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.
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.
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
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
5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout
As the saying goes: Abs are made in the kitchen. Of course, time in the gym helps, too. “I think nutrition for optimal performance and recovery has gained recent attention because some high-profile athletes have been public about their nutrition strategies. But the science behind this has been around for years,” says Cynthia Sass, MPH, a board-certified sports dietitian who has been a consultant to five professional teams and counsels professional athletes in her private practice.
Chef Lindsey Becker founded Tone House FUEL, a clean-eating program designed to help maximize recovery and boost results for people who work out at Tone House, an athletic-based group fitness studio in New York City. “A balanced, healthy diet with the right key nutrients can help your body become more efficient and enhance your athletic performance [in and out of the gym],” she says. “Consuming the necessary nutrients before and after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair damage or inflammation.”
Below Becker shares her tips for eating to get the most out of your workouts, with additional expert insights from Sass. Use their advice to ensure what you’re eating is supporting your exercise.
We often focus on calories, but nutrients also matter, Sass says. “Certain nutrients help your brain and muscles perform more efficiently, and others are crucial for recovering from the wear and tear exercise puts on your body,” she explains. The best macronutrients pre- and post-workout depend on the type of workout you’re doing, as well as the length and intensity.
“Eating the right foods will prevent you from crashing, boost your performance and help your muscles recover and grow stronger,” Becker says. “On the other hand, choosing the wrong foods could cause cramping, nausea, lack of energy and improper muscle recovery.”
Becker recommends beets, sweet potatoes, oats, spinach and eggs for their varied benefits. “Beets increase blood flow to working muscles, which can improve your workout and boost stamina, and are rich in antioxidants, which help fight the oxidative stress that can come with intense workouts,” she says.
She likes sweet potatoes for carbs, antioxidants and potassium; oats for steady energy and B vitamins, which help convert carbohydrates into energy; and spinach because a study found that it may help muscles use less oxygen, which improves muscle performance. And of course the incredible edible egg is a source of easily digestible protein to help rebuild muscles.
Aim to eat something that’s high in carbs, moderate in protein and low in fat, sugar and fiber 2–4 hours before a workout. Some macros aren’t ideal before the gym. “Eating too much protein or fat close to the start of a workout can lead to cramps or a brick sitting in your stomach because protein and fat take longer to digest,” Sass says. “Also, the goal of a pre-workout snack is to fuel the workout. If the food is trapped in the digestive system, it’s not available to working muscles when they need it.”
That’s why carbs are great — they’re generally easy to digest and provide readily available, easily burned fuel. Becker recommends oatmeal with a sprinkling of hemp seeds (for protein) and sliced banana or a smoothie.
Sass recommends eating 30–60 minutes after a particularly tough workout. However, although improper recovery can make you go into your next workout weaker and increase the risk of injury, you only need to refuel within an hour after hard-core workouts. This isn’t so crucial after a walk or moderate-intensity group fitness class, particularly if you’ll be eating a meal soon after, Sass says.
“Consuming the necessary nutrients after exerting your body can help replenish energy stores, build muscle, decrease soreness, burn fat and repair any damage or inflammation,” Becker says.
Good advice for anyone, this is even more important for active people because “nutrients are key to performance and recovery, and unprocessed foods are naturally nutrient-rich,” Sass says.
Becker and Sass agree that refined sugars have zero nutritional benefit and fried and greasy foods can be difficult to digest and cause cramping during a workout. So skip that leftover pizza before your morning indoor cycling class.
Great as they are, you shouldn’t only consume these five foods. “Eat them strategically,” Sass recommends. For example, fuel up with oatmeal, sweet potato, beets or green juices pre-workout, and enjoy eggs with veggies and avocado after a morning workout.
GEAR UP FOR YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
5 Eating Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Workout was originally posted at <a href="https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/" target="_blank" rel="noopener">https://blog.underarmour.com/5-eating-tips-to-get-the-most-out-of-your-workout/</a> by Brittany Risher
What Your Workout Playlist Says About You
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.
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
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