You’ve got an exercise routine planned out for the week with the membership and class schedule all in order. Yet, you might feel like something’s missing or you could be doing more. There are a few small changes you can try to really squeeze the most out your workouts. Sometimes, it’s as simple as drinking more water!
Factor in rest days. You might think that working out more is going to yield more results. But if you strategically schedule your rest days, your body will be able to mend and recover from all the hard work you’ve been doing. Working out at 100 percent is way more effective than walking into the gym at 75-percent recovery.
When you exercise, you actually damage your muscles – in a good way. That damage needs time to be repaired. So, even if you’re staggering muscle groups, you’re giving them time to heal.
Track your hydration. Staying hydrated will make your workout easier. The body is made up of more than 75 percent water, and all of the cell and organ functions as well as muscle performance is based off of water. Click here to learn the 5 major roles water plays in your body.
Water lubricates the joints, helps dissolve and carry nutrients to cells and regulates body temperature. Drinking water throughout the day before a workout will also help you stay energized. If you work out in the morning, drink plenty of fluids with your dinner and try some salty snacks before bed to activate retention.
Enjoy your workouts. Exercise has been clinically shown to produce “feel-good” hormones like endorphins along with a stress-relieving effect. Imagine if you enjoyed every workout how exponentially higher those effects would be.
In addition to the chemical results, the longevity of your routine would benefit, too. If you like something, you’re more likely to stay with it. You should feel comfortable wherever it is you’re working out so you can get into the workout and max out the benefits.
>> Read more: 5 Workouts for Women Who Hate Working Out
Add weights. It’s not all about cardio. Most exercises can still be performed with a couple of dumbbells. Add them to lunges, squats, pushups, side planks, crunches and more. Get familiar with the barbell, too.
When you add weights, you recruit muscle fibers. You eventually build muscle mass, which takes a lot of energy (calories) to maintain. By increasing your muscle mass, you also increase your metabolism and overall results. Not convinced? Click here for four more reasons to add weights to your workout.
Ask for advanced options in class. If you’re taking a group fitness class, but don’t feel like you’re getting quite enough from it, ask for advanced options. Most movements have both modifications and advancements. Just talk with your instructor beforehand and see what exercises he or she has planned. Find out where you can increase your effort. If you’re looking to build more arm strength, add a pushup to your burpee. If you want to work on your core, add a plate to your crunches or planks. Click here for more advanced options to refresh your crunches.