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7 Easy Ways to Take Your Workouts to the Next Level

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If you want improve your performance and physique, there will be times when you need to push your body to the edge. Being willing to work that hard doesn’t come easy. Read on to learn exactly how to take your workout to the next level each and every time.

1. WARM UP CORRECTLY

 

It’s not easy to go from a 10-hour work day to an hour-long workout with squats and deadlifts. If you want to get your body and nervous system fired up for heavy weights and a lot of reps, use a great warmup to reach your full potential. Skip the 10-minute jog on the treadmill. Instead, perform a series of mobility and activation drills that mimic the movements you’ll be doing for your main workout to open your body, raise your body temperature and fire up your muscles and nervous system.

2. USE POWER NAPS

 

If you ask professional athletes what their pre-game ritual looks like, I’ll bet that all of them take a nap. If you’ve had a long day or are feeling a little rundown, try to get 20–30 minutes of sleep to feel re-energized and focused. Coffee might perk you up, but it could give you the jitters and ruin your sleep if you drink it too late.

Sometimes a 20-minute power nap a few hours before your workout is all it takes to help you rest your body and mind. Try not to sleep too long (more than an hour) because it could actually make you feel more tired afterward or even interfere with your sleep.

3. WEAR THE RIGHT GEAR

 

If you’re looking for an extra boost in your workout performance, what you wear can make a difference. For example, your footwear is super important: During a long run, instead of an old pair of tennis shoes, use comfortable, light and high-quality shoes — you’ll feel like there’s nothing on your feet, and you’ll get all the foot support you need.

Also, having the right tops and bottoms can help you feel cooler (and less sweaty) on hot days and warmer on cold days. (And if you plan to run outside in the winter, gloves are your best friends.)

Finally, after a hard workout, a trusty set of compression clothes can help accelerate blood flow and recovery for faster results.

4. LISTEN TO THE RIGHT MUSIC

 

Often, the right music gets you in the mood, while the wrong music makes you want to call it quits.

For your next workout, arm yourself with the right tunes. Invest in good pair of headphones — something that won’t fall off when you’re running, jumping, or lifting weights — and build a playlist that helps you feel energized.

READ MORE > 6 SIMPLE RULES FOR MAKING A GREAT WORKOUT PLAYLIST

Pick something that’s upbeat, fast and matches the energy you need for your exercise. (For example, I have a playlist on my phone called “Gym,” but it’s not something I’d play before bed.)

5. IMPROVE YOUR BASELINE CONDITIONING

 

Here’s a simple fact of training: The better your aerobic conditioning, the harder you can push yourself during exercise.

That’s because your aerobic system is the powerhouse of your body. Even when you do a hard sprint and go into your “anaerobic zone,” your body still needs to return to your aerobic zone to refuel itself and recover.

To improve your aerobic conditioning, spend 20–40 minutes 2–3 times a week doing steady-state cardio.

6. PRACTICE GOOD NUTRITION

 

If you’re looking for better performance in the gym — or better performance overall in life — good nutrition is vital. It gives you the fuel you’ll need to support your physical performance while speeding up your post-workout recovery.

First, if you’re training hard and often, make sure you eat enough carbs. Athletes need more carbohydrates than you might think. That’s because carbs are a great source of fast energy for your body. Cut back on your carbs, and you’ll feel like your gas tank is empty.

Second, eat plenty of protein, fats and veggies to support muscle growth and overall health. In fact, just by cleaning up your diet, you can often crank up your energy throughout the day and boost your focus during workouts.

Third, avoid processed foods, sugary carbs and artificial fats. Too much negatively affects how you feel and perform.

7. TAKE THE RIGHT SUPPLEMENTS

 

While supplements cannot compensate for a poor diet, using them may help you get the nutrients you need for better athletic performance — just watch out for ones loaded with caffeine, sugar and artificial ingredients. However, after a workout, drinking a protein shake can help jump-start the repair, rebuilding and growth processes, so the next time you work out, you’ll be ready to go.

GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT

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7 Easy Ways to Take Your Workouts to the Next Level was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/7-easy-ways-take-workouts-next-level/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/7-easy-ways-take-workouts-next-level/</a> by Anthony J. Yueng

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What Your Workout Playlist Says About You

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Your workout playlist is so much more than a collection of high-BPM songs. It’s a much-needed source of focus. It’s extra motivation when you need it. And, of course, it’s a window into your soul.

OK, maybe not your soul. But if you gave us a look at it, we could tell you a few things about yourself. Specifically, these things:

Your playlist: Demi Lovato’s “Confident.” Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
What it says about you: You are a) A strong-as-hell female; b) A man who is extremely comfortable with his masculinity; c) Somewhere in-between. Whatever the case, you have our fullest support.

Your playlist: Enough EDM to power several Electric Daisy Carnivals.
What it says about you: You’re getting in shape for an important networking event, by which we mean Burning Man.

Your playlist: Jay-Z. Eminem. Biggie.
What it says about you: You are a hip-hop aficionado of a certain age, and you are more than capable of outworking hip-hop aficionados of a younger age.

Your playlist: “Thunderstruck.” “Start Me Up.” “Immigrant Song.”
What it says about you: Your fitness icon is Mick Jagger. Dude’s 74 years old. How the hell does he still look like that — and still move like that?

Your playlist: James Brown. Curtis Mayfield. Earth, Wind & Fire.
What it says about you: You like your workouts a little funky. A little soulful. And you’re getting fit because it helps you have the energy to do great things. (Including dominating a wedding-night dance floor.)

Your playlist: Shakira. Pitbull. J-Lo.
What it says about you: Your moves in the gym are only bested by your moves in the club.

Your playlist: The Clash. The Ramones. Blondie.
What it says about you: You’re working hard to make sure you can still fit into your vintage band T-shirts. Also, you want to stay strong for the #resistance.

Your playlist: The “Rocky” soundtrack.
What it says about you: You are unafraid of cliches, which is why you’re throwing punches in a meat locker.

READ MORE > IS LISTENING TO MUSIC DURING A WORKOUT A GOOD IDEA?

Your playlist: Brooks & Dunn. Brad Paisley. Sara Evans.
What it says about you: You were born country, so while you might enjoy spending your evenings on a front porch with good bourbon and a sleeping dog, you also enjoy feeling like you’ve earned said pleasures.

Your playlist: Classical music. Or jazz. Or showtunes.
What it says about you: … We honestly don’t know. But we’re curious to learn more.

Your playlist: “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Family Trip.”
What it says about you: You have kids and you accidentally put on one of their playlists instead of yours. Because you have kids, and this is the kind of thing hurried parents do. Hey, at least it’s uplifting! If you need to go potty, stop! And go right away…

GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT

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What Your Workout Playlist Says About You was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/workout-playlist-says/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/workout-playlist-says/</a> by Paul L. Underwood

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Foot Injury Workout Routine. 20 Minute Full Body Exercise Video

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https://www.youtube.com/v/4tZCkDH37-s?version=3

 

Foot Injury Workout Routine. 20 Minute Full Body Exercise Video was originally posted at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tZCkDH37-s by Caroline Jordan

 

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Train Like an NBA Player — With Tips from the Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore

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The NBA season is 82 games long, spread over eight months. Add a month of preseason, plus another month for the postseason (and half the league makes the playoffs), and you’ve got 10 grueling months for a body to endure. That doesn’t factor in the travel schedule, or the reality that, in the 21st century, players are literally million-dollar assets, risking their careers with every jump shot, hard foul and awkward landing.

It’s why we love to watch, and it’s why the players are some of the fittest, most inspiring athletes out there. We asked Kent Bazemore — who, over the past six seasons worked his way from an undrafted rookie to a key member of the Atlanta Hawks’ starting lineup — and former Los Angeles Lakers trainer Tim DiFrancesco how they do it. Here’s what they told us, in the form of six tips on how to train like an NBA player:

TIP #1: REMEMBER YOU’RE NOT AN NBA PLAYER

We mean this in two ways. First, you’re probably not built like an NBA player — that is to say, you’re probably not extra-tall with especially long limbs. That affects how you work out. As DiFrancesco points out, he’ll teach a player to do side planks with their legs bent, just to avoid putting excessive impact on their long-levered bodies. (For you, even if you’re not 6-foot-9, this can be a way to go easier on your body when recovering from an injury.)

 

 

Second, your lifestyle, while busy with work, family and relationships, it probably differs from that of the average NBA player. Consider that aforementioned travel schedule. “When you shut off the TV at 10:30 p.m. when the game is over, the players are hitting the showers and then getting on the plane to get to the next city,” DeFrancesco says. “So it’s another three-hour minimum before a player will even think about going to bed.” (And, as Bazemore points out, flying is dehydrating.) The next day, a player will likely be up by 8 a.m. for a shootaround or practice.

Rest when — and where — you can. “I’ll fall asleep on planes, on buses, it doesn’t matter to me,” Bazemore says, adding he’s a nap enthusiast on game day. “I love sleep. It’s very vital for me. When I get tired, I get grumpy. And I hate getting grumpy.”

READ MORE > ATTENTION RUNNERS: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO RECOVER

One other thing: Remember NBA players aren’t all alike — just like we’re not all alike. DiFrancesco creates custom programs for each player he trains, and Bazemore prefers to keep his body in shape with Pilates, rather than the yoga some of his teammates prefer. So, by all means, train like an NBA player, but remember that your training may vary.

TIP #2: SET YOUR GOALS AND PLAN ACCORDINGLY

Simply put, every NBA player has the same goal: winning the NBA championship. So as soon as last season’s NBA Finals ended in June 2017, each player began training with an eye on the next Finals in June 2018. For Bazemore, that means devoting the offseason to building strength. “Deadlifts. Kettlebell goblet squats. More total body,” as he puts it. And then during the season, they’re careful not to push too hard, lest they use up valuable energy needed for the game itself. As Bazemore puts it, “I wouldn’t go and do 3 sets of 8 bench presses and 12 squats two days before a game if I feel like my legs are dead.”

For you, maybe the goal is running a half-marathon. Or winning the championship in your rec league. Or just beating your buddies in a round of golf. Whatever it is, make a plan to get your body into shape and maintain that shape once you’re there — including, yes, giving yourself permission to rest when your body demands it.

TIP #3: START WITH AN ASSESSMENT, AND THEN CHECK IN

As you’d probably expect, each NBA team has state-of-the-art technology at its disposal. But sometimes, analog works best. On the Hawks, Bazemore fills out a survey every day where he rates his soreness and fatigue on a scale of 1–5. After practices, he rates how hard the practice was on a scale of 1–10. All of this is designed to adjudicate his overall wellness on a day-to-day basis. (DiFrancesco did something similar during his Lakers days.) These check-ins guide a player as he endures a game, a season and a career — and so he knows taking it easy during an early season workout helps ensure he’s fresh for the playoffs.

For you, such check-ins (in tandem with using a fitness tracking app like ours) can keep you on the right path and help you connect actions and consequences. (Bad workout? Maybe you didn’t eat or sleep well the night before.)

These check-ins can also reveal when you’re pushing yourself too hard. Bazemore advises, “Learn when to rest. Learn when enough is enough. We’re all competitors at the end of the day, we all want a little bit more, to squeeze a little bit more out. But you gotta learn when enough is enough, and get your mind ready to get back after it. You don’t want to burn yourself out.”

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TIP #4: DO THESE WORKOUTS

So what does an NBA player do to get and stay in shape? We’ll turn it over to Mr. Bazemore: “Over the summer is where you put in a ton of leg work and have the longer weight-room sessions — an hour and a half, two hours sometimes. Building the foundation. Cardio. Maybe two workouts a day. Three workouts a day. Not really touching a basketball as much. Maybe some spot shooting, some ballhandling.

<blockquote class=”instagram-media” data-instgrm-version=”7″ style=” background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% – 2px); width:calc(100% – 2px);”><div style=”padding:8px;”> <div style=” background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50.0% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;”> <div style=” background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAABGdBTUEAALGPC/xhBQAAAAFzUkdCAK7OHOkAAAAMUExURczMzPf399fX1+bm5mzY9AMAAADiSURBVDjLvZXbEsMgCES5/P8/t9FuRVCRmU73JWlzosgSIIZURCjo/ad+EQJJB4Hv8BFt+IDpQoCx1wjOSBFhh2XssxEIYn3ulI/6MNReE07UIWJEv8UEOWDS88LY97kqyTliJKKtuYBbruAyVh5wOHiXmpi5we58Ek028czwyuQdLKPG1Bkb4NnM+VeAnfHqn1k4+GPT6uGQcvu2h2OVuIf/gWUFyy8OWEpdyZSa3aVCqpVoVvzZZ2VTnn2wU8qzVjDDetO90GSy9mVLqtgYSy231MxrY6I2gGqjrTY0L8fxCxfCBbhWrsYYAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;”></div></div><p style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px; margin-bottom:0; margin-top:8px; overflow:hidden; padding:8px 0 7px; text-align:center; text-overflow:ellipsis; white-space:nowrap;”><a href=”https://www.instagram.com/p/BWiCC70l6eS/” style=” color:#c9c8cd; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none;” target=”_blank”>A post shared by Kent Bazemore (@24baze)</a> on <time style=” font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; line-height:17px;” datetime=”2017-07-14T15:18:58+00:00″>Jul 14, 2017 at 8:18am PDT</time></p></div></blockquote> <script async defer src=”//platform.instagram.com/en_US/embeds.js”></script>

A post shared by Kent Bazemore (@24baze) on Jul 14, 2017 at 8:18am PDT

“Then the season rolls around. You’re always about working on what works for you. For me, that’s mobility. I go to SculptHouse here in Atlanta, which is Pilates.”

For those of us who can’t afford the time or energy to work out this intensely, DiFrancesco puts it in a relatable context. “When you break the body down into its core building blocks — bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles — what you’re talking about is preparing those building blocks for an incredible pace and intensity of schedule. For a basketball player, what you need to think about is starting from the feet up.” In other words, lifting weights might help you grow big muscles, but if the underlying structure isn’t strong, you’re not going to be able to endure a long season — whether you’re in the NBA or training for a marathon.

For an NBA player, this approach means working on the mobility of the lower legs and doing anything that keeps the hips strong and mobile as well as keeping the core strong. Bazemore mentions his love of planks and side planks, which can impact the entire body. Both men mention goblet squats, which are basically a deep squat executed while holding a kettlebell. Both mention deadlifts (with DiFrancesco pointing out that quality of execution is more important than lifting a lot of weight). DiFrancesco also mentioned landmine exercises, which combine weightlifting with mobility and, for a long-levered NBA player, means reducing the impact of deep squats during weightlifting. (Lowering your body when you have long legs is harder than it is for the rest of us.)

TIP #5: AIM TO RECOVER AND SLEEP LIKE AN NBA PLAYER, TOO (TOYS CAN HELP)

“I’m a very active person,” says Bazemore, referring to his off-court life. “I love doing things. Golf. Basketball. Walking the puppies. There was a time I was on my feet too much, and I was just so tired [all the time]. I try to shut down my night at 8:30 p.m. now, get in bed, try to get a good night’s sleep.” He knows it’s not easy, but emphasizes finding something to focus on. “It sucks sometimes, but I find things to do. I read. I let go with an old childhood toy of mine: Legos.”

“I love sleep. It’s very vital for me. When I get tired, I get grumpy. And I hate getting grumpy.”

Bazemore has another trick up his sleeve: Tom Brady’s line of Athlete Recovery Sleepwear for Under Armour. “I got it all, so I’ve definitely bought into Tom Brady’s movement. To be as good as he is, to play at his level, any athlete that does it that well, you gotta take note.” Thanks for noticing, Kent.

TIP #6: HAVE SOME FUN

Here’s an understatement: Professional basketball players play a lot of basketball. To stay fit, many turn to another form of physical activity, including other sports. For Bazemore, hitting the links leaves him feeling energized — physically and mentally. “Golf challenges my perspective. It keeps me sharp, it’s not as impactful on the body [as basketball]. Nothing like hitting a good golf shot — it raises every aspect of your life. You come home to your wife with a big smile on your face.”

Speaking of, Bazemore has another way of unwinding. It’s his famous Baze Gaze — in which Bazemore videobombs his teammates’ postgame interviews by sneaking up on them and staring into the camera. Is it the end result of vigorous training? Yes and no. “It’s all about timing and the element of surprise,” Bazemore says. “It’s definitely instinctive. You gotta feel your way.” In other words, it’s about that moment where preparation meets opportunity. Which, in a way, is what training is all about.

GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT PICK-UP GAME

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Train Like an NBA Player — With Tips from the Atlanta Hawks’ Kent Bazemore was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/train-like-nba-player-tips-atlanta-hawks-kent-bazemore/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/train-like-nba-player-tips-atlanta-hawks-kent-bazemore/</a> by Paul L. Underwood

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