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5 Ways to Get More from Your Workouts

5 Ways to Get More from Your Workouts

As fitness enthusiasts and wannabe athletes, we are always looking for new and different ways to get results faster. Whether it is new workout gear, some crazy new supplement, or a fresh workout routine, we are always on the lookout for little shortcuts to achieving our fitness goals.

Instead of trying to make more time in the day or stocking up on new gear, here are 5 ways to squeeze the most from the time you are already putting in at the gym:

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1. Set daily goals.

Having challenges with your workouts, benchmarks to strive for and to hit are a foolproof way to keep you interested and motivated. Set daily and weekly goals, while also keeping looser, long-term goals. Get into the habit of setting goals for each set and exercise; it will keep you engaged and focused, instead of merely trying to hold on or survive your workout.

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2. Have a plan for your workout.

I cannot emphasize this one enough. On the days where I have walked into the gym without a clear idea of what I want to do, I find my workout far less effective. Small talk with friends becomes a distraction, I am taking twice as many trips to the water fountain and not completing the number of sets I usually would, and I generally find myself less focused. Having a clear plan when you walk into the gym means that you go in, cross off the exercises and sets you have written out, and get the heck out and on with your day.

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3. Have a pre-workout routine so that you are primed.

Being ready to go when you walk into the gym is a great feeling. That is why pre-workout supplements are so popular. They do the work of getting jacked up for you. If you don’t feel the need to take RocketFuel9000 to get jacked up for the gym, try setting up a pre-workout routine. I also find that having a routine pre-gym helps pound procrastination into the ground. Starting my pre-workout routine, which involves a few arm swings at home, taking a protein shake, getting into my gym clothes, and pounding Eminem’s “Till I Collapse,” takes little willpower and almost always results in me getting my butt out the door and to the gym.

4. Record your results.

As I have discussed previously here on Lifehack, keeping a workout log can help you big time with achieving your fitness goals. It acts as a blueprint for your workout, gives you tangible goals to swing for, can help you stay motivated, and a whole lot more. In order to see gains at the gym, whether it is your aerobic work or lifting more and for longer, the key to both is progressive overload. Writing out your results means you know exactly how much you did last week, giving you a clear benchmark to tackle and surpass, ensuring that you are continually seeing gains.

5. You plant the seed at the gym, and your results grow and sprout in the time afterwards.

Now that the hard work is done at the gym, here comes the important and moderately less sexy part. Recovery. As the old saying goes, muscles are destroyed at the gym, and built while in bed. Adequate recovery means that you are properly satisfying the needs of your body post-workout, staying hydrated, and also getting lots of rest. The latter is usually the first thing to go when we find our lives getting saturated with work, family, friends, and more work, but it is absolutely essential for proper recovery. Getting eight hours of sleep doesn’t make you lazy or less motivated, rather, it means you are taking care of your body and giving yourself the best chance possible to get back to the gym sooner.

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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