever you feel like giving up or skipping your workout altogether. Technology is great but hasn’t yet figured out how to give us new bodies when the old ones peter out. So, take good care of yourself, and always do things that set you up for future success!