Exercise is a great way to keep the body and mind healthy. However, people sometimes make mistakes while trying to get in shape without even realizing it. If you’re looking to begin your fitness journey, or you’re already active, you may be making some common exercise blunders.
Read on for four essential tricks to getting the most out of your workout routine!
#1 Weights Before Cardio
Weights can be tiring. The thought of lifting, especially on leg machines, and then running may seem a little counterintuitive. However, if you really want to lose weight and build muscle, your body needs to burn stored excess fat for energy. This can prove difficult if you start your workout with cardio—because you most likely have some glycogen in your system (the energy from the food you eat, particularly carbs).
By doing weight training first, you will burn off glycogen while toning and strengthening your muscles. Once you’re a little tired from weight training, that’s when you want to hit the treadmill.
Pro Tip: You’re going to be hungry after burning off all this glycogen and stored fat—consider prepping a meal before you hit the gym, so it’s ready when you get home! If you’re not into meal prep, bring a snack with you, such as a protein bar, to replace some of the energy you’ve lost.
#2 Get Your Exercise Outside of the Gym
Going to the gym is an important part of staying fit—but it’s not the only way. There will be days when you can’t make it to the gym, and that’s okay! Remember, the ways you move your body in daily life can be just as healthy as the workout you get in the gym, and there are some ways you can elevate the intensity of your daily physical activity:
- Try walking or biking instead of driving if you’re headed somewhere close—work, the grocery store, or a friend’s house. Whenever you can get your body in motion, take advantage of it!
- Look up a workout video on YouTube and burn your calories at home. If you don’t have time to go to the gym but you still want an intense workout—check out a HIIT workout or power yoga video. These can burn hundreds of calories in one workout, and all you need is a computer.
- Strengthen your core at work, on the couch, or even in bed. This may sound farfetched, but it works. The transversus abdominus are the deepest abdominal muscles in your body. They lie underneath every other muscle group in your abdomen, and they are a key factor in achieving a flat tummy. One of the easiest exercises you can do to help tone these muscles is by simply sucking in your stomach as far as you can (think of trying to touch your belly to your spine). This can be done anytime, anywhere, and might make you feel better while you’re binging Netflix.
Pro Tip: If you’re biking to work, try using a bit of antiperspirant on your neck and back. This, accompanied with a towel and lightweight clothing, will keep you looking fresh during your ride. Don’t let sweat keep you from taking advantage of this easy way to fit in physical activity.
#3 Swap Your Regular Water Bottle for CBD
You may be thinking: CBD water? I’ve never heard of that.
Most CBD typically comes in edible product form such as liquid, capsule, or gummy form. However, a new brand of CBD-infused water is on the market—and it has some potential benefits for fitness lovers. CBD water is infused with electrolytes for effective rehydration, which is important when you’re sweating a lot at the gym. It’s also packed with vitamin B12 (which plays a role in metabolism regulation and food breakdown).
CBD is also a known anti-inflammatory and can be used to soothe sore and injured muscles post workout. If you’re looking for a new alternative to sports drinks with more physical and mental benefits, give this a try.
Pro Tip: CBD water comes in both pre- and post-workout varieties. If you’re looking for energy and mood improvement before your workout, then opt for the black cherry flavor. If you need muscle recovery and rehydration, try the cucumber kiwi variety.
#4 Remember to Warm Up and Cool Down
Warmups and cool downs should become an essential part of your fitness routine if you want to keep your body healthy and injury-free. Particularly when it comes to cardio, warmups and cool downs not only prep and soothe the muscles, but also regulate heart rate and help the body acclimate to your exercise routine.
Warming up before cardio (or an intense weightlifting session) will stretch the muscles and prepare your body for the more intense exercise to come. If you don’t perform a proper warm up, you run the risk of pulling a muscle—and your muscles will hurt more post-workout. Warming up also allows the heart rate to build gradually, rather than a sudden spike which can be damaging on the circulatory system.
Cooling down is just as important but for slightly different reasons. The cool down is particularly important to prevent lightheadedness and nausea when wrapping up intense exercise. If you don’t allow your body to gradually return to normal, your elevated heart rate and body temperature could make you feel sick or even faint.
Pro Tip: Your warmup and cool down times should coincide with the length and intensity of your workout. Don’t fill it in with 30 seconds of stretching or jogging. Devote a full 5 to 10 minutes to both your warmup and cool down.
Treat Your Body with Care
Sometimes, people exercise a bit too hard. They want to look their best, so they push themselves to the limit, which can be dangerous. When it comes to exercise, form and function should be the priority. Losing weight and gaining muscle is great, but it should never come at the expense of your health.
Stay hydrated, take care of your muscles, and remember why you’re doing this—to feel good!