Three weeks into your new fitness regime, how’s it going?
As well as hauling yourself to the gym/mat/field/pool, to get results you can’t just focus on the workout itself.
If you’re not seeing the progress you expected, skipping necessary steps in your wellbeing may be to blame.
Alongside making you feel better, taking care of yourself will also improve your performance when exercising – and can also keep you motivated, as you see slow growth that spurs you on to keep going.
Thankfully, breaking through a fitness barrier doesn’t require drastic changes. The PTs at Fitness Volt have shared their top tips to boost your progress – and most of them require very minimal effort.
Small steps for big gains.
The experts warn that if you aren’t getting enough sleep, you won’t feel energised enough to want to exercise.
‘Muscles release amino acids that build protein into the bloodstream during sleep which allows them to grow and recover, meaning you can get back to exercising sooner,’ they say.
You should aim for seven to nine hours, although the perfect amount of rest differs from person to person.
Not warming up
‘Warm-ups are often overlooked, despite them being a crucial element of a workout,’ say the Fitness Volt team.
‘Without warming up, you won’t have your maximum capabilities and you won’t be fully prepared for exercises as your muscles won’t be activated.’
Try jogging, arm and shoulder circles, for example, and avoid going all in without proper prep.
Even if you’re doing an early morning workout, you should eat something first to give your body energy.
‘Carbohydrates in particular will give your body the fuel it needs, so opt for foods such as whole-grain cereals or whole-wheat toast with some fruit,’ Fitness Volt’s PTs say.
‘However, stick to a small portion size so that you don’t feel sluggish for your workout.’
Protein is an essential nutrient in your diet – both for building muscle and losing weight.
The team say: ‘If weight loss is your goal, protein supports a healthy metabolism and reduces your appetite, while it helps to build muscle by helping to repair and maintain muscle tissue.
‘It’s recommended to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of your body weight for optimal results, so consider adding foods like chicken, Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, and walnuts to your diet which are all high in protein.’
If you struggle to reach your suggested intake, they advise trying protein shakes, which are handy for those who are always on the go.
Staying in your comfort zone
Switch up your routine so you don’t get bored and lose determination.
Your body gets used to exercise, so the PTs recommend ‘pushing yourself to the next level’
They claim that this ‘avoids a plateau and keeps your muscles challenged to continue building strength.’
‘You may assume that the more days you spend in the gym the better your results will be, but if you’re not leaving any time to rest, this can slow the process down,’ warns the PT team.
‘Over-exercising leads your body to exhaustion, thus affecting your performance when working out and preventing you from building strength.
‘Not to mention, letting your body recover avoids injuries which would only cause lack of exercise in the long run.’
Three rest days a week is ideal, but if you’re new to working out or are taking part in a particularly intense exercise, you may need to take more.
Listen to your body’s responses and you’ll be seeing results in no time.
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