There are so many hot tips when it comes to staying motivated, keeping fit and getting those results you’re after with your workouts. Here are my 5 top tips that will help you up your fitness game and make your workouts really work for you.
Prioritise Post-Workout Fuel
There is quite a lot of emphasis on what to eat prior to a workout, but post-work out fuel is also incredibly important. Many women tend to skip that post-exercise meal or snack, but consuming the right nutrients after you exercise will help to:
- refuel your body,
- promote muscle recovery,
- amp up your energy levels,
- build a leaner physique,
- help keep your metabolism burning strong for a longer duration after your workout
During exercise, your body uses glycogen for energy – which is the fuel stored in your muscles. After a workout, your muscles are depleted of their glycogen stores and your body’s ability to replenish muscle stores can decrease by up to 50 percent if you don’t refuel within 2 hours.
What to eat post workout:
Experts recommend a combination of 10 to 15 grams of protein and 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates within 30 minutes of your workout. Of course, what you eat is also as important as when you eat it! For carbohydrates, think sweet potatoes, rice cakes, oatmeal or dark leafy green vegetables. For protein, think a high quality animal or plant-based protein powder, eggs, salmon or nuts. A couple of simple ideas may be:
- A protein shake with banana, protein powder and almond milk (bonus to add greens!)
- Quinoa porridge with coconut milk, walnuts and mixed berries
- Grilled salmon with baked sweet potato
- Poached eggs with sprouted bread and steamed spinach
If you can’t sit down to a proper meal, make sure you have something on hand – a banana with some raw nuts, a good quality protein bar, or a protein smoothie.
Make it easier to reach your fitness goals by rewarding and refuelling your body after each sweat sesh.
It can be all too easy to zone out in a workout. We’ve all been there… your mind starts to wander back to your incessant to-do list or you get swept away with the soundtrack, podcast or conversation you’re invested in. Yet, believe it or not, mindfulness is a huge factor when it comes to achieving your fitness goals and seeing results.
There’s a huge difference between going through the motions of an exercise and truly focusing and investing in the task at hand. Research has found that those who practice mindfulness during workouts have;
- greater motivation to exercise,
- are more likely to workout for longer durations,
- have less chance of injury,
- enjoy their workout sessions more,
- are more likely to reach their goals.
Remaining mindful and present during exercise can help you to improve the quality of your movements and in turn, the quality of your overall session.
Setting yourself a goal or an intention for each workout can be really helpful for when your mind starts to wander. This may be a key area of the body or muscle group to focus on, the level of your heart rate, your form or the specific reps or timing of your exercises. When time is so valuable, keeping your workouts effective and efficient through mindfulness will help you see results faster and not be wasted time.
Dress For Success
Great news – indulging in a little retail therapy when it comes to your activewear wardrobe can increase you motivation to workout and the effectiveness of your workouts! While your workout wear should be comfortable, performance-based activewear can go a long way in not only helping you workout better and smarter, but psychologically, it can also boost your self confidence.
A recent study showed that 9 out of 10 gym goers agree that their activewear helps them push themselves harder. Studies have also shown that just stepping into your favourite activewear inspires you to break a sweat! (Read how Activewear actually motivates you to be more active here!)
For women in particular, clothing can be empowering in many areas of our daily life, and when it comes to working out, it is just as important. When we love our exercise clothes and feel good in them, we want to wear them more – and work out in them more! The bottom line – don’t scrimp on your activewear. Invest in clothing that helps you to feel motivated and inspired, as well as support you in your workouts to help you reach your goals.
It’s All About The Core
By this, we don’t mean that getting a six pack is the end goal. The core is essential to every movement you make, especially during your workouts. Working on your core strength and utilising your core in every exercise will help you to avoid injury, keep your back healthy and keep you balanced with correct form. At first, it requires conscious thought to activate these muscles and prepare them in each movement, yet over time, you will begin to do this automatically.
Activities such as yoga and pilates are a great way to shift your mindset towards prioritising your core. Over time, this awareness can be used in all types of training and exercise, from running and walking, to weight training and resistance exercises.
Your core muscles play a huge role in the activities we do in everyday life, so it is worth keeping them in shape and making them a priority. A strong core will literally support you through your life.
Diversity Is Key
Like so many things in life, when we find something we like and are comfortable with, we tend to stick with it. When it comes to working out, our body is very intelligent and will adjust to any workout routine in just six weeks time. This means that to constantly be pushing your edge and seeing results, you have to switch things up. This doesn’t mean getting a whole new routine every six weeks, even making little tweaks is beneficial – like changing up the order of your strength exercises.
Mixing up your workouts between things like cardio, yoga, weight training and pilates helps to really ensure you are working all muscle groups and focusing on different areas of the body.
Furthermore, switching up between cardio and strength training in the same session offers great rewards. This may look like 10 minutes cardio (running, biking, rowing etc), then three or four strength moves such as lunges or biceps curls. When you repeat this 2-3 more times you get a great full-body workout in less than an hour. More commonly known as high intensity interval training (or HIIT), these short yet efficient workouts are ideal for those with a busy schedule or if you are squeezing your workout into your lunch break!
Research shows you can achieve more progress in a mere 15 minutes of interval training done three times a week than jogging on the treadmill for an hour. Not only do you burn more calories during a HIIT workout, you will also continue to burn more fat and calories in the 24 hours afterwards. Shorter workouts with better results – sounds too good to be true!
When you are going to the trouble to prioritise your health and scheduling workouts into your week, its good to know that they are working for you too! Try incorporating these 5 tips into your routine and see what a difference it makes to your motivation and performance levels.
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