By James Haddad
Being the self-proclaimed fitness guru that I am, I have tried all of the hot tips and tricks out there intended to maximize my workout. Do you feel trapped in a mundane workout? Do you feel like you’re working hard but getting nowhere? Do not fear! I am here to share the tips and tricks that work best so that you don’t have to waste your workout time on another endless Google search.
First things first: breathing. Breathing is obviously extremely important in general, but it is even more important when working out. During a workout session, you must emphasize your breathing to increase your oxygen intake in order to decrease the effects of anaerobic respiration. Without efficient breathing, lactic acid will build up in your muscles, and you will not only tire out easily, but also find yourself having a hard time walking the next day.
Second: rest. You must have a period of rest between sets. If you want to strictly increase your strength, a rest time of approximately three minutes between heavy sets is optimal. When trying to build body mass, one and a half to two minutes is optimal. Sport-specific athletes who want to build muscle endurance should have a relatively short rest time of approximately 45 seconds.
Third: conditioning. When working out, it is imperative to warm up and stretch. Both of these will not only increase performance, but also decrease your chance of injury. More specifically, dynamic warm-ups are better for the body than static stretches before working out. Dynamic warm-ups, such as lunges, high kicks, and knee-to-chests, simply imitate the movements you make before working out.
Fourth: water. In my mind this is the most important tip. You must stay hydrated. It is better to drink too much water than not enough. You can often find me in class or between class carrying a jug of water. I know you may think I am crazy, but I do this for a reason, and I make sure that am stay hydrated at all times, not just during workouts. Hydration is key, especially when trying to reach your fitness goals.
Photo Courtesy of Women’s Health Magazine