With exercise, just getting started is often half the battle. But let’s assume that you’re following through with your commitment, and you’re getting to the gym (or engaging in some other form of exercise) at least several times per week. How can you support yourself, to reap the best results from your workouts?
Get enough (quality) sleep. If you’re getting a full eight hours of sleep each night, you will have more energy for your workout. Sleep also serves as your body’s recovery time, so rest might even help to prevent injuries.
Eat correctly. What you eat is important, but when you eat also matters. Try to schedule your workouts about one to two hours after meals. You’ll be right in the middle of an energy boost, assuming your last meal was balanced between proteins, good fats, and complex carbohydrates. After your workout, refuel with a small snack rich in complex carbs and protein.
Breathe. Yoga practitioners understand the importance of the breath; now it’s time for all of us to step it up! If you’re running or working out aerobically, inhale through the nose for two counts and then exhale through the mouth for two counts. When you’re lifting weights or performing toning exercises, inhale during the set-up and exhale during the effort.
Focus on the muscles you’re working. It might seem obvious, but really think about what you’re doing during exercise. Concentrating on the effort will improve your form, lower your risk of injury, and even motivate you to work harder.
Leave distractions at the door. Resist the urge to check Facebook or reply to work emails during your workout. This time is for you, to concentrate on your health and fitness. Getting in the zone will help you push yourself toward a tougher workout and better results.
Warm up and cool down. A warm-up increases blood flow to your muscles and helps to prevent injuries. Likewise, cooling down and stretching afterward soothes your muscles and helps you recover from exercise, both mentally and physically.
Record your progress. A written log or smartphone app will help you view your progress over the weeks, and motivate you to keep going.
Of course, we also recommend that you see us prior to beginning a weight loss or exercise regimen. We can offer screenings to check your health, and help you put together a plan that helps you reach your goals.