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Break on Through to the Other Side! Five Workout Tips to Take Your Fitness Regimen to the Next Level

Getting in shape follows a typical arc. You see dramatic results fairly quickly, you keep seeing steady gains for a while, and then comes the dreaded training plateau. You’re still working out just as hard, but you’ve stopped making gains. Either your weight gets stuck, or your muscles stop building, or your endurance ceases to improve.

If you’re not seeing the results you’d like, even though you’re training just as hard as always, it might be time to take a look at what you’re doing before and after your workout. Use these tips to break through your training plateau and take your fitness regimen to the next level.

Phone It In: There are lots of ways your smart phone can help you exercise. Do you move faster and work harder when you’ve got some high-energy music to listen to, or would you stay interested in your workout longer if you listened to your favorite podcast while breaking a sweat? If you’re the kind of person who’s motivated by meeting a set goal, a fitness app can help you track your progress, replete with nifty graphs. Before you exercise, get whatever you need set up so you don’t have to stop in the middle to fiddle with your phone.

Eat Some Healthy Carbs: Carbs give you the fuel you need to work hard, but that doesn’t mean you should grab a candy bar before you hit the gym. Try a slow-burning carb with some fiber — like an apple, a banana, or a bowl of oatmeal — to keep you going through the whole workout. Everyone’s body is different, but an hour before workout time works well for many people.

Hydrate: Before and after you exercise, make sure to hydrate. Unless you’re running a marathon, you don’t need a fancy sports drink, especially since many of them come with a lot of added sugar, which you definitely don’t need. Water is always the best choice. How much water should you drink before and after exercise? More than you think! Here are some suggestions: from the health blog Greatist:[1]

  • 17-20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercise
  • 8 ounces of water 20-30 minutes before starting exercise
  • 7-10 ounces of water every 10-20 minutes during exercise
  • 8 ounces of water within 30 minutes of exercise

Stretch: This is also something to do both before and after a workout. And the kind of stretch you do matters. Many experts recommend doing dynamic, rather than static, stretches before you work out. What’s the difference?

A dynamic stretch takes a muscle or joint through a challenging and repetitive movement in order to prepare it for exercise. A static stretch is one in which you hold a less challenging position for up to a minute; it helps a muscle relax and is better done after exercise. Done before exercise, static stretches may actually inhibit your muscles’ ability to work.  Here’s a more in-depth explanation: http://running.competitor.com/2014/07/injury-prevention/dynamic-stretching-vs-static-stretching_54248

Enjoy a Juice Plus+ Complete Shake: It’s important to consume protein after a workout, because protein helps repair any muscle fibers that might have been damaged during exercise and also encourages muscle growth. A Juice Plus+ Complete Shake provides 13 grams of soy and other natural proteins your body can absorb more quickly than if you ate a large steak. . (Not to mention 8 grams of fiber). Juice Plus+ Complete Shakes also provide calcium, vitamins B, C, and D, and other nutrients in a convenient, great-tasting, gluten-free, non-dairy, and low-glycemic package.

What are your pre- and post-workout tips? Share in the comments below!


References
[1] How much water should you drink while exercising? Feb. 5, 2015. http://greatist.com/fitness/how-much-water-should-you-drink-while-exercising-infographic 

 

 

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