Five ways to enhance your workout or exercise regime

Trying to lose weight or get fit(ter)? Discover five ways you can enhance your workout.

Starting a new exercise routine from scratch can be daunting. You feel so far from where you want to be, you can’t envisage ever getting there. But remember: everyone started from this point.

The people you see effortlessly jogging past, or pumping an eye-watering amount of weights at the gym are able to do that because they kept working towards their goals.

To help you start (and maintain) your new fitness goals, here are five ways you can give your body the assistance it needs to work as efficiently as possible – and give you the best chance of sticking to your goals.

1) Warm up properly 

Your warmup can dictate how your body reacts to everything you are about to do at the gym. If you have a solid warmup, you have muscles that will have more strength to do more throughout your workouts.

A good warmup involves some light cardio to get your heart rate pumping, some light bodyweight exercises, such as squats and push ups, and some light stretching to get your blood flowing.

It’s also important to have a good cool-down routine too. Once you’ve completed your workout, do some light jogging to help release any tension. 

2) Vary your workout

Try to have a wide variety of workouts to choose from. Not only will different routines enable you to work different parts of your body, but you won’t get bored repeating the same exercises day in, day out.

It’s also vital that you also change up your workout every few weeks so that you aren’t constantly following the same routines. Your body can get too comfortable with same exercises and, if you aren’t ready to add more weight, then consider changing your exercise routines

3) Drink plenty of water

Water can make the world of difference to your workouts. Some people are shocked at how their body reacts when they clearly have not been hydrating properly.

For a start, when you’re dehydrated, your body won’t be able to function properly, causing your heart to work even harder to pump blood around your body – and making it feel like your cardiovascular system is working harder than it should.

Your body will also find it harder to cool down (you need fluid to sweat). And, while mild dehydration will just make you feel uncomfortable and your workout feel harder, severe dehydration can lead to heat stroke, kidney failure, and seizures if it’s not treated properly.

How much water you need to drink depends on your gender, build, and length and intensity of your workout (you can see what you need to consume in this infographic).

3) Keep your workouts short

Depending on your fitness goals, the duration you should be exercising for can vary from person to person. But if you want to lose lose weight, gain muscle, or simply stay fit, you’ll notice the benefits of keeping workouts short.

How short? Around 30-45 minutes is a good amount of time to get you fit and moving. High intensity training is known to deliver results faster than a longer, slower moving workout. 

4) Eat afterwards 

It’s important to refuel your body properly after a workout. When you work out, your muscles use up their glycogen stores for fuel, and some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down and damaged.

So, post-workout your body needs help rebuilding its glycogen stores and repairing your muscle proteins. Consuming carbs and protein after a workout helps your body to decrease muscle protein breakdown, grow muscle protein synthesis, restore your glycogen stores and generally enhances your recovery.

If you don’t fancy tucking into a large meal, you can instead opt for a protein shake or vitamin-filled drink to help your body recover and rebuild. hat help aid in recovery and building your body.

5) Get into a realistic routine

Like anything in life, if you want to make working out a regular habit, don’t throw yourself into it with a burst of enthusiasm, and hit the gym every day.

Its unrealistic to continue this long term, and you’re just setting yourself up for failure by embarking on a routine you can’t maintain. Once you miss a day or two, your enthusiasm will wane and, with no set routine to get used to, you’ll start finding excuses not to workout.

Instead, think realistically how often you can, and want to, workout and plan a routine based on that. It’s far better to start slowly with a routine you feel confident you can keep up.

Enjoy the benefits of getting (and keeping) fit

Good physical health is about so much more than having a beautiful body. Yes, you’ll love the confidence that comes from feeling and looking fit. You’ll also enjoy better physical health.

But for us, probably the most important benefit that comes from working out is the mental benefits. The endorphins released by exercise give up an uplift in mode that lasts long after we leave the gym, netball court or yoga studio – and have a positive impact on every area of our life.

So find a workout or form of exercise that you enjoy, and look forward to the many benefits it will bring to your life.

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Photo by Dominik Wycisło