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A journey toward better physical fitness often goes like this: you begin, you develop a regular workout routine, you make progress, you rejoice, and then suddenly…you plateau. The numbers aren’t quite as promising as they once were, and you might even find yourself going backwards. How do you get out of the workout rut?


The answer here is to mix things up. Make a few simple changes to your workouts, and suddenly the numbers will be working in your favor again. If you’re looking for simple ways to improve your daily workouts, here are 9 essential tips to keep in mind.

Fuel before and after

You should plan to fuel your body for your workout both before and after your workout. About an hour before you start hitting the weights, plan on eating a snack that runs at about 200 calories and contains a combination of simple and complex carbohydrates, such as a piece of fruit or oatmeal topped with fruit. A good pre-workout snack should also be low in fat and fiber, and include some protein if you have an hour for it to digest. As for your post-workout snack, you should plan on taking in between 200 and 400 calories of carbohydrates and protein. The carbohydrates will help to recover your muscle glycogen supply, while the protein will aid in muscle recovery.

Warm up accordingly

There is a right way and a wrong way to warm up before a workout. A good warm-up will be more than simply stretching; it will involve lighter activity that closely mimics the exercises you will be doing throughout the course of your workout. Be sure that you follow the proper techniques for warming up and include a warm-up for every workout that you do.

Use a timer

Involving a timer when you work out will ensure that you practice shorter, more intense, and more effective workouts. Use a timer to keep you on track, telling you when it’s time to work and when it’s time to rest—and make sure that you get back to work when your rest period runs out. This will help add a cardiovascular element to your workouts.


Add resistance

Consider adding resistance to portions of your workouts where you’re seeing a lull in progress. If you’ve mastered getting to fifty calf raises, for example, try holding 5- or 10-pound weights as you do your calf raises. If you’ve consistently been doing 100 sit-ups as part of your ab workout, try holding a medicine ball as you do those sit-ups next time and see how far you get. Think of it this way: if your hands are empty while doing an exercise, then it’s an opportunity for you to add resistance.

Vary your speed

It’s also a good idea to mix things up by varying your speed. As you lift weights, for example, faster repetitions will help you build muscle strength more quickly while slower repetitions will help you maximize overall muscle growth. Get the best of both worlds by incorporate faster and slower speeds in your workouts.

Add instability

Ever considered incorporating some instability in your workouts? Exercises that require you to maintain balance—doing squats on a wobble board, for example—will engage stabilizing muscles in addition to the ones that you are already working. This same principle lies behind lifting free weights; while exercise machines might make your workouts easier overall, using hand weights involves more stabilizing muscles, thus giving you a more well-rounded workout.

Stay focused

Did you know that focusing on the muscles you are working while doing an exercise can actually help you to work those muscles more deeply? As you do each rep of an exercise, stay focused on the muscle groups you are working, and be sure to keep them engaged throughout the exercise.

Workout Equipments

Write it down

While it may seem tedious at first, writing down the weights and reps you do for each exercise will help you see measurable progress and identify potential points for improvement. And let’s face it—remembering exactly how you did on every single exercise in last week’s legs workout is nearly impossible.

Find a workout buddy

Having a workout buddy by your side can prove invaluable in keeping your motivated, and it might even challenge you to work out harder if you’re in the least bit competitive.

Check out this article for more tips of how to warm up before exercising.

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