Staying in shape is no easy business. A lot of people choose to diet to stay healthy, foregoing French fries in favor of broccoli or kale, or replacing white rice with brown. But in addition to always keeping an eye on what you are eating, you also need to develop and maintain a workout schedule.
It can be hard to find the time to get all of the working out done that you want to. Many of us have busy schedules that keep us from spending the time in the gym that we know we should be putting in. Between work and family obligations, getting a full hour can be a real challenge.
Well there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that this article is not going to tell you how to create 25 hours in a 24-hour day. But the good news is that it will tell you how to make the most of the time you have. Below are some exercise guidelines that will teach you how to maximize your workout benefits.
Staying In Shape: How To Maximize Your Workout Benefits
Get the rest you and your muscles need. You might be wondering why the first tip is to exercise less, but the science is clear. Your body needs to rest for your muscles to grow. When you work your muscles, you create tiny tears in them that repair during rest periods. This repair boosts your metabolism and builds your muscles. Working the same muscle groups over and over again though with no time to repair in between is bad for your muscles. So you can still go to the gym every day, but focus on different muscle groups.
Use interval training. Interval training means that you go fast, slow down for a period, then go fast again, then slow, over and over until you finish. You can use interval training in any cardio program, whether running, swimming, biking – you name it. By alternating a short burst of intense energy with longer periods of rest, your body will actually burn more calories and fat. Look to the National Strength and Conditioning Association for specific guidelines that vary depending your intensity level and ability.
Change your workout routines. If you do the same workout every time you hit the gym, you are not getting the most benefits you could be from exercising. Your body will get used to doing the same 3 mile run everyday or biking the same 10 miles uphill and 5 downhill. Whatever your routine is, keep changing it. Alternate machines, inclines, activities, and paces. You will see your results fast.
Are your weights heavy enough? Building your muscles will improve your metabolism, making it so that you burn more calories even when you are sitting around not doing anything. But to build your muscle you need to do more than just lift the same weights over and over again. If you can do more than 10 repetitions with your current weights and not feel fatigued, then they are not heavy enough.
Choose the right snack for after your workout. Everyone enjoys a good snack after working out at the gym. But make sure you are picking the right one. You want to help your body replenish the glycogen it lost while you were exercising because it helps your body repair muscle tissue. The best snacks are mostly protein with a little bit of carbs thrown in. Whole-wheat pita bread with some hummus is a great option. So is yogurt with berries or apples and peanut butter.
Stay hydrated! It is important to your health to stay hydrated during your workout and beyond. The more water you drink, the less your body will retain, so don’t forget your Nalgene!