Get the Most Out of Your Workout

After exercising, you should feel relaxed, energized and looking forward to your next workout.


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Hydrating and fueling the body help optimize workout sessions.

Image provided by Shutterstock

It is time to work out…how can you get the best of yourself involved to get the greatest result?  Here are simple action steps you can take before, during and after your workout to maximize your results.

BEFORE

1. Fuel up & hydrate. One to two hours before your workout, eat a light meal like a bagel with some peanut butter or a banana with some milk. This provides the energy your muscles will need to effectively burn fat during the workout. Drink 1 to 2 cups of fluid about two hours prior to exercising, then a ½ to 1 cup immediately before.

2. Warm up. Regardless of the type of exercise you do, preparing your body with less rigorous activity may help prevent injuries.

3. Get psyched! Preparing yourself mentally will help you achieve maximum energy when you exercise.

DURING

1. Hydrate & refuel. Bring a water bottle and drink every 10 minutes, consuming 1–3 cups of cool water during an hour-long workout. Continue to drink water after your workout to fully re-hydrate. Drink 2 cups of water for every pound lost. If you are working out longer than 60 minutes, you will need to consume more calories. A balanced meal of carbohydrates, protein and fat, such as half a turkey sandwich, yogurt or a Luna bar work great.

2. Use the mind-body connection. Thinking about your workout and concentrating helps you get the most out of each movement.

3. Watch your heart rate. Staying at 55 – 65% of maximum heart rate will help your body store energy effectively.  Staying at 65 – 75% will help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently and working at 75 – 85% will improve your performance.

4. Pump your muscles to increase their power. Twice a week perform 12–15 repetitions of muscular conditioning exercises. Focus on large muscle groups and work each group to fatigue, while maintaining proper form.

5. Listen to and trust your body, if you need to cut your session short or slow your pace, do so.   

AFTER

1. Eat! Your body needs food within an hour or so of your workout. Munch on complex carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice) to replace the glycogen your muscles lost during the workout (30–60 grams is a good rule of thumb). Also, make sure to include at least three servings of protein during the day to maintain blood glucose levels, brain functions and energy (approximately 60 grams/day or women and 90 grams/day for men). This will help build muscle tissue and supercharge your metabolism.

2. Listen to your body. Was your workout too hard? Too easy? You should feel relaxed, energized and looking forward to your next workout.

Julie Luther, a member of our 2016 Fit Family Challenge Panel of Experts, is the founder and president of Julie Luther’s PurEnergy Fitness Center located at 1905 Ashwood Court in Greensboro. She has worked with business, community organizations and individuals for over 26 years in promoting mind body wellness. You can contact Julie at julieluther.com, follow her on twitter @julieluther2008 or “like” PurEnergy Fitness Center on Facebook.

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