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9 Ways to Improve Your Workouts

9 Ways to Improve Your Workouts

Finding ways to improve your workouts is always a good idea. Exercise isn't about quantity as much as it is about quality. Although we focus mainly on diet with this blog, exercise is also very important, and although your diet has a much bigger effect on your weight than exercise, everyone can benefit from getting more exercise. The problem is that a lot of people just don't have the time in their schedule to spend several hours each week at the gym. But when you do get the chance to work out, these tips can help you get a lot more out of them.

Tip #1 - Don't work out for too long

Try to limit your time in the gym to about 30 to 40 minutes. You don't really need much longer than this to get a great workout. If you find that you're spending more time than this consistently, it might be due to the fact that you're just starting out and need more time to recover. Within a few months you should start getting the hang of your workout and be able to reduce the time that you spend in the time. Doing this is really important so that it doesn't become a major burden for you to work out and so that it fits in your schedule.

Tip #2 - Be sure you're getting enough protein in your diet

Be absolutely certain that you are getting more than enough protein in your diet. This is one area that a lot of people neglect, and it's never a good thing. When you're workout out too much but aren't supplying your body with the protein it needs to rebuild your muscles, you can start to go into a catabolic state where your muscles start to break down. It really is as bad as it sounds, so be sure that you're getting about 0.60 to 0.90 grams of protein per pound of body fat, each day, depending on how much you work out.

Tip #3 - Stay hydrated

Be sure that you are getting plenty of water throughout the day because it's pretty easy to get dehydrated in the middle of a workout as you probably already know. Exercising regularly will dehydrate you, and if you're starting a workout already dehydrated, you'll end up being inefficient or not working out as long as you possibly could. Also be sure to stay hydrated during your workout of course.

Tip #4 - Have the proper form

Using the proper form when you're working out is essential, both to guarantee that you don't hurt yourself and that you get an efficient workout, targeting all the muscles that you are trying to target. If you don't know proper lifting form, try a group workout class with trainers or purchase a few sessions with a personal trainer. Even if you don't have the money to stick with it, it's well worth it to learn the proper form so that you don't hurt yourself and so that your workouts are effective and safe.

Tip #5 - Mix your workouts up

It's a good idea to mix up different workouts so that your body doesn't become resistant to one workout that you do all the time. Try different types of cardio like tennis, basketball, cycling, rowing, etc. Don't become too reliant on just one or two types of cardio, since there's so much that you can do. You will see faster results and it will also help to keep your workouts interesting and keep you motivated. The same goes for your weightlifting; target different muscles on different days and be sure that you are using a balanced approach.

Tip #6 - Get healthy carbohydrates in your diet

It's a myth that you should avoid all carbohydrates when you're exercising or trying to lose weight. The HCG diet allows healthy carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, and that's where you should get your carbs from when you're working out. You need the energy from healthy carbohydrates to have a good workout, so don't think that you can neglect carbohydrates without consequences. If you don't have enough carbs in your diet you'll feel sluggish throughout your workout and your results won't be all that great, so definitely be sure to get as many carbs as you can from fruits and vegetables, but avoid grains, most types of starch and sugar.

Tip #7 -  Stretch before your workout

It's never a good idea to jump right into a working, and even if you're in a rush you should spend a few minutes stretching your muscles before starting along with a few minutes of cardio if you have the time. It can prevent injury and prepares your muscles for your workout by increasing blood flow. Neglecting to stretch can easily lead to an injury and cause other problems with your workout, so be sure that you have a regular stretching routine for the type of workout that you are doing.

Tip #8 - Try caffeine

Getting natural caffeine before your working in the form of a few cups of coffee can be a great boost to your workout that works for a lot of people. Everyone has a different caffeine tolerance, so if you've had issues with caffeine in the past, it's better to avoid it. But if you can tolerate caffeine and won't get any jitters or heart palpitations, it's really a great way to boost your energy and get a little more out of your workout. You should avoid most caffeine supplements as they often contain additives and their ingredients are not regulated by the FDA.

Tip #9 - Try high intensity interval training

High intensity interval training is a type of workout where you do a few minutes of a particular workout such as sprinting, pushes, or situps, as fast as you can with as many reps as you can, followed by a period of rest. With a quick search online you can find literally hundreds of different HIIT workouts for every muscle group. High intensity interval training increases your HGH production levels quite a bit for several hours after the workout, and compared to other types of workouts, it is very effective and can help you lose weight and put on muscle a lot faster than other exercises.

About the author

Dr. Constance Odom, MD

8 min read