The gym is a great place to get fit, and to meet other people working towards the same goal. Whether it’s the feel-good hormones released during exercise, or just guys feeling flirty, people at the gym can be some of the most friendly human beings you’ll ever meet. They share workout tips and advice, and help you with new machines you haven’t quite figured out yet.
Yet, so many of us think of the gym with dread in our hearts. We groan when we wake up and realize it’s gym day, and bemoan how far away from our fitness goals we currently are. But the gym isn’t anywhere near as terrible as we think it is, and the more often you go, the more you start to see that. So get up, pull on those yoga pants and tie up those running shoes.
But before you head out the door, check out these six tips to help you suffer a little less at the gym, on your run, while rock climbing – or however you choose to get that workout in.
1. Eat Well at Home
A wise personal trainer once said:
Building abs starts in the kitchen, not the gym.
This is as true for chiselling out six-pack abs, as it is for any other workout goal you may have. If you’re looking to build endurance, you’ll need more carbs. Want chiselled abs? You’ll need less carbs and salt, and more water and veggies. Trying to bulk up? You’ll need not just carbs, but fatty foods as well.
Eat for the body you want to build in the gym, and avoid working out on an empty stomach.
2. Get Some Shut-Eye
Getting enough rest before heading to the gym helps you stay focused and energetic during your workout. Slacking off on sleep might make you tire more easily, and encourage you to cut corners so you can get the workout over and done as soon as possible. However, try not to oversleep either as this can have the same effect.
A body in motion stays in motion, and a body in bed… well, it wants to stay there too.
While it’s better to work out halfheartedly than not at all, you aren’t doing those abs any favors by letting exhaustion get the best of you.
3. Drink Coffee
Even when you’ve gotten enough rest, a cup of coffee before a workout can give you an extra push to give it your best. Caffeine makes you more alert, and gives you more energy. It also increases your metabolic rate, and for many people, decreases the likelihood of overindulging and snacking throughout the day.
It does help that it also tastes pretty amazing – whether it comes from Dunking Donuts, Starbucks, or your kitchen.
4. Drink Water
Many people swear they just can’t drink water during a workout. For some people it makes them uneasy, and for others, it gives them a side stitch. Some people even claim they just don’t need water during a workout, and counteract this by drinking before and after their set.
However, as we sweat and lose water throughout our exercise routine, the body needs to replenish it. Failure to do so can lead to fatigue, which often limits the intensity of our exercise. It may also cause us to cramp more easily, and raise our pulse.
5. Good Workout Partner
Finding a good workout partner is one of the best ways to make working out more fun. It also decreases the likelihood of us skipping out on the gym, a run, or a climb. This is because most of us would rather not disappoint our friends, spouse, co-workers – or whoever our partners are for the gym. Disappointing just ourselves is so much easier.
Having a partner with a higher fitness level than yourself, or who is better at certain things than you, can also help you to push harder. Seeing them accomplish what you can’t handle just yet, reminds you that it’s a real possibility if you just keep trying. My personal trainer once gave this advice before my first 5KM race:
When you start the race, find someone who runs faster than you. Try your best to keep up with them. But if you can’t, at least make sure they never leave your sight.
6. Great Workout Music
If you can’t find a good workout partner, or would rather work out alone anyway, then try some music. Skip the sophisticated classics, the smooth jazz, and the slow love songs.
Find something more upbeat to workout to and create a playlist for just that. Great genres to choose from include metal, hard rock, rap, hip-hop, industrial music, upbeat pop, and dubstep – pretty much anything that would make you wanna get up and bob your head or dance.
What gets you through your workout routine?
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.