Between classes, volunteering, intramural sports and student organizations, squeezing in time for the Plex can be difficult. Whether you work out for half an hour or three hours, maximizing the effectiveness of the workout is important. If you want to see results, you have to work out with the mentality that it should be a challenge every time; it should never feel like you are simply going through the motions.
One of the most valuable ways to improve the way you work out is variation. Routines are great and often show results, however, working out is about challenging your body. Certain exercises may produce results for the first few weeks but once your muscles know what to expect, the effectiveness may plateau. An obvious way to avoid the monotony of certain exercises is to vary the weights. But another underestimated way to boost your workout is to change the way you count. For example, if you do 30 reps consistently, try doing as many reps as possible in 30 seconds.
Another great way to challenge your body is to combine moves and get creative. By incorporating more muscles in a single exercise, your body will work harder in less time. Instead of doing squats, taking a break, and then working your arms, make it one move. Squat with a weight in each hand and as you come out of the squat do a shoulder press. You can combine more than two moves too. Beyond that, you can make exercises more difficult by adding a weight or an extra step. Creating new moves in your workout not only shows better results but also keeps you motivated and interested in what you are doing.
Do what makes you feel weak. A lot of times people avoid exercises they aren't good at. In a crowded Plex filled with other fit BC students, many people don’t want to look lost, let alone weak, but trying out exercises you can only do for a short time or that are new to you will eliminate any weak areas.
Another factor to take into account is that the Plex is a furnace. No matter how many fans are blowing or whether there is a blizzard outside, it is impossible not to sweat upon entry. One of the most important parts about working out is staying hydrated.Drinking extra cold ice water before and during your workout will help you feel cooler longer. Researchers concluded that ice water helps the body cool itself and, therefore, eliminates excess break time. Ice water will also make you feel less sluggish and more refreshed.
Even though it takes place outside of the gym, diet plays a big role in the effectiveness of your workout. If you are working out, you need to eat well. Working out takes a lot out of your body: lifting weights tears muscles you need to rebuild and cardio depletes many of your body’s resources. What you eat before working out should be low in fat and fiber and high in lean protein and fluids. Avoid greasy fried foods that will sit in your stomach through your workout. After a workout, carbs and protein will help your muscles recover so try foods like grilled chicken, salmon or eggs. Experts recommend that you eat about two hours before working out and within about two hours after.
Depending on the kind of muscle you are trying to build (lean or big) and whether you are looking to gain weight or lose it, these tips may differ. If you are striving for muscle growth, your protein needs will be higher than those trying to strengthen lean muscle. Customize your workout to suit and challenge your body while keeping in mind the basic principles and exercises. Whether you are in a time crunch or simply want to enhance your workout, try some of these alterations and focus on increasing your productivity.