Whether you like hitting the gym, exploring your favorite nature trail, or love your time on the yoga mat—we all want to feel that our time spent working out was worthwhile. And while you might have nailed your favorite exercise activity, here are some simple ways to maximize those sweat sessions and put even more power behind your workouts:
Get into a Routine
According to research, because the human body is dependent on biological rhythms, it adapts to your schedule and can learn when it should be most efficient. So whether you like to workout at 6:00 a.m. or 6:00 p.m., if you create a routine and stick to it, you'll reap greater benefits.
Remember to Rest Up
Rest days might seem counter-productive, but when it comes to building muscle and endurance, it’s the time you spend outside of the gym (or off the nature trail!) where the magic really happens. When you give your body a chance to recover and rest, you ensure that not only are your muscles and joints are rebuilding, they’re gaining extra strength as well. Plus, rest days can help maintain your immune system by balancing the stress hormones that get activated when you exercise.
Build into your workout routine multi-joint movements: these are exercises that recruit multiple muscle groups and two or more joints at a time (like squats, lunges, rows, and presses)—as opposed to targeting just one muscle group (like bicep curls). They save time, increase overall muscle (versus isolating just one), and burn more calories.
Give Your Muscles Some Love!
There’s nothing like an injury (old or new) flaring up to put a stop to progress. Prevent being taken out of the game by proactively managing issues before your workouts by taking the time to warm up, stretch your body, and ease into reaching your peak workout level.
Roll, Baby, Roll
Speaking of stretching, foam rollers are one of our all-time favorite ways to awaken and prepare the body for movement. Use one to help relax your muscles, and pamper yourself with a gentle massage for your legs and arms—it’ll increases circulation, reduce cramping, and increase joint flexibility.
Get Quality, Peaceful Sleep
Underrated and underutilized, getting enough quality, deep sleep is what your body needs to release growth hormones that promote lean muscle mass and repair cells and tissues. Help yourself wind down, switch off, and ease into a restorative night of slumber.
Get a Head Start on H2O
We all know it’s important to drink water, but did you know it takes a couple of hours for your body to absorb that water? In other words, make it a habit to drink water regularly throughout the day and in the leadup to working out—instead of guzzling down your water bottle right before training!
Whether you workout for the head-space, strength building, or to shed a few pounds, consider incorporating one or more of these simple strategies and start to see your goals materialize faster than before—let’s make your time spent exercising worthwhile, not wasted!