Exercise in the morning. Research shows, those that exercise in the morning burn more calories. This could possibly be because your body is at its energy peak. (Note: Just because research shows this is the “ideal” or “best” time to workout, any time is better that not at all! Do what feels best for you or what works into your schedule the best.)
Prep, schedule, and stick to it. Gather your workout gear together the night before and put it next to the door, in your car, or beside your bed. This means your workout outfit, headphones, shoes, gym bag, healthy snack, water bottle, and whatever else you may need for your workout. Schedule it into your day and stick to that scheduled time. Treat your workout like any other appointment, one you wouldn’t cancel or flake on.
Add in intervals. Whether you’re cycling, swimming, running, or using a cardio machine at the gym, adding in intervals will build up your endurance and increase your speed.
Keep a workout journal. Tracking your daily workouts will help keep you motivated and keep you on track to reaching your goal. It doesn’t matter if it’s an app on your phone or a physical journal you write in, just make sure you have one.
Breathe deeply. Doing so will maximize your oxygen input and increase your endurance.
Mix it up. Don’t do the same workout, bike or running loop. Mixing up your workout/loop will keep your muscles guessing and help keep you from falling victim to workout boredom.
Hydrate. Not only is it essential to hydrate during a workout, but you should also hydrate BEFORE your workout. Drink 15-20 ounces of water one to two hours before working out and sip another eight ounces 15 minutes before.
Get outside. Whether it’s walking, running, biking, or something else, getting outdoors for your workout will boost your mood. Plus, the uneven terrain, especially when trail walking and running, requires more coordination, agility, and balance. That means your muscles are working harder and more calories are being burned.
Form over reps! Form will always trump reps because improper form can cause injury, not to mention you won’t be getting the full benefits from performing the move correctly. Use a mirror or have a workout pal watch your form.
Go an extra five minutes. Pushing yourself to go just five extra minutes will have you burning close to an additional 50 calories.
Never skip the cooldown. Cooling down and stretching after your workout preps your body for the next workout you do!
Replenish lost energy. To help muscles repair and to recharge, eat a post-workout snack that’s only 150-calories, within 30 minutes after your workout. Eat a combination of protein and carbs, but be mindful to stay around that 150-calorie zone and not go overboard. Here are some post-workout snack examples: one small banana (89 calories) with eight raw almonds (55 calories) = 144 combined calories; half of a medium apple smeared with a mixture of two ounces vanilla Greek yogurt, half a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a quarter teaspoon cinnamon = 151 combined calories.
Proper gear makes a difference. Shop for workout shoes later in the day. This is when your feet are at their largest and will help ensure the proper fit. Don’t buy shoes based on how they look, but rather what you will be using them for. If it’s a trail running shoe you love but you run on the road, don’t buy the trail runners just because you love the color. Replace shoes after 300-500 miles.
Eat healthy. Fueling your body with healthy foods will help you reach your goals, keep you energized, and feeling your best.
Take a rest day! Rest days allow time for your body to repair itself and get stronger, help prevent injury and over-training, and give you a mental break to help you from workout burnout.