Last year Australians spent more than $80 million on gym memberships, with nearly three quarters of these individuals signing up in preparation for summer.
If you’re one of the many people working out for the warmer months, it’s important to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout. The amount, timing, and content of what you eat before and after exercising plays a huge factor in the effectiveness of your training, and predicts both your energy levels during the session, and how quickly your body is able to recover afterwards.
According to Sheila Zhou, scientist with USANA, the leading producer of high quality supplements, many people don’t realise that what they do before and after their workout is as important as their training regimen.
“To achieve a flawless workout, you don’t need to make huge changes. For example, just by consuming sparkling mineral water before a training session you are helping your body maintain fluid balance, and perform at its best,” says Sheila.
Here are five training tips from Sheila that will help you get the most out of your workout.
1. Turn up the tunes
If the Rocky movies taught us anything about exercise it’s that music is a great motivator. ‘Eye of the Tiger’ might not be your personal cup of tea, but working out to music can actually improve your performance and endurance by up to 15%. Listening to our favorite tunes effectively disassociates our brain from the physical activity we are participating in. Rather than focusing on how much farther we have to run or how steep the upcoming hill is, our mind is focused on the music we are listening to.
2. Become an early bird
They say that the early bird gets the worm and, in this case the worm is an amazing summer body. Exercising early in the morning kick starts your metabolism and gets you energised for the day ahead.
3. Don’t fight the chocolate cravings
Chocoholics rejoice. You can now justify your dark chocolate cravings in the name of improving your workouts! If this seems too good to be true, it isn’t. Flavonol epicatechin, a key ingredient in dark chocolate, sends a signal to your arteries telling them to relax, thus improving circulation.
4. Change the way you stretch
The importance of stretching has been drilled into our brains since we began taking PE classes at school. Pre-workout stretching helps loosen up the muscle and prevent injury. In fact, the most effective way that stretching can help your workout, is to maintain a regular regimen throughout the week, even if this doesn’t coincide with your exercise schedule.
5. Massage the pain away
Don’t forget that exercise is way more of a mental game than you might think. Massages can help muscle soreness and injuries but they can also have great psychological and emotional benefits. A massage is good for winding your mind down and putting you in the right head space to start again tomorrow. If you can’t justify splurging on constant massages, using a foam roller to roll out any kinks does the trick as well!