Options to Optimize Your Workouts

By Janine Neill

You may think that the key to a successful workout begins with your warm-up routine – a few minutes on the treadmill or some stretching, perhaps. Think again. There are things you can do long before you step foot in a gym to help get the most out of your workouts. According to the American Sport and Fitness Association, there are five key things you can do to optimize your workouts.

Catch enough ZZZ’s

Getting enough sleep should be prioritized for both your physical and mental wellbeing. Quality sleep aids in recovery and repair to make your body stronger. Gains made in your fitness do not necessarily happen while you are training – but in the time that you allow your body to rest and recover. Find what works best for you in terms of the amount of sleep that you need to feel well-rested and at your best. Create a wind-down routine at the end of the night that helps you relax and encourages a restful sleep. Read more about habits for a good night’s sleep in this Vitality blog.

Fuel Your Fitness

Choose nutritious foods to give you energy to power through your workout session. Complex carbohydrates are a great energy source, while protein helps build your muscles. As a rule of thumb, try to limit processed foods and refined sugars. What you eat after your workout is just as important as what you eat beforehand.  In your post-workout meals, include a balance of proteins, carbohydrates and healthy fats to replenish the energy stores that you may have depleted in your training session.

Healthy Hydration

Drinking enough water throughout the day helps to regulate your body temperature, aids in digestion, flushes out toxins and supports your overall health. Drink enough water to maintain a level of hydration that will not hinder your performance. Sip on water before, during and after your workout so that you do not get to the point of excessive thirst. In the process of sweating, your body is able to cool itself, but you will need to replenish the fluids and electrolytes lost. To avoid dehydration, especially in warmer temperatures, remember to rehydrate by drinking enough water throughout the rest of the day. Catch up on more hydration tips in this Vitality blog.

Stay Focused

There are a few other things to take into consideration to make your workouts successful and enjoyable. Take some time to reflect and determine what goals you are aiming to achieve. Are you looking to build strength? Run a 5K or half marathon? Increase your flexibility? Recovery from an injury? Once you know what you’re working toward, create a plan to keep you focused and motivated to stay on track toward reaching your overall goals. Did you know you can track your goals on the Vitality app and earn points for holding yourself accountable? You can also sync your fitness device to earn credit for your workouts.

Keep a training log so that you can see your progress over time. Keep your routine fresh by changing up the exercises that you do or the types of classes that you take. Avoid just showing up and going through the motions.

Have a Little Fun

Finally, remember to make it fun! The workout routine that you are most likely to stick with is the one that you enjoy and look forward to doing. Surround yourself with training partners that encourage you. Play motivating music to keep you going when you start to feel tired. Celebrate your successes along the way as you build your routine to better health.

The success of your next workout depends on how well you prepare and recover. Take the time to get enough sleep, stay hydrated and fuel your body well. Pack your workout clothes and gym bag and bring along a positive mindset. Know that your efforts will reward you with ongoing health and longevity.

Janine is an Implementation Manager with Vitality. She holds a B.S. in Exercise Science/Sport Management from Rutgers University, as well as many certifications within the fitness and nutrition industry. She loves being a spectator/photographer at her daughters’ athletic events, writing on sticky notes, over-consuming nut butters, shiny lip gloss, taking hot yoga classes and competing in triathlons. For relaxation, she enjoys baking, taking naps in hammocks, and listening to podcasts.

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