The journey to getting fit doesn’t end when you step off the treadmill. Whether training for a marathon or simply hitting the gym in preparation for beach season, the decisions you make from the moment you wake up until your head hits the pillow affect your health and ultimately your performance.
You can maximize your time at the gym with five simple tips by avid cyclist Dr. John Heiss, director of sports and fitness for Herbalife.
Rise, shine and dine: Eating breakfast is important because it kick-starts your metabolism and provides energy for you to use throughout your day. Training takes a toll on the body, and starting the day with a balanced, healthy meal that includes carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals provides a solid nutritional foundation for performance. In a hurry? Try a meal replacement shake equipped with the right balance of nutrients your body needs. Plus, eating a healthy meal in the morning means you’re less likely to over-eat later in the day.
Keep your body guessing: We all have experienced a point in our exercise program in which we stop seeing results and start getting bored. Steer clear of the dreaded workout rut by continually reinvigorating your exercise routine. Instead of heavy aerobic exercise or weight lifting, spend the week walking, swimming or biking. Join an intramural team or try new exercise classes like Pilates or Zumba. The key here is variety, ensuring you’re constantly targeting different muscles, moving in various ways, all while helping maintain workout motivation.
Bottoms up: Whether you are exercising in the gym or working in an office, it’s important to stay hydrated. Because hydration directly impacts athletic performance, it’s important for athletes to keep fluid levels topped off.
Pump up the jams: Research has shown that listening to music during exercise can increase motivation, endurance and fight feelings of fatigue – all helping improve results. Before hitting the trails or the gym, create a playlist of your favourite songs to help push you that extra mile.
Hit the snooze button: One frequently overlooked but crucial aspect of any workout program is sleep. While you sleep, your body is hard at work rebuilding muscle, getting faster and fitter. Sleep speeds recovery, which means you can train harder for longer durations without overextending yourself. Avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking too much water before bed, and try to develop a sleep routine consisting of eight to nine hours of uninterrupted, deep slumber.