3 ways to make the most of your workout

Don't let all that hard work go to waste! Learn how to optimize your training and get the most benefit possible out of your workout time.

3 ways to make the most of your workout

Whether you love or hate the time you spend working out, one thing's for sure: you want all that effort to count for something. Keep reading for tips on getting the most benefit out of every workout.

1. Be specific

The principles of sport-specific training dictate that if you want to get better at a certain activity, you need to practise that given sport or exercise.

  • Cross-training is one of the best ways to prevent overuse injuries and promote balanced muscular development.
  • But if you want to be a better cyclist, there's no avoiding time on the bike; and if you want to improve your deadlift, you're going to be doing a lot of them.

If your sport-specific workouts are lagging, ask yourself: Am I getting enough practise on what I want to improve?

2. Keep challenging yourself

Once you've been working out for a few weeks, you'll probably notice that the most challenging exercises in your routine are getting easier. This is great, but don't rest on your laurels. Your body is building strength and endurance in response to the demands of your workout.

  • Making your workouts more challenging as your body adapts, a principle known as progressive overload, is the number one most important principle for optimizing your workouts.
  • If you find yourself hitting a plateau, it's most likely because you haven't challenged your body enough.

The fix: Set a specific goal for your workouts. Once you meet your goal, either increase the intensity (run or walk faster, lift heavier weights ) or increase the duration (spend more time on the bike).

3. Be good to yourself

Tough workouts don't have to mean suffering outside of the gym. If you take good care of yourself every day, you'll see faster and more impressive results from your workouts. If you aren't seeing the kind of results you want, ask yourself if you're doing the following:

  • Getting enough sleep to feel rested
  • Taking at least one "rest day" per week (no workouts)
  • Staying well-hydrated (your urine should be clear or light yellow; your lips should not be chapped)
  • Eating lots of whole grains, lean meats, fruits and vegetables, which your body uses as fuel for its workouts

Whether you're looking for some new routines or adding to an existing workout schedule, taking good care of your body is essential to getting the results you desire.

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