In modern times, it is a common practice for people to seek out working out in the gym as part of a New Year’s resolution or a committed effort to improve their overall health and physical fitness. Resistance training offers numerous health benefits that would enhance the wellbeing of a large majority of the population, regardless of health background. Many variables, including proper diet, supplementation, and lifestyle choices, must be adequately managed to ensure optimal workout performance. These variables start the night before, the day of a workout, right up until bedtime on that same workout day before repeating the same process for the next day. The following are eight of the best tips to improve workout performance in chronological order of execution during a typical workout day.
Many productivity and self-help gurus preach the importance of how the success of your day starts and depends on the night before, your nighttime routine, and whatever planning you do for the following day. This level of significance also applies to those seeking to improve workout performance. Adequate sleep is essential for repair, recovery, and improving energy levels for the next day. Being sleep deprived influences cravings, hydration, and increases inflammation, with all three of these having the potential to impact your workout performance and muscle gain negatively. To ensure you are performing your best during your next trip to the gym and to maximize post-workout recovery, prioritize carving out at least 8 hours in bed with wiggle room for more on more stressful or higher workout load days.
Although fasted workouts can be beneficial in some circumstances (source), ensuring adequate energy intake and the proper level of macro and micronutrients is essential to providing your body with the building blocks it needs to fuel your workout. Sufficient carbohydrate intake contributes to improving glycogen storage, stored glucose released as an energy source during physical activity. Protein before and after workouts promotes proper muscle protein synthesis and growth. Fats are essential for cholesterol and the production of various hormones, including testosterone which plays a crucial role in muscular performance and development. If ever you’re experiencing symptoms of low testosterone check your local doctor. Micronutrient minerals and vitamins both play a role in electrolyte balance which is a vital part of hydration.
3. Mind-Muscle Connection
By visualizing and mentally focusing on contracting the muscle activated during an exercise, one can improve their neural connection to their muscles. Thus, this practice enhances performance and can lead to more significant muscle gain and hypertrophy. Also, while working out make sure you don’t get hurt. In case you get injured or hurt yourself by a splinter, use painless splinter removal to avoid infection.
4. Hydration and Supplementation
Dehydration is one of the critical reasons for reduced workout performance as the heart and other organs have to work harder due to decreased water and blood volume. Furthermore, skeletal muscle comprises 70% water, with dehydration causing the body to reprioritize fluid supply away from strength into the central circulation for survival. This redirection of fluid in the skeletal muscle water leads to a reduced pump and stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Taking supplemental steroids can also improve performance.
5. Workout Timing
The human body has an internal clock, popularly referred to as the circadian rhythm. Research has shown that body temperature, motor reflexes, and muscular strength are highest during the afternoon, roughly between 2 pm and 8:30 pm. These findings imply the potential for performance improvements solely by adjusting and dialing in your workout timing within that late afternoon/early evening window.
6. Exercise Tempo
The contracting or shortening phase and eccentric (lengthening) phase are the central movement positions in resistance training exercises. Adjusting the timing of each phase has been shown to increase or decrease exercise intensity and affect muscular hypertrophy.
Walking is a free and effective way to get in low-intensity exercise while promoting the movement of lymph and improving many markers of metabolic health. Remaining active during the day and time surrounding your workout may be beneficial in avoiding the adverse health effects of prolonged inactivity that downstream may impact not only workout performance but also your overall health.
8. Yoga and Foam Rolling
Stretching is best done after a workout when the muscles are still warm, with research showing that post-workout stretching may increase flexibility. In addition, using a foam roller, doing general stretches or yoga positions can significantly aid in releasing any tight muscle fascia, thereby contributing to improved recovery and performance for subsequent workouts.
Though not an exhaustive list, these tips are some of the most foundational practices that one can take to improve workout performance. By priming your body to be in the best shape possible before heading to the gym, not only will you feel more physically capable, but you will also feel motivated to set new personal records and chase after your fitness goals.
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