Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide to the Fasting Diet
Fasting is something that’s played a key role in virtually all of the world’s major religions and dates back millions of years. Today, though, while fasting is still observed for many religious purposes, it’s become a new lifestyle that helps individuals lose weight, have more energy, and fight disease.
While fasting isn’t a new concept, intermittent fasting is something that has emerged in the past few years. It has gained popularity due to the incredible benefits it offers against signs of aging and disease.
Keep reading to learn about intermittent fasting and why this may want to be a lifestyle change you make.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is a process that involves cycling in and out of periods where you eat and don’t eat. While people do experience (often significant) weight loss with this eating schedule, it’s not as much of a diet plan as it is a lifestyle choice that provides a wide array of health benefits.
There are several methods used with intermittent fasting. These include:
The 5:2 Method
This is the method that allows you to eat normally for five days a week. The two days after are for fasting, but you still eat. The goal is to keep calorie intake on this day between 500 and 600.
The Eat-Stop-Eat Method
This method is a bit different. With this, you restrict all food for a period of 24 hours. This is repeated two to three times per week.
The 16/8 Method
Here, you consume all your daily calories within a shortened period of time. In most cases, you eat in a period of six to eight hours.
The remaining 14 to 16 hours during the day, you fast. This is the method that can be done daily, or several times a week.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
When you switch to intermittent fasting, it will expand your limits while boosting your performance in several ways. Some of the specific benefits offered by this way of eating include:
- Increase energy
- Reduce bad cholesterol
- Protect against various neurodegenerative diseases
- Boost weight loss
- Promote longevity
- Reduce insulin resistance
- Promote cellular repair
As you can see, the benefits are vast. As a result, this may be something you should consider trying.
Tips to Make the Most of Intermittent Fasting
While not eating for specific amounts of time alone offers health benefits, if you want to make the most of this lifestyle choice, there are a few other tips you need to use.
It can’t be a free-for-all when you do eat, as this is going to negate many of the benefits this way of eating offers. Some additional tips include:
- Avoid refined grains and sugars (choose low-carb snacks when possible)
- Don’t snack between meals
- Remain active
- Avoid snacking or eating in the evening and at night
By using these tips, the results of your intermittent fasting will be much more evident.
Be Healthier and Happier with Intermittent Fasting
As you can see, there are several options to consider if you are interested in intermittent fasting. As a result, you aren’t going to feel as deprived or hungry while following this way of eating.
Do you want to make a change to be healthier and happier? If so, let us help! Visit the 21 Day Transformation Challenge to learn more.
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Postpartum Weight Loss: 7 Daily Habits To Help You Shed That Baby Fat
Postpartum Weight Loss: 7 Daily Habits To Help You Shed That Baby Fat
You’re basking in the bliss of new motherhood, but those baby pounds just won’t drop. What can you do? Adapt these 7 Habits to aid postpartum weight loss.
The average woman should gain around 25 to 35 pounds during pregnancy. The amount you gain depends on your original weight pre-pregnancy.
After giving birth, you do lose some weight, however, your body won’t look the way it did before getting pregnant.
Are you ready to lose those baby pounds? Now is the time to do something about it and adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle.
Need some motivation? Keep reading to learn about 7 habits that can aid postpartum weight loss.
Where Does All the Baby Weight Go?
First thing, don’t be discouraged. Your body just did an amazing thing–you created a life and brought it into this world. For that, you should applaud your body.
Wondering where all that baby weight goes? Here’s a breakdown of the weight you gain during pregnancy–assuming you gain 35 pounds and you’re at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy:
- 8 pounds: Baby
- 2-3 pounds: Amniotic Fluid
- 4 pounds: Blood and other body fluids
- 5-9 pounds: Fat, protein, and nutrients
- 2-3 pounds: Breasts
- 2-5 pounds: Uterus
- 2-3 pounds: Placenta
As you can see, the weight you gain during pregnancy is needed to nourish your baby in utero and prepare your body for birth and breastfeeding.
How Much Weight Will I Lose Postpartum?
You’ll probably lose 10 to 12 pounds after giving birth. That’s the weight of your baby plus the placenta and other fluids.
A few days postpartum, you can expect to lose an additional 5 pounds of water weight.
If you’re breastfeeding, it will help your uterus contract back to its original size faster. You can expect your uterus to shrink back by about 6 weeks.
However, you may still look pregnant after a couple of months postpartum. Your abdominal muscles have stretched out, so you need exercise and time to get back into shape.
How Long After I Have the Baby Can I Begin a Weight Loss Plan?
Don’t expect to get back into shape a week or two after having your baby. In fact, it’s best to wait until your 6-week postpartum appointment so that your doctor can clear you for working out. You want to allow your body to rest for the first few weeks so that you don’t cause further injury or strain.
Make Realistic Goals
Remember that it took 9 months for you to gain the pregnancy weight, so you should expect around the same time to shed it. And if you gained more than 35 pounds, you might need longer to lose the weight.
You should aim to lose about a pound every week or two. If you lose the weight gradually, you’re more likely to keep it off and maintain your weight.
Losing Weight While Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding can help you lose the weight quicker. That’s because you can burn between 300-500 calories a day from breastfeeding.
However, you should wait at least six weeks before dieting if you’re breastfeeding. You want to first establish a regular milk supply, and cutting calories can affect your supply early on.
Habits to Aid Postpartum Weight Loss
Ready to start on your postpartum weight loss plan? Here are 7 daily habits to adopt.
1. Create a Workout Plan
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week.
This may be obvious, but it’s important to create a workout plan and to follow through with it. Before you start your new fitness regimen, you should decide how often you want to exercise and what times and days you can do it. With a little one in tow, it’s not going to be as easy to drop by the gym whenever you want.
Set a schedule based on your baby’s schedule. If your baby sleeps well through the early morning, you can wake up early and workout. If you prefer evening workouts, you can put your baby to bed and then go to the gym during that time.
Do what works for you. Some women find it easier to work out at home instead of the gym. If you have a gym room, you can exercise there or if your apartment has a community gym.
You can even workout in the comfort of your living room. The best thing about exercising is that you can customize your workout based on your needs. If you can’t find the time for longer workouts, you can try mini-workouts throughout the day.
Stick with It
Once you set a workout regimen for the week, you want to stick with it. You can team up with another workout buddy so you can motivate each other and work out together.
You can also join an online community for motivation and for workout tips and advice postpartum.
Another tip is to use fitness apps or a smartwatch to track your workouts and progress. There are many apps available that track your weight loss and send out reminders and motivations to help you reach your goal.
Set Mini Goals
It might help to set mini goals to help you get to your larger, overall goal. If you want to lose 20 pounds overall, you can set 4 mini goals to lose 5 pounds. That way, you can reach your mini-goals faster and will be motivated to keep going.
2. Drink More Water
Drinking water can help you lose the weight faster. Studies show that your resting energy expenditure goes up by 24-30% when you drink water.
Another study showed that women who increased their consumption of water to over 34 ounces a day lost 4.4 more pounds within a year.
Drinking water can also help curb your appetite. Research shows that drinking water before breakfast can decrease the number of calories you eat for that meal by 13%.
Drinking water can help fill you up and you can end up consuming fewer calories. And if you’re breastfeeding, you need to drink more water to replace the fluids you lose while nursing throughout the day.
How can you tell if you need to drink more water? A good indicator is the color of your urine. If your urine is dark-colored, you should be drinking more water.
3. Prepare Meals and Snacks Ahead of Time
Depending on your schedule, you can make this a daily habit or a weekly habit. Meal prepping your meals and snacks ahead of time can save you time, money, and effort. It can also help prevent you from binging on junk food when you’re hungry or craving certain foods.
If you do it weekly, you can pick a day of the week–Sunday is usually best–to make all your meals and snacks for the week. You can cook one or two large dinners and store it in the fridge or freezer for the week. You should separate the meals according to the days of the week.
You can also prep your snacks. You can make yogurt parfaits with Greek yogurt and fresh berries. You can also make overnight oatmeal for breakfast. For snacks, cut up veggies and fruits and place in small containers or plastic bags.
It can be difficult to find the time to make yourself a mealÂ with a baby. This way, you’ll always have something to eat on hand throughout the week. All you need is to invest in some plastic containers or some type of container to separate your meals in.
4. Walk with Your Baby
Another daily habit to adopt–take daily walks. If you take a brisk walk, you can count it as a part of your daily exercise.
Depending on your neighborhood, you can opt to walk to nearby stores instead of driving. If you need milk, you can take a walk to the nearby grocery store. This is a great way to burn calories, and it’s also an environmentally-friendly choice.
You can also show your baby the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. Point out the trees, the birds, and the color of the sky. You can push your baby in the stroller or put them in a baby carrier so you’re on the go.
You can also add walks to your daily schedule. Park far from the store so that you take a mini walk through the parking lot.
If you have a two-story home, go upstairs to change baby’s diaper. This way, you’re always moving and active.
5. Set Limits
There are some foods you should limit if you want to shed the pounds. Candy and soda, for example, you can do without.
However, instead of cutting out these foods, you should replace them with healthier options. For example, instead of drinking soda at dinner time, you can drink fruit-infused water. This way, you won’t feel like you’re depriving yourself of your favorite sweets.
Other healthy substitutions include replacing candy with sweet fruits such as cherries or bananas. You can replace chips with celery or cut up cucumbers.
Another thing you can do is get rid of all the junk and processed foods in your house. Do an inventory of your fridge and pantry. Get rid of unhealthy foods and replace with lots of fruits, veggies, lean meats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy items.
6. Don’t Skip Meals
Another word of advice: don’t skip meals. You should especially not skip breakfast. The old adage is true, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
When you wake up in the morning, you have low blood sugar from not eating the night before. You need breakfast to raise your blood sugar and give you that energy boost in the morning
If you skip breakfast, you’re more likely to feel tired throughout the day. You’re also more likely to overeat later in the day to replenish the calories you lost. This makes it harder to control food cravings to avoid overeating.
Even if you don’t feel hungry in the morning, you should at least eat a small, healthy breakfast like yogurt or boiled eggs.
If you eat your regular meals throughout the day, you can maintain your energy levels and have better control over your cravings.
7. Get Some Rest
One-third of us are not sleeping enough. Sleep has become a luxury these days. Many times you hear new parents boasting about how much sleep they didn’t get.
However, getting enough rest is an important form of self-care. It’s true that not getting enough sleep can affect your weight.
In fact, sleeping enough hours during the night is just as important for losing weight as eating healthy and working out. When you’re sleep-deprived, it affects the decision-making part of your brain–the frontal lobe. You’re less likely to make healthy decisions about what you eat.
Research shows that sleep-deprived people were more likely to snack late at night. They were also more likely to pick high-carb snacks.
If you’re tired, you have less strength to say no to food cravings. You might go for that chocolate bar or ice cream cone when you know you shouldn’t.
What’s more, lack of sleep increases your cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that makes your body hold onto energy. This means that your body is more likely to hold onto fat which means a slower metabolism.
Studies reveal that people who slept less throughout a two-week period lost 55% less weight even with the same caloric intake. They were also more hungry and less energetic throughout the day.
How much sleep do you need? Experts say you need between 7 to 9 hours every night.
This can be difficult postpartum with the baby up constantly and your neverending list of things to do. You can at least rest when the baby is napping and sleep when the baby sleeps at night.
Final Advice for Shedding That Baby Fat
Our final advice for postpartum weight loss is to stay focused and not give up. As long as you’re making steady progress, keep going to reach your goal.
Our 21 Day Body Transformation Challenge combines diet and exercise to transform your look. If you want to turn heads for the right reasons, find out more here.
The Most Important Meal of the Day: 10 Delicious Low-Cal Breakfast Ideas You Need to Try
The Most Important Meal of the Day: 10 Delicious Low-Cal Breakfast Ideas You Need to Try
Are you one of the 43% of Americans who are actively trying to make healthier choices in their lifestyle? If you are, you also might be in the 80% of people who believe that eating a healthy diet requires you to make sacrifices.
While you might not be able to eat a daily McMuffin or indulge in bacon fat eggs loaded with cheese and a side of oily hashbrowns, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice delicious meals while also eating healthier foods.
It might sound too good to be true that you can still eat nutritious low-calorie breakfasts to help with weight loss that taste anything but low calorie.
But it can be done with a bit of meal prep and trying out different recipes that work for you and your taste preferences.
Don’t believe us? Well, get ready to be proved wrong. This list of our 10 favorite low cal breakfast ideas and recipes is going to make you a believer.
Thinking of Skipping Breakfast Altogether? Think Again
You might be thinking to yourself that it’s better to save on calories by skipping breakfast altogether. But, did you know that skipping breakfast has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity/weight gain?
There’s a reason that breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day. Scientists believe that getting those essential nutrients and energy from food in the morning is crucial to regulating your hunger throughout the day.
Think about it from your own personal experience: when you skip breakfast, aren’t you starving by lunchtime? Aren’t you more likely to overeat or overindulge on snacks or at your next meal because you’re so hungry from not eating in the morning?
Not eating breakfast can also hurt your overall energy levels and mental performance throughout the day.
You’ll feel tired, unmotivated, a lack of concentration, etc. You also won’t have the energy to exercise, which is a crucial part of a weight loss journey.
Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you to stop skipping your morning meal, let’s get into some delicious recipes you can try out without going over on your allotted calories.
1. Fruit Protein Smoothie
Not everyone has the biggest appetite in the morning, which can lead to the desire to skip breakfast. But since you now know that you shouldn’t do that, even those who can’t stomach solid foods in the morning will be able to get the right start with a fruit and protein smoothie.
Studies show that eating protein in the morning can ward off hunger pangs, keep you feeling fuller for longer, and fight off cravings you might have for not-so-healthy foods (looking at you, office donuts).
Loading your smoothies with healthy fruits adds to your daily fiber intake, which can also help keep you full until your next meal, all while staying super low in calories.
Try out this recipe:
- 1/4 cup of frozen blueberries
- 1/4 cup of frozen raspberries
- 1 small container of non-fat yogurt
- 1/2 cup of milk (either skim, almond, or soy)
- 1 scoop protein powder
This will make a delicious smoothie that’s filling, nutritious, and under 300 calories!
2. Poached Egg Over Toast
Eggs are another excellent protein source to try out in the morning. They’re packed with protein, selenium, healthy fats, and healthy cholesterol. They’re also naturally low in calories: one large egg is only about 80 calories.
To avoid adding any extra unhealthy calories, don’t cook the eggs in butter or oil. You can cook it on a non-stick pan or with zero calorie spray, or you could try poaching or hard/soft boiling it.
Throw two large eggs over a piece of high-fiber multigrain toast, a little bit of hot sauce, and a cup of coffee, and you have a simple and easy low-calorie breakfast that will keep you full and focused.
3. Yogurt and Fruit Parfait
As with both protein smoothies and eggs, yogurt is a high-protein option to add to your breakfast recipe arsenal.
One study showed that people who ate yogurt throughout the week had a lower chance of being overweight or obese. The same study found these results were amplified when those people also ate diets high in fruit.
So combine the two by adding together a container of your favorite yogurt (Greek yogurt is highest in protein!) with some berries and bananas. You can also add in some healthy granola or nuts if you feel like you need to add a bit more substance to the meal.
Really want to cut down on your calories? Opt for plain yogurt with no added sugar and let the natural sugars in the fruit provide the sweetness.
4. Nut Butter, Banana, and Chia Seeds, Oh My!
This breakfast combines three “super breakfast foods” into one amazing meal.
Let’s start with bananas. Bananas are super high in fiber while also being low in calories. Fiber, as we mentioned before, can help ward off cravings and keep you feeling full for longer.
Studies also show adding fruit like bananas into your diet is strongly correlated with weight loss.
Chia seeds are also high in fiber, giving the same benefits we’ve gone over. But, they also have the unique quality of absorbancy. Chia seeds absorb liquid and expand after you consume them.
This will make you feel fuller. These tiny seeds are also high in protein and reduce levels of the “hunger hormone”, ghrelin.
Lastly, your favorite nut butter, whether that’s peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, or whatever, is going to be packed with protein and healthy fats. While nut butter is high in calories, you only need a tiny amount, so it shouldn’t overload this recipe.
Take a small amount of nut butter, spread it on a slice of toast, and top it with sliced bananas and chia seeds for the perfect balanced breakfast.
5. Apple Cinnamon Oat Bran Muffin
We bet you thought that you’d have to give up all breakfast pastries to stay low cal in the morning, didn’t you?
But these apple cinnamon oat bran muffins are only a little over 120 calories per muffin. They’re also packed with protein, glycemic controlling oatmeal and bran, and fiber.
Spread a bit of nut butter or healthy jam on these muffins as you go for a filling and delicious breakfast.
6. Loaded Veggie Omelet
Let’s give you another savory option after giving almost only sweet ones. Omelets are notorious for getting unhealthy: remember that huge plate-sized one from your favorite dinner that oozed cheese and oil?
Yeah, this isn’t that. It’s just as delicious though and probably 1000 times healthier.
- Two large eggs
- Zero calorie cooking spray
- Diced onion
- Mixed peppers
- 1/2 cup chopped broccoli
- 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup spinach
All of these veggies are going to add very few calories but plenty of volume and nutrients to this meal. That combined with the eggs is going to keep you full for just around 300 calories.
First, throw the spinach into the pan to wilt. Once it’s reduced in size, add in the mushrooms and onion to cook down. Once the onions are translucent, add in the rest of the veggies and season with salt and pepper.
Lastly, add in your whisked eggs and cook everything into an omelet form. Season as you go with some salt and pepper. Dill is another great seasoning to add to eggs.
Top it off with some of your favorite hot sauce, and you have a large and filling breakfast that low in calories that also won’t make you feel gross the rest of the day like your old diner favorite probably will.
7. Sweet Potato Breakfast Burrito
This breakfast burrito is packed with food, you’ll be shocked to learn that the entire thing is only around 300 calories.
The protein comes from both egg whites and black beans. The black beans are also high in fiber, which you know by now is beneficial for low-calorie breakfasts to stay filling.
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and have been shown to help regulate sugar levels. They also have healthy carbs that boost your energy and can help you burn calories in between meals. The avocado in this adds the perfect amount of creaminess along with healthy fats.
Here’s your ingredient list:
- 1 low carb whole wheat tortilla
- 1 large egg (separated white from the yolk)
- 1/2 of a sweet potato
- 2 teaspoons enchilada sauce
- Cumin, salt, and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce (optional)
- 1/4 avocado diced
- 1/4 cup of canned black beans, rinsed
Start by microwaving the sweet potato for around 5 minutes, or until it’s soft. Remove, separate the flesh from the skin, and mash in a bowl.
Next, beat your egg whites. Add to a pan over medium heat. While the eggs cook, combine your beans and all of your spices in a bowl.
Once the eggs are cooked, remove them from the pan.
Warm your tortilla, and get to burrito making! Add the eggs, potato, avocado, and bean mixture altogether. Before rolling the burrito, add in your enchilada and/or hot sauce.
This goes great with salsa and sour cream. To avoid the calories of sour cream, try plain Greek yogurt for low fat, lower calories, and a boost of protein!
8. Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes
Pancakes are another breakfast favorite you probably thought you’d never see again on a low-calorie diet. As with the muffin, you (fortunately) thought wrong!
This recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction is only 122 calories per pancake. Load two of them up with strawberries, bananas, a bit of peanut butter, and a dash of maple syrup for a breakfast that feels indulgent but still is only about 300 calories.
These pancakes are also filled with excellent sources of protein and fiber. The oatmeal in it has been linked to balancing blood sugar levels, maintaining fullness, reducing appetite, and helping your cardiovascular health.
9. Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwich
Let’s end with a staple: the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Are you surprised to see both bacon and cheese on a list of low cal breakfast ideas?
Well, so are we. Both bacon and cheese are usually high in harmful fat and cholesterol. However, this recipe uses lean turkey bacon that’s low in fat and high in delicious protein.
It also uses fat-free cheese to keep the fat, and the calories, low while also giving you the delicious bacon cheesy goodness we all crave once in a while.
In total, this yummy and easy to make breakfast sandwich is only around 200 calories. Beef it up with a slice of avocado to add a bit more pizzazz, or keep in simple and plain with a side of berries.
Low Cal Breakfast Ideas to Start Your Day Right
No matter what type of breakfast you crave, you can find at least an idea of what you should eat right here on this list.
Sweet or savory, hot or cold, each one of these low cal breakfast ideas will provide you with key energy and nutrients you need without the excessive calories that traditional breakfasts can bring.
And with the variety you see here, perhaps it gives you a bit more confidence that you can maintain a low calorie and nutritious diet without getting bored or only eating dull and bland salads for every meal.
These meals are also quick and easy to make, so you don’t have any excuse not to try them out!
While weight loss and staying healthy doesn’t seem as quick and easy as these recipes, it can be. Try out the 21 Day Transformation Challenge to see fast results getting you closer to your dream body with each day!
Contact us with any questions or to get for more information to get started.
12 Brilliant Gym Tips For A More Efficient Workout
12 Brilliant Gym Tips For A More Efficient Workout
Do you think you’re wasting time at the gym? Efficient workouts equal fewer excuses. Here are some gym tips to help you trim the fat off your workout routine.
Do you workout regularly? If so, you’re already in an elite group.
According to new research, although more than 75% of people claim they want to get in shape and look great, only 31% actually make exercise a routine habit.
Yet, are you getting the most from your time at the gym? Do you leave with sweat dripping, adrenaline pumping and those exertion-fueled endorphins running in your veins? Or, are you still struggling to see the results you crave?
If it’s the latter, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re sharing 12 simple gym tips that can help you supercharge your workouts and bump up the ROI on that membership.
Ready to learn more? Let’s get started!
1. Start with a Plan
You walk into the gym and take a long look around. There are treadmills on one wall, ellipticals on another and a giant weightlifting area. It’s inspiring. It’s exciting. It’s also incredibly overwhelming.
You spend more than a few minutes figuring out which area you want to visit first and which part of your workout you want to prioritize.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
If so, try planning out your next gym workout. Before you even get in the car and head out, jot down what you want to focus on, how long you want to spend there and in what order you’re going to tackle it all.
Doing so not only helps you stay organized and start your workout quicker. It also makes sure your heart rate doesn’t drop as you spend time perusing the options. One way to ensure you’re always ready to go? Have a backup plan ready in case the machines you want are full.
2. Shorten and Strengthen Your Workouts
It seems like simple logic: The longer you workout, the better you’ll look and feel, right?
If your usual gym session includes exercising for an hour or two at a slow, moderate pace, it’s time to kick it up a notch. Studies show that interval training, or working out in smaller, 10-30 minute bursts with rests in between, is more beneficial than marathon sweat sessions.
Why? You’ll increase your heart rate, build your endurance and maximize your speed when you focus on working your body to its top capacity. When you go for longer, something has to give and it’s usually your body’s performance.
So, the next time you’re looking at the indoor track and dreading that five-mile stretch you’ve been doing, try tackling one mile instead and see how much more powerful you feel.
High-Intensity Interval Training
A popular way to add shorter, more powerful workouts to your gym routine is to try high-intensity interval training or HIIT training. Put simply, this is the method of dividing your overall workout into blocks of intense exertion along with designated times for rest.
Focus on exercises that get your heart rate and lungs working to their top capacity, and sustain the movements for a few minutes at a time. Of course, if you have any cardio or health concerns, talk to your doctor before trying a HIIT routine. It is also recommended against for those just starting out in their fitness routine.
3. Add Protein
After an especially exhausting workout, your muscles need to rebuild themselves. This is true for both cardio-centric exercises as well as strength-building ones. To amplify the results you’ll see and improve your body’s ability to bounce back, it can be helpful to add an element of protein into your post-workout meal or snack.
A simple protein shake, made with either whey or soy, is a great way to recharge and refuel after your time at the gym. You can also find protein bars and other snacks that make refilling on the go both simple and quick.
While you sip or munch, you’ll be helping your body repair any damage it sustained during your workout. You’ll also give your immune system a boost, rebuild your stored glycogen, and regrow your muscles. It’s a simple trick that can cap off a great session and help you see results quicker.
4. Pump the Right Tunes
It might sound unimportant, but the idea that the right music can affect your workout is backed by science.
While there is no one-size-fits-all playlist that will make you magically grow those muscles you want, your best bet is to stick to jams that make you feel seriously inspired. From the soundtrack to Space Jam to Madonna, anything goes. One rule? If it puts you to sleep or makes you want to cry, save it for another time.
Instead, invest in a great pair of workout headphones and turn up the dial on those energy-infused rockers that make you want to holler, howl and show your strength. Start the playlist while you’re on the way to the gym and let that feeling follow you.
5. Do a Digital Detox
One surefire way to get less from your workout? Hop off the treadmill every five minutes to respond to that group chat, take a picture of your gear or post on social media.
Not only are you allowing your heart rate to fluctuate as you momentarily disengage, but you’re also losing that valuable mental focus. If you must have your phone on you, activate airplane or vibrate mode. Otherwise, leave it in the locker room.
6. Know Your Weights
You might be tempted to grab the heaviest weight at the gym to push yourself and look cool, but take a step back from those dumbells.
Using a too-heavy weight is just as ineffective as using one that’s too light. When you try to lift a boulder, chances are you can’t do many repetitions, if any at all. The ones you are able to manage are likely not executed properly.
On the other hand, a too-small weight isn’t activating your muscles effectively. The key is to find that sweet spot. Ideally, you want a weight that requires effort to lift and move but isn’t uncomfortable to curl.
It might take some trial and error but look for one that allows you to finish out your rep set. You want to challenged and struggling just a bit on the last few reps, but not throughout.
7. Journal Your Workouts
Just as a dieter monitors what he or she eats, if you want to get the most from your gym exercises, it’s helpful to write down your progress.
Keep track of when you exercised, what you did and how you felt. You might keep your notes in an old-fashioned notebook or on a fitness app. Either way, be specific. Note how many reps you did, what weights you used and any other important details.
When you go back the next time, take a look at your notes and see where you can push yourself a little. Add a few more reps, use a slightly heavier weight or incorporate a new machine you haven’t used yet.
8. Focus on Compound Movements
Wondering what to do at the gym? Your best bet is to find exercises that pull double or triple duty.
Known as compound movements, these are ones that work for more than one muscle group at a time and at least two of your joints. While there is a time and place for bicep curls and other routines that laser-focus on one area, compound workouts are a great way to maximize your time.
As you do these moves, you’ll build muscle mass, exert more energy, and burn more calories. Not sure where to start? Try a simple lunge or squat. Or, take that bicep curl a step further and flow into a shoulder press.
9. Find an Exercise You Love
It sounds simple, but one of our best workout tips is to find a workout routine you actually enjoy doing. If you aren’t passionate about something, your initial enthusiasm will only take you so far. After that, you’re just going through the motions, often to no avail.
Our interests and goals change over time, so don’t be afraid to reexamine your routine every so often to make sure it’s still enjoyable.
Whether you love running, biking, hiking, lifting or anything in between, find a workout that brings you alive both physically and mentally. That’s the only way to ensure you stick with it in the long run.
Still, need a little motivation to summit that mountain ahead of you? Try reaching out to a personal challenge coach who can encourage you to push ahead on your fitness journey.
10. Fine-Tune Your Form
All the repetitions in the world won’t give you results if you’re not doing them correctly. While it’s fine to add on more weight as you grow stronger, make sure you’re not sacrificing your form as you do so.
This is where a personal trainer can be valuable. Work with one at your gym to make sure you’re performing each exercise the right way. Doing so can help you prevent injury and safely engage all the muscles you’re supposed to be working.
While you’re still learning, stick with a lighter weight and focus on maneuvering it before you build up to a higher level.
11. Train Your Brain
Exercise is as much about mental strength as it is about physical. To this end, it’s helpful to focus your mind on each part of your workout as you’re going through it. Think about the muscles you’re activating, your posture, and the form you’re trying to maintain.
As you do so, you’ll automatically become more invested in the routine rather than just going through the motions. If you find yourself spacing out, talking with others around you or watching the television screen too often, take a break to re-center.
12. Get More Rest
If you think your muscles are working during your workout, you should see them afterward. As your body repairs itself from the exertion and strain you put on it, this is a valuable and important time in your fitness regimen.
If you’re pushing through back-to-back workouts without resting in between sessions, you’re denying your body that vital time. It’s no wonder, then, that you haven’t seen the immediate results you’re looking for. As your muscle fibers are put to the test, they develop small tears that must heal to grow.
Moreover, the next time you visit the gym, you’re not only sleep-deprived and sloppy, but you’re also setting yourself up for injury.
Though it might be against your nature to indulge in rest, it’s essential that you do so. If you suffer from insomnia or have a difficult time falling and staying asleep, it’s worth a call to your doctor to address any underlying health conditions that might be attributed to the issue.
Ace Your Next Workout With These Gym Tips
We all want to make the best use of our time at the gym. It’s why we make the trek up there, gear up and carve out space in our schedule to sweat. Yet, it’s frustrating to think that you can put so much into your workout and still feel dissatisfied with the results.
That’s where we come in.
Our team of coaches is dedicated to making sure you don’t run through your next workout aimlessly. We’ll work one-on-one with you to help you define, refine and achieve your fitness goals. From the foods you eat to the routines you perform, we understand that great health is a lifestyle, not a fad.
If you’re just getting started, Our 21 Day Body Transformation Challenge combines diet and exercise to transform your look. If you want to turn heads for the right reasons, find out more here.