How to get the most out of your workouts

Heading out to the gym sometimes requires such an effort that we can forget to focus on the little details that will make our workouts even more productive. The following tips will show you how to get more out of your routine.

How to get the most out of your workouts

Work out during the least crowded hours

  • You'll squeeze in a more effective workout in less time if you hit the gym during the slowest period of the day, often mid-afternoon.
  • You won't have to wait in a line for equipment or feel hassled in the changing room.

Wear the right shoes for the right class

  • Resist the urge to wear the old trainers you dug up from the back of the closet.
  • Various fitness disciplines require specific types of footwear.
  • The wrong shoes will not only make your workout feel harder, it could cause an injury.
  • For example, wear running shoes for running, walking shoes for walking, and hard-bottomed cycling shoes for spinning (exercise on stationary bikes).

Slow down

  • In one study, participants who lifted slowly – taking at least 14 seconds to complete one repetition – gained more strength than participants who lifted at a rate of seven seconds per rep.
  • Slower lifting may help increase strength because it prevents you from using momentum or improper techniques.

Put your mind behind every move

  • Rather than daydreaming through your workouts, put as much mental emphasis on what you do at the gym as on what you do at work – or at least should do!
  • For example, when doing a strength exercise, feel the muscle contract as you lift. This will help you to tune into your technique.

Get some professional help

  • Whenever you feel as if you're out of steam, hire a trainer.
  • In just one session a trainer can open your eyes to a whole new world of workouts.

Invent a competition with the person on the next treadmill

  • If you're on the treadmill and you're bored, glance at the display on someone else's nearby treadmill.
  • If you're walking at five and a half kilometres (3.4 miles) per hour and he or she is chugging away at six kilometres (3.7 miles) per hour, see if you can increase your speed and catch up, as if it were a race.
  • The other person won't even know you're racing.
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