5 Practices To Help You Get the Most Out of Every Workout

Fitness

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Whether you’re new to the fitness world or not, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to your workouts. Finding the motivation and time to get moving isn’t always easy, so if you’re putting in the work, you want to ensure you’re getting the most out of every squat, burpee, or Downward Dog. It’s not just about going harder or longer. Practices that can be done before you hit the gym, in the midst of your reps, and while you’re recovering will go a long way in leveling up your wellness journey. Ahead, we outline a holistic approach to your fitness goals — along with some advice from fitness enthusiast Olivia Culpo — that will help you feel your best from the inside out. After all, true health requires a consciousness that connects your mind, body, and yes, even your soul.

1. Properly Warming Up

Jumping right into your workout is tempting when you’re running short on time, but incorporating a warm-up into your routine — even if it’s just for five minutes — is well worth it. Warming up can help improve the efficiency of your movement by increasing your blood flow, which enables more oxygen to reach your muscles. It’s the perfect way to prime your body for exercise as it also steadily raises your heart rate, which in turn helps minimize stress on your heart. Easing into your workout helps prevent injury, too, as slow, repetitive movements help loosen your joints and prep your muscles for more strenuous activity.

Dynamic warm-ups — a set of controlled, quick movements or drills — can be the most effective way to get the body moving. The goal is to take your joints through their full range of motion. Think: forward lunges, slow skips, or side-to-side shuffles. Try starting with your lower body and end with moves you’ll do in your workout. This is also the perfect time to ground yourself mentally and put yourself in a positive headspace for crushing your sweat session.

2. Fueling Your Body

If you want your body to perform at its best, nutrition is key. Protein and carbohydrates help ensure you have enough energy to make it through your workout while helping you build and repair muscle in the process. It can take time to settle on what works best for your body, but generally, eating one to four hours before starting to exercise is ideal.

But as important as it is to fuel up before physical activity, fueling up post-workout is just as vital. To replenish the nutrients you just lost, focus on getting carbs and protein back into your body within an hour of completing your workout. Combos like peanut butter and banana, Greek yogurt and berries, apple slices and almond butter, oatmeal with fruit, and whole wheat turkey sandwiches with vegetables are prime examples of both pre- and post-workout snacks.

3. Hydrating Before, During, and After

Don’t underestimate the effects dehydration can have on both your performance during a workout and on your overall health. While water is essential, it’s not always enough. In an hour of strenuous activity, people can lose up to three quarts of fluid — and salt along with it. Replacing those lost electrolytes is imperative for keeping the body’s fluid levels balanced and for helping maintain proper muscle functionality, which is where sports drinks can play an integral role. Not just any sports drink will do, though. It’s best to avoid additives like artificial sweeteners and dyes and instead focus on higher levels of potassium, magnesium, and zinc.

The new BODYARMOR ZERO SUGAR is an excellent option and a go-to sports drink for fitness enthusiasts like Olivia Culpo. Like the name suggests, it contains zero sugar, but it also has zero grams of carbs and no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or dyes. Not only that, but with 620 milligrams of potassium, BODYARMOR ZERO SUGAR contains nearly eight times more potassium than other zero-sugar sports drinks. “It’s important to feed my body only the best ingredients,” Culpo tells us. “Whether I’m working out or trying to increase my hydration, BODYARMOR ZERO SUGAR allows me to perform at my best and get through my day.”

4. Solidifying Your Mind-Body Connection

Staying present and focused during your workout helps keep your form and technique in check, maximizing your performance while lowering your risk of injury. It can be hard to stay in the moment, but mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing or visualization go a long way. When you’re in tune with your body, it’s also easier to notice when something is off — whether that’s during or after a workout. If you’re feeling overly fatigued or experiencing pain, for example, it may be a sign to dial back the intensity or take a rest day. In that same vein, make sure to incorporate recovery days into your routine. This includes getting enough sleep, refueling, and practicing active recovery methods such as stretching or yoga.

5. Setting Clear Goals

It’s never too late to define what you want out of your fitness journey. Whether you’re aiming to build muscle, lose weight, increase endurance, or improve flexibility, having specific goals in mind will help you stay focused and motivated. Establishing your objectives also makes it easier to create a plan of action. To increase your endurance, for example, you’ll want to focus on a higher number of reps vs. a heavier weight. To increase muscle mass, however, a heavier weight and a lower number of reps is ideal.

Above all, consistency is key to reaching your goals, and when you have an effective training program in place that you enjoy, you’re bound to get the most out of every workout. Even better, you’ll start seeing and feeling your desired results. Just don’t forget to include a variety of exercises, equipment, and workout modalities in your routine to keep things interesting, avoid boredom, and prevent overuse injuries. To keep yourself motivated and inspired along the way, try setting rewards for reaching milestones, working out with a friend or group, or channeling your competitive side by tracking your progress.

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