Have you been putting in major work at the gym, but still not seeing the supermodel-runway results you’re aiming for? Don’t fret, you might just be making common workout errors that inhibit your body from getting into shape the right way. Reaching your workout goals takes far more than just the motivation to get yourself in the gym; it’s also largely about nutrition and healthy habits that assist in your body’s recovery from a good workout. We’re all well aware of the healthy lifestyle of Victoria Secret’s Angel Alessandra Ambrosio, but when it comes to implementation, timing is everything!
Once you’ve gotten yourself into the gym-mode zone, it’s super tempting to hit the ground running (sometimes literally) and start your workout with vigor. To get the most out of your workout, be sure you’re giving your body the warm-up it needs by making these simple adjustments.
Treat Your Bod to A Pre-Workout Snack – When you’re following a workout plan, it’s important to see food as your source of energy. Prepare your body for your intense workout with a snack made up of protein and simple carbohydrates; the protein helps muscles during your workout, while simple carbs are easily broken down to sustain your energy level. The best time to eat your snack is 30 minutes to 1 hour pre-workout. A good go-to? Banana and peanut-butter on whole wheat toast!
Drink Enough Water – Water is the key to life, and the key to your optimal workout. H20 carries nutrients all over the body, keeping that good energy flowing all throughout your workout. When you’re dehydrated, you’re more susceptible to cramps, feeling tired or dizzy, and helps the body metabolize stored fat (as opposed to holding on to this fat!). Have about 2 glasses of water before you head to the gym to get the max benefits from your H20.
Don’t Skip a Proper Warm-Up – You might want to go hard as soon as you step foot into the gym, but your body reaches its peak performance if you warm it up steadily. Instead of static stretches, start off your gym sesh with dynamic stretches (dynamic means you move through a range of motion) such as high kicks, lunges with a twist, or fire hydrant circles. You also should incorporate a light aerobic workout such as a quick jog or an easy bike ride to raise your heart rate to a steady pace.
Get Enough Variety in Your Workout – It’s tempting to hit the gym floor with your favorite workout routine that you know and love, but your body can adapt quickly to your go-to moves. At some point, your workouts will stop being a challenge as they become easier for your muscles to perform. Stick to these five elements of fitness and vary your workouts frequently: aerobic exercise, stretching, core exercises, balance training, and strength training.
Don’t Take Too Long of Rests Between Sets – Keeping your heart rate up is important to kick your metabolism into fifth gear. To get the best burn for your workout, take no more than 30 second rests between sets to give yourself some recovery time but not too much that results in your heart rate coming down.
Be Consistent With Your Form – If your performance of a workout move isn’t correct, you’re putting in work that’s not targeting the correct area, and could subsequently cause injury or just tire you out. Go through your workout moves slowly and with control, until you’ve habitually trained yourself to perform with the right form. You can find tutorials online for any move out there, or utilize a training app to guide you through the entire workout!
Eat the Right Post-Workout Snack – There’s nothing more satisfying than a yummy produce-packed smoothie after the gym, but despite all the vitamins in your green juice, there are also a lot of sugars that slow down the recovery process of your muscles. Enjoy your smoothie long before or long after your workout, or make sure you only have veggies in your drink!
Get Yourself Some Beauty Sleep – Your nightly 8 hours do so much more than you realize, especially after a vigorous workout. During REM sleep (or the deep sleep stage where your dreams are more vivid), the brain is also signaling the body to restore your organs, tissues, and muscles, so getting enough sleep is crucial to a speedy recovery.
Don’t Revert Into a Couch Potato – After a long workout, you owe it to yourself to reward your hard work. But if that reward comes in the form of lounging around, you may be undoing all of that effort! The cool down process after a workout takes a lot longer than a quick 5 minute stretch. Try going for a leisurely bike ride or a walk around the block instead to get your body to come down at an easy and efficient rate.