I’ve come to learn something. What’s missing from most weight loss advice is by far this ONE thing called:
Ah yes. Fitness. The very word makes you want to curl up on the couch with a slice of cheesecake, doesn’t it?
But fitness doesn’t have to be boring, and best of all, there are some steps you can take to ensure you receive the most benefit from your workouts. Read on, friend!
It’s about proper fuel + working out
We’re not just talking about Gatorade, here. (Although, Gatorade may not actually be that great for you cause of the excess sugar content) Back to the whole fuel thing. What you eat pre-workout can significantly affect your energy levels.
According to Eat This, Not That!, “Fatty foods like nuts and avocados take a long time to digest, so if you work out soon after eating them, you’re making your body compete with itself for blood supply. This can result in diminished exercise performance and workout-ending muscle cramps. Another pre-workout dietary no-no is not eating enough carbs. Taking in too little of the nutrient makes it near impossible to make it through a long, intense, calorie-blasting workout.”
Bad news. So, what should you be eating as a pre-workout snack? Healthline suggests:
- Greek yogurt and fruit
- Nutrition bar with protein and wholesome ingredients
- A piece of fruit, such as a banana, orange or apple”
If you’re anything like me, you get a proverbial bee in your bonnet, decide to work out again, push too hard, and completely burn yourself out. It’s an easy trap to fall into because you feel like you’re doing something healthy for your body.
The problem lies in the fact that you’re not likely to stick to a workout routine if it’s too challenging for you, not to mention the fact that you can do some serious damage to yourself if you aren’t careful.
According to Self, “‘Too often when you are trying to lose weight, clients will go 0-60 miles per hour, taking on too much too soon,’ explains fitness expert Astrid Swan. A good starting point is four workouts per week. ‘You do not get overwhelmed, you do not burn out, and you can move things around to accomplish the goal,’ Swan explains. ‘And when you’re not in the gym, make sure you’re doing things you enjoy, ‘she adds. ‘It is not about spending hours in the gym, it is about training smart and efficiently. Make sure the four days that you commit to your workout, you commit to yourself and you really put in the work.’”
Workout + rest
This kinda goes along with the whole “be sensible and pace yourself” thing, but I felt that rest deserves its own subheading. (Seriously. Do you realize how much time we spend sleeping?)
The same article from Eat This, Not That! says, “Believe it or not, recovery and rest are just as important as your workout. When you don’t give yourself enough time to relax between sweat sessions, the body starts pumping out cortisol, a stress hormone that boosts fat storage and appetite—a killer combination for anyone looking to lose weight and burn fat. This doesn’t mean you have to take two days off for every day you hit the gym, but you should vary your workouts so you aren’t hitting the same muscles on consecutive days. That means back-to-back full-body strength-training sessions are out; doing upper body one day and lower body the next is fair game, though, as is alternating lighter workouts—like yoga or a spin class—with full-body resistance training. This tactic helps your muscles recover without cutting into your workout schedule. It’s a win-win.”
So remember that whole cheesecake and couch thing we talked about earlier? Have a very, ahem, small piece of cheesecake, and then feel good about relaxing on the couch. You’re doing your body a favor, ya know.
Consistency is KEY
Open Fit says, “This one is easy: The best time of day to work out is the time when you can do so consistently. Are you a family man (or woman) with a stressful job? Get your sweat on in the mornings before other people can start making demands on your time.
Do you often have lunches free? Schedule your workouts for midday. Do you typically leave work needing to blow off some steam? Evening workouts will likely give you the outlet you need.
Bottom line: There is no best time for everyone, but there is a best time for you.”
Actions you can take right now:
- Fuel up properly by eating easily digestible foods before your workout.
- Don’t overdo it, especially if you’re a beginner. It may feel like a step forward, but if it derails your routine, you’re taking two steps backward.
- Rest is good for the body. (And cheesecake is good for the soul! 🙂
- Try to be consistent. Do what works for you and your schedule.
Fitness is clearly an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle. And that whole work smarter, not harder thing? Yeah, that’s a good idea. Follow these tips and you’ll benefit even more from your workouts.