Many of us know and/or have seen plenty of people with gym memberships, street runners, etc. who, although they “workout”, they’ve remained the same or even declined as far as their health and appearance. Some of these mortals may have even shared their frustration as to why they can’t seem to change how they look and become healthier. After all, they’re spending an hour to an hour and a half pushing weights, running, walking, sweating, etc. They begin to feel as thought they’re wasting time and not getting much at all from working out. While it’s likely the exercise they’re engaging in is having some positive effects on their muscles, bones, and organs, there are, however, likely some things they can/should do to feel they’re exercise hour is time well spent.
Firstly, and these two tend to go hand in hand, get a good nights sleep and figure out what pre-workout meal or drink works for you. As you know, six to eight hours of uninterrupted, deep sleep is recommended. Good sleep is necessary for your muscles to function, change and grow. I can not stress the importance of this enough. If you want to see muscle gains and belly fat losses, get your sleep! Ok, you wake up feeling well rested. Now what do you do? Well, what makes you feel energized and focused for your exercise session? Coffee? Pre-workout drink? (please be careful with these) Eating a snack? Whatever it might be, figure out what makes you feel good and ready to get busy at the gym, on the track, etc. If you like to eat prior, try to give yourself at least a half an hour before engaging in rigorous activity.
Next, have some sort of plan of action. It’s good that you have a gym membership, show up a few times a week, and actually do some things. Yet, if it’s gains, change, and fat loss you’re after, then you need to have a good idea of what you’re going to do and about how long it might take, and the gains, change, and loss you’re seeking. Are you trying to build mass? Gain lean muscle and lose fat? What would you like to change about your body and how? If you are unfamiliar with the machines and/or equipment at the gym, then have someone show you around and the proper techniques. All too often, I notice people wandering, seemingly aimlessly, around the gym doing machines, etc. improperly. Not only will this hinder your progress, it leaves you vulnerable to muscle imbalances and even injury.
Lastly, you’ve slept well and had your pre-workout meal or drink. You got your game plan ready to go. You go to the gym or wherever and have a fantastic exercise session! Now what? Here’s where and why so many don’t realize the gains, change, and loss they desire. What you eat and drink half hour to two hours after is critical to maximizing the aforementioned efforts you put into getting your sleep and preparing for activity, devising a plan, executing it, and having a great, efficient workout. Of course what you consume all day is important. However, that post-workout window has been shown to be crucial. This is when your muscles crave lots of protein and good carbs, fiber, proper fats, and hydration to grow and recover.
So, if you’re not at the gym, track, or racquet club just to socialize (which is fine), be away from something/someone, or network, and you want to see gains, change, and loss, then you know what to do. Get six to eight hours of good sleep, figure out what pre-workout meal or drink preps you for activity, make a plan, get it done, and have an excellent, clean post-workout meal and drink to augment your workout and efforts. Now you know what to do. Have some fun and get it done!