Working out isn’t supposed to be a chore or a punishment. Instead, regular exercise should be part of your self-love toolkit.
For most of us, the first side-effect of doing consistent workouts is feeling great.
Moving our bodies and working up a sweat does wonders for our overall health and wellbeing - and for many people, this is enough.
On the other hand, there are those of us who want more!
We workout because we want to excel in our sport, transform our bodies, make all kinds of mental gains, and make the absolute most of our life in this skin suit!
If you’re one of these people, you may be interested to know that there are many tricks and hacks for turning your fitness dreams into achievable fitness goals.
Here are 10 ways to get more from your workouts!
1. Set your goals and make a plan
First of all, you need to be very clear about what you’re trying to achieve. If your goals are vague or insincere, you’ll struggle to come up with a plan, and you’ll quickly lose motivation.
Be specific and stick to a timeframe - this will help you come up with the right workout plan. Enlisting the help of an exercise professional, such as a personal trainer, will ensure you’re on the right path. We get so much more out of our workouts when we turn up each day knowing what we’ll be doing AND why we’re doing it.
2. Find your mind-muscle connection.
Although it can be easy to zone out during a workout, there are big benefits to be gained by simply making a mental connection with your movement.
All you have to do is think of your muscles contracting and lengthening as they move your body through an exercise.
It sounds too simple to be true - but muscle movement begins in the mind, which plays a major role in regulating strength.
In fact, it’s possible to strengthen the neural connections for any activity, from playing the guitar to a 100m sprint, just by deliberately and vividly imagining the activity.
3. Fasted cardio to bust through a plateau
If you’re trying to lower your body fat percentage while maintaining your muscle mass, then cardio needs to be used wisely.
Too much can lead to the wrong kind of weight loss and have a negative impact on your body recomposition goals.
However, if you’ve found yourself in a plateau, fasted cardio can be an effective tool for reigniting fat loss.
Start with 20-30 mins of LISS (Low-Intensity Steady State) cardio first thing in the morning, a couple of times a week.
4. Focus on form, then go heavy!
Lifting heavy is the best way to bring about a metabolic shift in your body, but if your form isn’t great, lifting heavy weights can be dangerous.
Before loading up the bar and going for PB’s, work on mastering your form with slightly lighter weights.
Working one-on-one with a personal trainer is the best way to make sure your form is spot on, and that you’re pushing yourself the right amount for the best results.
5. Take vitamin C
Exercise can be great for stress relief, but we must be mindful that it is another form of stress on the body.
If you already have high-stress levels, your fitness progress may be significantly slowed down. This is because elevated cortisol (the stress hormone) causes us to hold on to extra fluid, and any attempts to build muscle or lose fat can be an uphill battle - even when our nutrition is on point!
Fortunately, there is a very simple and affordable solution. Increasing your dose of vitamin C will not only reduce your cortisol levels and help you feel less stressed, but your body will no longer need to hold on to the extra fluid and fat that didn’t want to budge before.
There are many ways to supplement vitamin C - here’s one of them.
6. Drink BCAA’s, not sports drinks
Don’t believe the marketing madness surrounding sports drinks - they’re either artificial or full of sugar, and often contain more calories than we’re even burning in a workout.
Staying hydrated by drinking water regularly throughout the day will help you perform your best - but if you want to get even more out of your workouts, a natural, plant-based BCAA supplement will get you there.
Branch Chain Amino Acids are the building blocks of muscle. They consist of 3 essential amino acids Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine that our body can't produce on its own and can only be obtained through our diet.
When we exercise and workout the demand of BCAA's increases, in which they play a key role in the building and repair of muscle tissue.
7. Switch it up
While consistency is nice, the most effective workouts happen when we keep our bodies guessing.
When we stick to the same workout routine for too long, our bodies adapt, and our progress stops.
Change up your weights program every few weeks and remember that cross training is far more effective than doing the same cardio exercise, day after day.
We literally need to trick and shock our bodies into changing!
8. Slow negatives
It’s a common mistake to contract the muscles slowly but then release the load quickly. While there is nothing particularly wrong with this, there is a way to get much more out of each rep.
Slowing the movement down and maintaining control in both directions means your muscles spend more time under tension, and you get the most out of the movement.
This is known as slow negatives, and you better believe you’ll feel the burn much sooner!
9. Compound exercises
Get the most out of a workout by focusing on exercises that work several muscle groups at once, rather than doing lots of isolation exercises, such as a bicep curl or calf raise.
Compound exercises create the biggest change in body composition in the shortest time while helping the body develop proportionately.
Opt for a shorter, more intense weight session, incorporating exercises like deadlifts, lat pull downs, squats and shoulder press - and you’ll be stronger and leaner in much less time.
10. Pre-fuel, refuel and rest
Carbohydrates are an important source of fuel and eating too little will leave you with insufficient energy to push through a high-intensity workout.
The trick for getting the most out of a weight training session is to eat the majority of your carbs for the day within an hour either side of your workout.
Having some protein in your pre and post-workout meals will also help you get the most out of your session, as this macronutrient is essential for muscle repair and recovery.
Remember - muscle growth doesn’t happen in the gym, it happens when you drink your post-workout smoothie and get a good night’s sleep!
That’s right - if you want to take your fitness progress to the next level - never compromise on your sleep.
These are all very useful little tricks for getting the most out of every workout, but let’s not forget that the most effective workouts of all, are the ones we actually enjoy.
Working out isn’t supposed to be a chore or a punishment. Instead, regular exercise should be part of your self-love toolkit. So - if you want to get even more from your workouts, make sure you prioritise enjoyment above all!