Whether your goal is to gain muscle, lose fat, or become a better athlete, your workout is only as effective as you make it. Unfortunately, it’s easy to go through the motions of most workout routines, without actually reaping the benefits. Lucky for you, today you’ll learn exactly how to make the best of each and every workout, leading you to effective and lasting results!
Benefits of Working Out
It’s no secret that regular activity and exercise is beneficial to our health. Arguably, the most obvious health benefits are weight loss and improved physical aesthetics. However, there many more reasons to pursue a regular workout routine. And in my opinion, they are much more valuable markers of progress.
A combination of strength and cardiovascular training lead to the most universal health improvements. These physical and mental health benefits include:
- Improved heart health (lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels)
- Increased performance
- Increase strength
- Fat loss
- Increased muscle mass
- Better mood and mental health
So, how can you achieve the health and fitness gains that lead to these health benefits?
How to Maximize Your Workouts
No matter your fitness goal, maximizing your workout is the best way to achieve lasting results. Here’s how you can make the best of every workout:
Define Your “Why”– Why are you pursuing this journey of better health and fitness? This answer is your “why.” Knowing your why is what will get you through those tough times and fitness slumps.
Don’t Skip Your Warm Up– Appropriately warming up your body will make sure your muscles and lungs are primed for the workout. Warm ups increase the flow of oxygen throughout your body and flexibility within the muscles. Naturally, this helps reduce the risk of injury. My favorite warm ups include dynamic stretching routines or incline walking on the treadmill.
Compound Lifts First– Compound lifts are one of the best ways to achieve an efficient workout. First, what are compound lifts? They require the body to engage and utilize more than one muscle group at a time. As a result, they demand the most energy to perform. Examples of compound lifts include squats, deadlifts, and bench press. Bonus tip: perform compound lifts first, before accessory work for individual muscles.
Focus on Mind– Yes, that’s right. Your mind is just as necessary during a workout as your physical body. The mind-muscle connection is powerful and has the power to make or break your workout. During your workout, focus on each movement and muscle group being worked.
Remember Form– Accurate form is key to reaping the benefits of each exercise. It’s important to work the appropriate muscles at the right time- even once your muscles begin to feel fatigued. This means your workout is effective!
Recovery Is Key– Adequate rest is equally important as effective workouts. Schedule rest days just as you schedule your workout days. For this reason, rest days, post-workout meals (specifically, protein and carbs), stretching and foam rolling, hydration, and sleep all play a large role in muscle recovery.
At this point, it goes without saying: but, going through the motions of a workout won’t necessarily give you the benefits and results you’re looking for. It’s important to be intentional and specific to maximize every workout, leading you to the aesthetic and health your looking for!