It’s easy to fall into a routine with your fitness and slack off or quit if you stop seeing progress. If you want to stay on track to keep moving forward and be as healthy and fit as possible, you likely need a little help now and again. Use these tips to help you go the extra mile and get the most out of your workout.
1. Rethink Your Fuel
The way you fuel your body before a workout has a significant impact on whether you push hard or fall flat during your sweat sesh. If you’ve found that you just don’t have the energy to really give it your all each day, then consider adding in some different foods to better fuel your body. Recent studies show that the best pre-workout foods include:
Honey is a natural carb blend that contains both fructose and glucose and offers the benefit of boosting energy during endurance activities. Choose honey instead of a sports drink to get the natural sugars as well as a healthy dose of antioxidants and vitamins.
A combination of carbohydrates and protein, milk is a great way to fuel your body post-workout, although you might want to have it well ahead of time if you’re including it in a pre-workout snack. Nonetheless, milk is a natural alternative to carb and electrolyte replacement drinks, so drink up.
Much like milk, yogurt is a unique combination of carbs and protein, so it’s great fuel for athletes. Not only that, but it also contains probiotics that help boost the immune system and reduce risk of infection.
2. Try a Natural Pre-Workout
Many athletes tout sports drinks as their go-tos, but in all reality, these drinks only replenish fluids and nutrients lost while sweating. There are, however, a number of alternatives that actually will increase your training capacity and give you real results. Some of the best natural pre-workout drinks are:
• Cherry Juice
Cherry juice drunk consistently over a period of at least a week has been shown to reduce pain during training and or running. This unique combination contains phytochemicals that ease inflammation (and also support better sleep).
• Green Tea
If you’re needing a little energy boost before your workout, green tea is the way to go. The caffeine will help you work out longer, and catechins will increase your fat burning potential.
• Ginger Lemonade
A combination of ½ teaspoon of grated ginger to 8 ounces of lemonade, ginger lemonade is a great option to offset post-workout muscle soreness by as much as 25 percent. Ginger contains important anti-inflammatory compounds that offer the benefit.
3. Eat More Fat
It might sound counterintuitive when you’re goal is working out and getting lean and toned, but healthy fats deliver a number of benefits to not just your workout but also your life in general. Omega-3 fatty acids help stabilize mood, maintain bone strength, and even reduce inflammation in the body. These fats also support your body’s natural ability to pull and use stored fat as energy, so you’ll get that added bonus as you work out. When incorporating good fats into your diet, go for high quality options, such as salmon, walnuts, and seeds.
4. Take a Rest Day
You’re probably doubting how a rest day – a day off from training spent lounging in your favorite athleisure wear or getting a massage – is actually going to improve your workouts, right? Well, it’s an outright necessity. Rest prevents injury by reducing overuse, which is important for you to stay in peak performance state. Likewise, your muscles need rest to give them the proper time to repair and actually grow the muscle you’re working so hard on. A rest day also provides you with the benefits of better immune function, improved sleep, and better focus. So if you really want to do yourself a favor and naturally improve your workouts, schedule a rest day in between your most active training days.
You don’t need artificial supplements and complicated regimens to get the most of your workout. In fact, these natural options will help you outperform your workout buddies who are relying on synthetic options to support their workouts and recovery.