The saying “mind over matter,” starts to ring true whenever we chose to commit to an intense physical training program. We may start to realize that showing up is about 99% of the battle, and hopefully have the positive realization that we can push ourselves further than we imagined if we can develop mental toughness. Coupled with physical activity there are additional things you can do to maximize results whether our goal be to increase weight loss, build muscle, or improve cardiovascular fitness. Below are a few strategies you can implement to keep your energy high and ensure your body gets the nutrition it needs to get maximum benefits from your workout.
Replenish Your Electrolytes.
When we exercise our body needs to replenish electrolytes to avoid cramping, and maintain proper function of the digestive, nervous, cardiac, and muscular systems. You can buy drinks, powders, or electrolyte tablets at health food or vitamin stores to add to your water to assist with this. If money and time are a factor, you can make a very simple poor-man’s electrolyte drink with what you have at home. All you need is a pinch of salt to your water and squeeze in a wedge of lemon or lime. If you can taste the salt in your water you’ve added too much.
Consume some form of protein thirty minutes after your workout.
If you are trying to build muscle, it’s important to fuel your body with protein shortly after working out. This could be in the form of a protein shake, bar, or small meal. Following strength training with protein, facilitates the repair and building of muscle.
Take Your Vitamins & Eat Fruit Pre-Workout.
Generally speaking the best fuel before a workout is some form of sugar to give us a boost of energy, and fruit is an excellent option. For the more intense athletes or if you do very regular intense exercise, you can also consider finding a pre-workout powder or drink designed to maximize your energy. By also taking your multivitamin, you ensure that you are getting the bare minimum of key nutrients for the day and it may give you an extra boost as you workout!
Keep a Food Diary & Track Your Nutrient Intake.
The process of recording everything you eat can be an eye-opener and also help you reach your fitness goals by helping you track your caloric and macronutrient intake. When you log in a food diary, it can also help you see how to make adjustments, or serve as a great tool for a nutritionist to work with you to optimize your diet. There are many great apps that you can download on your phone that make tracking easy including MyFitnessPal, and Lose It! There’s also a really useful site called Cronometer, that can give you a very detailed daily breakdown of your caloric and nutrient intake combined and expose any nutritional gaps.