Exercising is about meeting an end goal. Whether you want to look better, lose weight or gain muscle, physical activity can help get you there. Unfortunately, some people think that reaching their goal is as easy as showing up to the gym and going home. There are some steps you should take to make your workouts more effective so you can reach your goals quicker and set even more ambitious ones.
To even think about exercising properly, you need to give your body an adequate amount of fuel. If you fill your car's gas tank, it will eventually run out and stop on the side of the road. Your body work very similarly. If you don't eat in an attempt to lose weight, eventually, your body will run out of energy and won't be able to function properly. Restricting your calories too much will decrease your performance and lead to less effective workouts.
To get the most out of your exercise routine, you need to eat enough. If you're trying to lose weight, you need to eat less calories than you burn. Taking this to an extreme and basically starving yourself will leave you with no energy to exercise which will lead to unhealthy and lethargic workouts. You can use the Calorie Calculator to estimate how much food you should eat each day.
You should also avoid diets that completely cut out carbohydrates. While these diets are popular, carbs are the body's main source of fuel and eliminating them will cause your performance to suffer. Yes we can use fats or proteins for energy but the body prefers to use carbs.
To get the best out of your workout, you need to give your body an adequate amount of time to repair and rebuild. You would think that the more you exercise, the faster the results will show. More exercise is only good up to a certain point. Exercising too much will cause you to actually lose some of the gains you've made.
Exercising should be limited to 5 times per week for the average person. Even 5 times per week can be too much for some people so going up to 6 or 7 days per week will be even more damaging. If you're just starting out, don't go 5 times during your first week. Build yourself up to that level and don't feel like you have to exercise 5 times per week to see any benefits. Five times is the most you should exercise in a week, not the recommended level for everyone.
When you exercise, small tears start ripping your muscles apart. Only during rest can your muscles heal so that you can become faster, leaner and healthier. If you continuously workout without giving your body enough time to rest, you'll keep ripping your muscles apart until you won't be able to exercise anymore. Give yourself 48-72 hours before you workout the same muscle. If you do chest on Monday, wait until at least Wednesday or Thursday to do it again.
If you're eating right and adequately resting, you should be making noticeable gains. One of the best ways to ensure you're making progress is to keep track of your exercise. If you're running, keep track of the distance and time it takes to run. If you're lifting weights, keep track of the amount of weight you lift and the number of repetitions you complete. You can use a small notepad or workout journal. Each time you workout, you can check how much weight you lifted or how fast you ran during the previous session. This will let you know for sure if you're improving.
After awhile of doing the same workout, your body becomes accustomed to what you do. Because of this, your workout will become less effective over time. To avoid this, frequently change the types and order of the exercises you perform. This will keep your body constantly changing and improving.
The Bottom Line
Making a workout more effective is more involved than just showing up to exercise. If you take the steps outlined above, your workout will allow you to push your body and reach goals you thought you could never achieve.