5 tricks for better workouts

If you're lucky, the sights and sounds of exercise are all you need to motivate you to get moving. At other times, you still may not have the slightest urge to get started. For those days, this article is for you. Here are the easy ways to get the most out of your workout.

5 tricks for better workouts

Avoid the mirrors

  • Many fitness centres line exercise rooms with mirrors to allow you to watch your form as you work out.
  • Yet a study of 58 women found that those who exercised in front of a mirror felt less calm and more fatigued after 30 minutes of working out than those who exercised without staring at their reflections.
  • One popular exercise chain for women deliberately designs its small gyms without mirrors so that women can concentrate on each other and the workout rather than on how they look. Other gyms are beginning to offer "reflection-free" zones.
  • If yours doesn't, mention the idea – and the study – to the gym manager.

Try aromatherapy oils

  • Some essential oils, such as rosemary, can enhance energy.
  • Mix them with water and store them in a squirt bottle in your gym bag.
  • Give your gym clothing a few squirts before leaving the dressing room so you can smell the oil as you work out.
  • If you're in the middle of a more meditative, slower-paced workout, such as Pilates or yoga, try lavender oil instead of rosemary.

Create a gym playlist

  • Listen to them as you work out.
  • Researchers have found that people who listen to up-tempo music get significantly more out of their stationary bike workouts.
  • They pedalled faster, produced more power and their hearts beat faster than when they listened to slow-tempo music or sounds with no tempo.
  • Overall, they worked between five and 15 per cent harder while listening to the energizing beat.
  • Although the type of music you choose is up to you, pick something with a fast beat that makes you want to start dancing.
  • You can customize your own exercise music and download to an MP3 player.

Get annoyed

  • Then step on the treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical machine and sweat out your aggression as you work out.
  • You might even imagine that you are running an imaginary race against this person.
  • You'll get a better workout – and blast away anger and stress at the same time.

Drink water on your way to the gym

  • If you're already dehydrated, you'll feel overly fatigued during your session.
  • When you're dehydrated, you can't work as hard, you don't feel as good and your mental function is compromised.
  • So you won't get as much out of your workout.
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