When embarking on a new fitness journey, the time devoted to working out is extremely valuable. Considering how fast-paced our world is these days, it’s likely that you don't always have a lot of time to dedicate to exercise. Between work, kids, school, and social events, finding the time to hit the gym can, at times, be tricky. This means that it’s imperative for your workouts to be as effective as possible during the time that you do have to invest.
Beyond following the right workout regimen to achieve your specific goals, there are additional factors worth including (or sometimes, excluding) into your fitness and diet routine in order to ensure you are getting the most out of your workouts.
Don’t Let Soreness Slow You Down
Figuring out how to be as productive as possible at the gym isn’t always easy. For example, if you're trying to build muscle, you're probably all too familiar with the soreness that comes after leg day. In fact, post-workout soreness is so common it has an official name. Delayed-onset muscle soreness or DOMS tends to peak a day or two after an intense or unfamiliar workout. At times, DOMS can be severe enough that people mistake it for a muscle strain or injury. This can be detrimental to the time you have at the gym as you might find yourself struggling to get through your workouts due to that soreness. Using some simple at-home remedies can help ease those particularly tough days though. Some options worth trying are:
- Epsom Salt: After your workout, try taking a nice soak in a warm bath with some Epsom salt. Epsom salt has been shown to reduce muscle pain and soreness.
- CBD Oil: CBD oil is another option for topical pain relief. It can help treat minor aches and pains, such as you might experience after strength training or an intense workout.
- Caffeine: Studies have shown that those who consumed caffeine before their workout saw a significant drop in DOMS so it’s worth enjoying a cup of coffee or the like before hitting the gym.
Finding ways to keep your body up to speed with your workout regimen will make the time spent at the gym easier and hopefully, more productive. Plus, you’ll probably be able to push harder and longer while working out when you’re not dealing with distracting muscle soreness.
Avoiding Trends at the Gym
It’s important during any fitness journey to not only lay out your goals but to also tailor your post-workout habits to those goals. One popular choice that might be working against your fitness efforts could be the protein shake you snag on your way out of the gym.
Recent studies have shown that consuming high amounts of protein might be a waste of money and irrelevant to your workouts, or worse, reverse your fitness efforts depending on the results you’re trying to achieve. For example, if you’re currently working out to lose weight, health gurus at Ikon Health explain why you should consider skipping the protein shakes. When we work out vigorously, our calorie expenditure increases, which helps our body during the weight loss process. Moreover, what we consume post-workout can directly affect our overall results, even if what we consume is deemed as something, “healthy.”
In the past, people were often advised to consume protein immediately following their workout, in order to take advantage of the “anabolic window.” There is even probably a conveniently-placed protein shake bar near the exit of your local gym. However, as Ikon Health goes on to further explain, consuming a large amount of protein could negate the beneficial effects of the calorie expenditure we get post-workout. In fact, they cite studies that show, “postponing nutrient consumption of any kind for a reasonable amount of time following exercise would aid in the progression of body recompositioning.” While having a protein shake won’t hurt you by any means, it might be wasting your time and efforts at the gym, which can be pretty frustrating.
Show Up With an Action Plan (Or Two)
The last thing you probably want to spend time doing is planning out your workouts. However, if you don't have a home fitness space, having not only one plan of attack in mind before you hit the gym, but having a backup plan as well, will increase the efficiency of your workouts. You’ve likely experienced having your mindset on a certain class or even using certain equipment, only to find that the class has been canceled or the equipment is out of order. This can lead to you spending precious time figuring out what to do.
Of course, it’s not the end of the world if you have to wait until a rowing machine opens up, but it can certainly cause you to wander around your gym looking for something else to do. Instead of waiting until the last minute to come up with a workout plan, try getting a plan A and plan B together the night before. Not only with this help you be as productive as possible, but it can also be a great way to ensure you have a well-rounded fitness routine. Doing the same exercises every day can lead to injuries, but with a solid workout plan or two in tow, you’ll have an easier time avoiding over-working your muscles.
When you have a busy schedule, finding time to hit the gym or even workout at home isn’t always easy. When it comes to exercise routines, finding more ways to make your routine as effective as possible can ensure you’re utilizing your precious time in the best possible ways.
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he's learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work.
This is a guest post and does not reflect the opinions of G&G Fitness Equipment. G&G Fitness Equipment does not endorse any products offered by outside vendors. Please consult a physician for medical advice.