Let’s be honest, after a long day at the office you might be lacking the energy and motivation required to make it through your workout.
You don’t have hours to spend at the gym, but you want to keep progressing towards your fitness goals. Consider using these easy to implement tips to get the most out of every workout.
1. Bring your MP3 player. Customizing a playlist for your workout has been shown to improve performance. Researchers have found that people who listen to up-beat music get significantly more out of each workout. They worked harder, burning more calories and elevating their heart rate higher than that of individuals who listened to slower music or no music at all.
2. Find a workout buddy. Working out with a partner can help you stay motivated, making the entire gym experience more enjoyable. Having a workout partner will make you accountable to someone other than yourself, keeping you committed to your fitness goals.
3. Mix up your routine. Keep your muscles guessing by changing up your routine every 3 or 4 weeks. You will not become bored if you will have new challenges to tackle. You can change the amount of weight you are lifting, the intensity of workouts, or mix up and order of the exercises you perform.
4. Turn the television off! It’s tempting to lose yourself in your favorite show during an indoor cardio session. However, one study found that women worked out about 5 percent harder when they weren’t watching television than when they were. Because you are thinking about your show and not your workout, it is easy slack off as you lose touch with how much effort you are putting into your workout.
5. Create competition. There is nothing like a little friendly competition to increase motivation. Instead of spending 30 minutes on the treadmill, opt for a game of pick-up basketball or consider competing in your own “mini” triathlon. Pick three different forms of exercise and complete each effort for 10-15 minutes. For example, you could lift weights for 15 minutes, bike for 15 minutes, and then finish your workout with a 15 minute run.
6. Chart Your Progress. Use a fitness report card to keep track of these exercise
categories: Cardio, Strength, Flexibility and Attitude. Set goals for each workout and grade yourself A through F at least once a month. This report card will celebrate accomplishment and reveal areas where you need to make improvements.
7. Hydrate! Drink plenty of water throughout the day and on your way to the gym. If you’re dehydrated going into a workout, you will not be able to work as hard while training. When you’re dehydrated, you lack mental clarity, motivation and energy. Stay hydrated to avoid sabotaging your workout.
8. If you think you can, you will. Often times, optimism and positive thinking can carry you through a challenging workout. In one study, exercisers who thought positively were more likely to remain committed to a workout plan than those whose mind allowed them self to utter the phrase, “I can’t.”