It might seem too simple to be true but the easiest way to improve your work out is to change it.
Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Pretty good shout if you ask us. Getting bored of a routine is almost certainly going to reduce the results you see, you need to be pumped and motivated so that you get the best from your work out.
1. Roll around
Use a foam roller to warm up like athletes do. Rolling will properly prime the muscle while helping to improve flexibility. Roll your calves, the outside of your IT band, your piriformis, your adductors and you mid & upper back.
Tip: Don’t roll forward and back, roll until you find the most tender area and then hold the roller on it for 60 seconds. This will help to relax your muscles.
2. Pre-workout jolt
An Australian study1 has shown that having 5mg of caffeine before running can increase running times in both well-trained and recreational runners, leading to better results. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and raises alertness, thereby creating an instant energy boost to get more out of your workout.
3. Try a supplement
Add amino acids during your workout. Microscopic fibres in muscles tear during a workout and amino acids provide both energy for training and aids the repair process. Start with BCAAs, which not only enhance lean muscle growth but also boost energy levels, delay muscular fatigue and stimulate fat loss. Most studies point towards favourable results in regards to supplementation with BCAAs, indicating significant increases in exercise efficiency due to heightened levels or aerobic and anaerobic capacity.2
4. Start with what you hate the most
Everyone has an exercise they dislike doing. By beginning your workout with the one you most hate, you’re sure to complete it plus you’ll have more energy to devote to it. This can result in strengthening those muscles and making it easier next time.
5. Pump and thump
Work out to music but not just any music – pick music that motivates you to work harder, faster or further. Everyone’s music motivator is different. It’s ok if you bench press to Taylor Swift or run to Frozen’s Let It Go, no one will ever know. If you don’t know what music motivates you, rock and dance music tend to be popular choices. There are loads of work out playlists out there so there is bound to be one that works for you.
6. Flex and check
Emphasise quality over quantity. Increase your weights to challenge your muscles. There is no such thing as easy weightlifting. The reps you do in weightlifting should be challenging in order for you to make the most of your workout. Your muscles need a reason to get stronger – it’s ok if you might not do all your reps, just do as many as you can. Slowing the lift down also increases the challenge.
7. Get fluid
Drink more. That doesn’t mean you can down a few beers during your workout but it is essential to start hydrated and then stay hydrated during your work out. Water is fine for short workouts but if you are working out for an hour or more you will need to include carbohydrates (from sugars) and electrolytes (from salts).
8. Go for goal
Race yourself! If you swim, cycle, run or walk, time how long it takes you, then next time challenge yourself to beat your previous time. Goal setting is a tried and tested way to improve your results, it gives you something to strive for and when you reach the goal you get that great feeling of success. Let’s face it everyone loves success no matter how small.
9. Try a hit of HIIT
Incorporate HIIT into your cardio. Short, sharp bursts of speed are key. Intermittent high-intensity training causes a big increase in adrenaline, which stimulates fat usage, whilst maintaining and sometimes increasing muscle mass. Read more about the benefits of HIIT here
Following any one of these points is going to help you to improve your workout. However, if all else fails DO NOT give up, NEVER give up, and if you have to, get a personal trainer to kick your butt in the right direction.
Now get to it!!
- Ohtani M, Sugita M, Maruyama K. Amino acid mixture improves training efficiency in athletes. J Nutr. 2006 Feb; 136(2): 538S-543S.