4 Simple Tips to Make Your Workouts More Effective
Have you been putting in a lot of work at the gym but not seeing the kind of workout results you’ve been expecting or hoping for? Frustrating, isn’t it?! Fortunately, today we are here to share 4 simple workout tips to help you enjoy more efficient fitness. Give these a try to start enjoying the results you deserve…
Our Top 4 Workout Tips
It should come as no surprise that if you want an effective workout, you’re going to have to provide your body with the fuel it needs to replenish energy, recover properly, and repair the “damage” inflicted by intense workouts. After all, you wouldn’t start a cross-country journey without fueling up the tank, ensuring the tires are all aired up, and that you have plenty of water and healthy snacks to keep you going, right? Why would you do anything less for your workouts?
When it comes to fueling grueling workouts, there are actually two key periods to consider: before the workout and after the workout.
Old-school carb timing rules recommend consuming a starchy carb one and a half to two hours prior to your workout. Suggested starchy carbs might include something like oatmeal, a sweet potato, or brown rice. Next, ensure you combine your carb choice with a portion of protein as well. This tried and true rule of thumb still applies today, especially if you’re trying to build muscle. With one caveat: don’t eat too close to the time you plan on working out as your body will be busy digesting, making your workout less effective.
Next, we have the period after your workout: it’s called an “anabolic window” and is the 30 – 45 minutes directly after you finish your workout. This specific “window” is when you should fill up on what your body needs most—protein washed down with some simple carbs.
Why simple carbs? Aren’t these “bad”? Well, they have definitely gotten a bad reputation, but when used strategically, right after a muscle-building workout, a simple carb, combined with a source of protein, can help replenish your system and help your body absorb the protein you’re taking in. As for the protein, this is a great time to use a quick-digesting source like a protein shake.
It isn’t. The simplest way to think of carb intake for muscle building and fat loss is to surround your workout with carbohydrates. The rest of the time, you eat mostly proteins, fibrous veggies, and healthy fats. Ideally, you’d have a starchy carb at least an hour prior to your workout and then protein and a simple carb immediately after.
Undoubtedly, and always a good workout tip, is to see what works best for you and your body. Do you seem to have more energy and look better when you eat right after your workout? Is it easier to power through your workout when you have energy from a starchy carb meal? Listen to your body and make adjustments from there.
Do supplements really work? Are they something you should invest in? The answer is yes—if you’re serious about making progress with your workouts.
But let me make this clear: supplements only work if you do.
If you are putting in the hard effort at the gym and you’re consistent with your training and nutrition plan, then yes, absolutely, use supplements. While they are certainly not magic pills, they may help give you an edge when it comes to recovery, energy, muscle growth, and fat loss.
Which supplements should you try? What you choose will depend on your goals, but here are a couple of the top picks:
- BCAA—branched chain amino acids are the building blocks of muscle. They help your body repair and recover from tough workouts without providing bulk or calories.
- Pre-Workout—this can come in a drink or a pill form, but is often a drink containing caffeine, most likely BCAAs, and often creatine to support strength and muscle growth.
- Post-Workout Drink—usually a drink with a simple carb, BCAAs, and protein. It’s important to get nutrients into your muscles as soon as possible after your workout. Some of these products also include other useful aids like glutamine and electrolytes, which may both support additional recovery effects.
- Fat Burners—these may help give you the slight edge you need. They may help increase metabolism, mobilize fat stores for energy use, and more.
Track Your Progress
It may seem like one extra step and somewhat of a hassle, but tracking your workouts each and every time can help you make leaps and bounds in your workout results. That is why it is one of our most important workout tips.
If you don’t write down the weights you’re lifting, how will you know how much more to lift during your next workout?
Keeping track also lets you look back and see how far you’ve come, how much stronger you’ve become, and allows you to plan your workouts in writing before hitting the gym, so you’re not aimlessly roaming through the gym, randomly lifting stuff with no purpose. A good plan will help you focus and give you a beginning and an end point to your workouts. Tracking your plan will record your accomplishments so you can look back later and see how far you’ve come.
Mix It Up
Last, but not least, it’s important that you don’t let your workouts get stale. That means you need to mix things up. Stick to your workout plan for 4 – 6 weeks and then take a couple days off. Come back strong with a totally new plan.
Need a few workout tips on how to mix things up?
- More or less repetitions—doing the same old, same old will give you the same old results, or more likely, no results. Changing the number of repetitions per set is an easy way to keep your muscles guessing.
- Less rest in-between sets—this will keep your metabolism in high gear. Try trimming down the amount of time you rest between sets, or even do some form of cardio in-between sets such as jumping jacks or running in place for added fat burning.
- More weight—it probably goes without saying, but if you want to change your body and make forward progress, you will have to continuously increase how much weight you lift.
- Change your pace—you may be used to doing the same pace for each repetition. To confuse your muscles, and help them grow as you lose fat, try doing the repetitions more slowly. This will allow you to really focus on the muscle and make a mind-body connection, which will also serve to increase the effectiveness of your gym time.
With these few simple workout tips, you are sure to notice a marked difference in the progress you make at the gym. And, if you track your progress along the way, you’ll have definitive proof that your time exercising and working toward your fitness goals is well spent.