Fitness Freak? Sportsperson? Here are 6 effective ways to Improve Gym Performance
Health isn’t just for people who are enthusiastic about working out, sports or gyms. It is important for all of us to lead joyful, fulfilling, and meaningful lives. This article is intended to be helpful for everyone – whether or not they go to the gym. However, if you happen to be exploring starting some physical activity (which is a wonderful thing and will lead to better mental health), explore these ways to improve gym performance and get closer to your goals.
How do we measure Fitness? How can we improve our performance?
If there’s anything we’ve learned in the last few years during and after the COVID pandemic, it is the value of good health and fitness. Now, we aren’t just talking about big muscles or a size zero body. They aren’t necessarily great markers for measuring fitness. Let’s explore this topic a bit deeper.
Fitness is an umbrella term that can encompass many different indexes and factors. If you’re looking to improve gym performance or your fitness in general, there are many different aspects that you can work on. Generally, we use a variety of measures to determine an athlete’s overall fitness. Some of these common indexes are: –
- Heart Rate
- VO2 Max
- Body Fat Percentage and Body Composition
That’s correct, there are tons of things. However, you don’t need to particularly take measures to work on each of them individually unless you want or need to. Working with commitment and keeping a good routine automatically works on all of the above measures altogether. Read below for some great ways to really catapult your sports performance to levels that will surprise you.
Ways to improve Gym Performance
Fitness isn’t just about looking good – it’s about being able to live your life fully, being able to do more, and also experience joy and excitement. A lot of times, we avoid taking simple adventurous steps to break the monotony simply fearing change and stress. Being fit and active allows you to be confident and to participate in experiences that will naturally make you happier and give you a confidence boost.
Our body is a beautiful machine that evolves naturally and quickly. You’d be surprised what you could condition your body to achieve and endure. One must remember that fitness works as a whole – body, mind, and soul. Here are some ways to get closer to your peak performance: –
Mix it up – try different formats to improve your overall fitness
Different types of workout help your body achieve optimal performance and work efficiently under different conditions. While steady-state cardio performed over prolonged period of time, such as running or cycling, or zumba etc, may help lose weight and keep it off, you would benefit immensely from strength training. Lifting weights helps you build lean muscle, increasing your resting metabolic rate (which means that you burn more calories even when not exercising), and benefits your endurance and aids in shedding subcutaenous fat as well.
Including different types of formats in your weekly routines can help break through a fat loss plateau. It also shocks your body and therefore, prepares it to perform well functionally. You can do a mix of strength training, HIIT, functional training, kickboxing, dance, yoga, running, or sports like football, etc. Explore why steady state cardio like dancing is good for you in this blog post.
Eat Well & Nourish Yourself to improve gym performance
Eating isn’t just about satisfying your hunger. Sure, feeling hungry is a signal that your body needs fuel – however, the food we eat solves an important purpose. It provides energy for you to perform different tasks. Eating food that is light and nutritious provides helps you feel energetic and productive through your life rather than hit a slump. Check this blog for easy salad recipes.
More important than what you eat is how much you eat and how often. If you’re eating 3 heavy meals a day, you can try modifying it to 5 moderate meals a day. Now, these meals can be as simple as a cup of coffee or a fruit as a snack. The thing is, rather than feeling heavy and full because of a large meal, you can condition your body differently. Our stomach has elasticity to allow it to get fuller faster or slower based on how much we eat. There is definitely some truth in the saying that, “never eat till you’re full, just only as much as you’re 80% full.”
So, the message here is – Eat clean, eat healthy, and eat at the right times. Avoid simple sugars because, though they may taste addictive and give you an immediate energy boost- they raise your blood sugar levels in an unhealthy way and will cause a mid-day crash after a few hours. It will leave you feeling weak, lethargic, and unable to push your limits. Choose complex carbs, proteins, and healthy fats. Working out consistently sometimes leads some people to get full faster. That’s why, it’s also beneficial to eat smaller meals every 3-4 hours (if you have the resources and time to fuel up at regular intervals)
Include a nutritious pre-workout meal in your diet
A light and nutritious pre-workout meal, eaten 90-120 minutes before your exercise, can really improve your gym performance. It fues you up to perform well through the entirety of your workout, delays fatigue, and helps you lift better and get more reps during your workout.
A good pre-workout meal is a one that has whole grains, fruits, and a right mix of complex carbs, proteins and healthy fats. For example, check this blog for the recipe of a yogurt granola bowl. You can explore various pre-workout meal ideas like oatmeal, peanut butter toast, boiled eggs and toast, sprout salad, etc.
Recovery is as important as training
Sure, you’re working hard at the gym or in the field. However, are you also sacrificing your rest and sleep? If you are, then chances are, that sooner or later, you have a chance of suffering an injury, losing interest, hitting a plateau, or experiencing a burnout. Resting and sleeping is extremely crucial for your body’s recovery.
During workouts, you getmicro-tears in your muscles. The healthy proteinaceous diet you take helps in the recovery of these muscles when you rest. You must ideally give yourself 7-9 hours of sleep and take at least 1-2 rest days in a week depending upon the intensity of your workouts. Not only will this help you get stronger and get closer to advanced level performance, it will also help you avoid injuries and get a better resting metabolic rate.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
When you workout, your body loses water quickly. Mostly in the form of sweat. This happens because when y work out, your muscles produce heat in the body. Sweat is body’s automatic response to cool you down.
Therefore, if you are dehydrated during your workouts, you may start feeling light-headed. If you’re body heats up too much, it might lead to slight dizziness and unconsciousness. This could result in an injury if it happnens in the middle of a rep. However, make sure that you only have a few sips of water only during your workout – to avoid painful cramps and abdominal discomfort.
In fact, you should keep hydrating yourself throughout the day. Sip on water at regular intervals. You can also hydrate yourself through various different ways such as fruits, vegetables, coconut water, juices, herbal teas, etc. Read this blog for benefits of tender coconut water and this blog for drinks to stay hydrated.
Stretch and Cool Down properly after your workouts
If you’re into functional or strength training, you know how body can become less flexible and stiff when building body. Stretching after your workouts allows muscle fibers to elongate and provide you more flexibility, ease of movement, and range of motion. Not only that, it also allows your body to cool down gradually to a normal temperature and get out of a state of stress.
Stretching also releases the lactic acid and lymphatic fluid build-up in muscles which leads to stiffness and soreness. You must have experienced the pain if you’ve done an intense ab or leg day. Well, stretching reduces the chances of that and helps you prepare better for your next workout. It also adds to the aesthetic of your athletic body.
Stretching after workouts, especially yoga, also helps build mobility and flexibility in your body. Your squats will be deeper, your deadlifts would get cleaner, your stability and balance will improve. In your day-to-day life too, you can pick up things without nicking a muscle, have better posture, and avoid injuries in general.
Pranayama and Meditation – Mind and Breath Training
Pranayama and Meditation or Focused Breathing or Training is truly underrated. You’ll be surprised how life-altering they can be. Pranayama or Yogic breathing, which literally translates to ‘Mindful Breathing’ are a few different types of breathing exercises that have been scientifically proven to improve body’s functioning. From pulmonary function to cardiovascular, it has fantastic benefits.
Read more about the benefits of Pranayama in this blog post. Practicing Pranayama for a few minutes in a day will give you great stamina, endurance, and focus. This means, you’ll be able to run faster and for longer without tiring, power through your workouts and enjoy them, and be able to lift heavier and perform more reps too.
There are many more ways to improve gym performance in addition to the ones listed above. What are other ways that you practice? Share with us in the comments below!
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