Whether you have an issue getting to the gym or staying there for as long as you initially planned, you might not be aware of some of the underlying reasons you are not staying motivated or getting as much as you want out of your workouts. Whatever your fitness goals are, it is important to recognize how your habits affect your behavior when you exert yourself working out. Here are some of the ways you can optimize your progress with every workout.
Enjoying what you’re doing
Psychology suggests that depriving yourself of what you enjoy doing or forcing yourself to do unpleasant tasks will result in short-term behavior change and possibly resentment. Therefore, one must actually enjoy doing something if they are intending on forming a habit. Since working out makes you happier and healthier, why not mix it with something you love doing? If you love sleeping, like the majority of us, get plenty of shut eye! According to the 2015 Sports Medicine Review, data shows that getting a proper 7-8 hours of sleep will fuel your energy to workout. Additionally, working out will help you sleep better. It’s a win-win situation! Improving your quality of sleep will improve your body’s recovery to weight lifting or cardio. With all of this considered, be sure to finish your workout three hours before going to sleep. Like using technology prior to getting shut-eye, it stimulates your brain and may hinder your ability to relax.
Mixing up the scenery
While I enjoy making eye contact with gym-goers as much as the next person, sometimes you might have to mix up the view. With plenty outdoor options available in Harrisonburg, there are plenty of ways to get your fitness fix and avoid boredom. Make your exercise an excuse to check out a new park or try a new sport. Downtown Harrisonburg is home to many unique and innovative fitness classes. For instance, Shendandoah Yoga and The Nest are good places to build flexibility, relax and optimize health. Like previously stating in our fitness posts, head to the arboretum for an on-campus nature walk or drive to Reddish Knob. If you enjoy long trips, head to Skyline Drive or even Roanoke, VA. Exercising is a great way to get out and explore cities around Harrisonburg.
Finding a gym buddy
While working out has shown to be an effective means of relieving stress, it is also a great time to hangout with friends and make new ones. Bringing friends to the gym not only motivates you during the workout, it can be an incentive to leave at the same time and stay for a longer period. Sometimes going to the gym with a friend ends up being a nonstop conversation with little or no physical workout. If this is the case, stay accountable to working out with a friend but go your separate ways after stretching. Good thing stretching is not as boring with a gym buddy!
Listening to music
Listening to music can be the determining factor in how long you workout. I have the hardest time working out without music blasting. Therefore, making a workout playlist is the only way I will actually want to exercise. Luckily, Fitness Magazine published a list of the top 100 workout songs to download before your next workout session. You can use the songs are intervals during your workout to avoid staring at the clock. Pick your favorite songs to guide you through your workout and get yourself to like it again.
Eating the proper pre and post workout snacks
“Carbs are your body’s primary fuel for any high-intensity workout, and when your body is fueled, your body is going to put forth a better effort and get a better value, both in terms of caloric expenditure and muscle growth, than it would if you were in fasted state,” says Jason Wilson, editor of Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Making it a habit will make you feel better during your workout and more satisfied once you are done.
Be sure to get your fix of carbohydrates and protein before you work out to provide yourself with the energy for an effective workout. Simply grabbing a banana and peanut butter can give you the necessary energy to have a longer, more worthwhile hour at the gym. These carbohydrates give you immediate energy and should be consumed about an hour before an intense workout.
Then after you sweat it out, replenish your body with protein. Eating immediately after your workout is necessary because your body is recovering. Fuel yourself with a high-protein snack like an omelet, protein shake or greek yogurt.
These both are necessary to give your body energy to power through workouts and to heal after your hard work. Be sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated!
Keeping it interesting
Sticking to one form of cardio or lifting regime might seem like a great way to squeeze in “you time” during your busy schedule, but studies suggest otherwise. Switching up your workouts has proven to work more muscles and keep athletes motivated for longer. Some fun new workouts to look up are:
- kettle ball workouts
- body weight exercise
If that is intimidating, start small and work your way up. For instance, set goals with push-ups, sit-ups, squats and planks. Try to increase the amount you do a day or increase how many minutes you perform each exercise. While weight machines are an excellent way to build muscle, free weights are great for shaping lean muscle once you have proper form. Even mix it up within your time at the gym. If you have an hour at the gym, do your twenty minutes of running at different speeds and allow yourself forty minutes to learn how to use the equipment.
When all else fails, investing in new workout gear can help you feel confident while working out. Once you find what workouts work best for your busy life, choose the workout gear that makes the most sense. Work hard, not fast. Be patient with your efforts and the results will come.
Peace, love and DDP