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If you got this far you’re already exercising, or at least you’re thinking about it. These six tips will enhance your potential results without much additional effort. Are you in?
- If you drink coffee, try having your java right before a workout. There is proof that a little caffeine boosts your fat burning ability. If not coffee, try Matcha — the tea that keeps you young, fit and energetic. The green tea powder provides a concentrated boost of antioxidants along with a little less caffeine than you can expect from coffee. Taken 90 minutes before a workout so that it’s peaking in your bloodstream when you’re doing your warm up, a recent study shows it boosts fat metabolism by 29%!
- Use a foam roller during your warm up, cool down, or between sessions. Self-myofascial release is not nearly as relaxing as having someone else massage you, but it has benefits. Increasing circulation, and ironing out knots helps improve health of your fascia, something now believed to be responsible for that “tightness” you feel even when you haven’t lost range of motion. If you’ve had a massage you know getting up from the table can feel like you could do anything. That’s exactly the point. Stiff and achy muscles or joints don’t want to work out. When movement feels comfortable you’re going to want to repeat it more often. It’s also the best way to get rid of cellulite.
- Before and after each strength training exercise, stretch the opposing muscle group. If you’re going to do an exercise for your back, stretch your chest, do the exercise, and stretch the chest again. Why? In this particular example, it will help improve posture by lengthening the chest muscles so-often tight and short from our desk jobs. If you, like many, are quad-dominant, and the back of your thighs are not as strong as they should be to balance the front of your thighs, you’d benefit from doing a leg curl, stretching the top of your thighs, and repeating the leg curl. This “exercise sandwich” also helps provide a little ease to the motion. You’ll find you have a heightened awareness of the working muscles. Any time you combine mind and body you have a better chance of improving results.
- Recover more. Rest more between exercises, if you want to increase your lean muscle tissue. To recruit more muscle fiber and experience a greater boost in metabolism, you’ll need more muscle fiber getting into the act. Instead of quickly turning around to do that second or third set, rest that muscle two-to-five minutes. In addition to this during session rest, consider resting longer than the standard 48 hours before exercising the same muscle group again. This is true especially if you’re an older adult. Yet, the truth is that many overzealous exercisers start and want results yesterday. The over training that happens if you’re not fully recovered and workout hard again, keeps you from making improvements.
- Turn off inflammation caused by exercise. Stock the kitchen with heart-healthy avocado, fish oil, salmon, and other omega-3 rich fats and reduce sugar, processed foods, and your intake of omega 6 fats — including nuts. You can have some, just don’t over do it. When you’re feeding yourself well you’ll experience fewer achy joints your body will more naturally repair after strenuous exercise. If you’re worried about your cravings for sugar, try increasing your fat, protein, and fibrous vegetables for a month and you may find without trying your cravings disappear.
- Take it outside. This is obviously more easily done with some exercises than others. But it’s long been know that walking in nature compared to walking in a city or on a treadmill indoors has a much more positive impact on stress levels. That said it’s highly likely that exercise of any kind is better for you outdoors than indoors. Look for ways you can make that happen. Instead of putting your treadmill at incline, can you find a hill and repeat runs up and down? Instead of lifting those dumbbells in the basement, could you lift on the front porch or the deck? If you reduce your stress level, and the accompanying stress hormone cortisol, you’ll experience better results from your exercise since exercise itself can increase cortisol.