4 Tips to Improve Your Next Workout
WRITTEN BY THY PHAM AND DR. SWATHI
When we exercise, we want results.
But, the overwhelming list of workout methods and over-the-counter supplements makes it difficult to know where to start. To help you benefit most from your workout, we’ve gathered four simple tips to help set you up for maximum workout performance.
Your athletic performance begins the night before to your workout. Ensuring adequate sleep is crucial for muscle growth and recovery. Your body produces natural hormones while you sleep to help aid with muscle repair, which increase blood flow to muscles and relieve tension throughout your body. A consistent sleep schedule with seven to nine hours of sleep a night will maximize the muscle healing process. For those individuals who may struggle with falling asleep, or have trouble staying asleep, CBD can help promote a good night’s rest. Research has shown that individuals with symptoms of insomnia may benefit from taking CBD after dinner or before bedtime to improve quality of sleep. Making sure that your body is receiving the adequate rest it needs is key to an effective workout!
Although there is controversy about what to drink before a workout, the most underrated option is water. Evidence shows that proper hydration allows athletes to improve performance as well as increase awareness during exercise. Individuals who are well-hydrated also have demonstrated greater heart rate recovery time. For those who want to stimulate their nervous system to achieve maximal power output, caffeine could also be a viable option. Caffeine options vary from coffee, tea, pre-workout drinks, and energy drinks. Keep in mind that caffeine is not needed for an effective workout, but purely serves as a way to boost energy. Studies have shown that caffeine intake can provide a boost of energy and increase workout performance, but evidence has still yet to prove any correlation between pre-workout and its effects on increasing body strength.
Stretching is a must
Everyone knows how important stretching is, but not everyone takes the time to ensure proper technique. Exercising without warming up your muscles can lead to serious injuries. Take the precautions and make sure your muscles are properly prepped for movement. For example, before launching into a full sprint, spend a few minutes stretching your legs; increase your pace from walking, to jogging, to sprinting. If your muscles feel tight or sore from a prior workout, foam rollers have been shown to help eliminate built up tension and relieve muscle soreness.
Make a plan
Technology has made it simple to plan to workout, whether it is through a phone app, online calendar, or good old-fashioned journal. Pre-plan which muscle groups you’ll be targeting and the amount of time needed for your workout. Taking the time to plan it out the Sunday before the week begins takes the stress out of deciding what to do or when to do it. Be mentally and physically prepared! With a set schedule, you’ll be able to keep yourself on track and reach your workout goals.
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This article was edited by Dr. Swathi and was written by Element Apothec Scientific Communications Intern, Thy Pham. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student at West Coast University School of Pharmacy in Los Angeles, California.