Make your workout WORK for you
So, you have been working out or planning to head to the gym for the first time, we have a few tips that might help you shape up better. Don't worry if you aren't getting immediate results. Just take it easy.
Limit your workout: Some spend a lot of time at the gym because they believe that the more you workout, the faster you achieve your goals. However, the truth is that after 30 or 40 minutes, the benefit isn't as great. To go that long, you'd have to lower the intensity of the workout, and that means that you're spending too much time working out. It's better to work out at a higher intensity for a shorter amount of time.
Shake it: It's best to take a protein/carb shake just before your workout and then just after. It increases the flow of amino acids to your muscles during training, giving them the building blocks they need. After the workout, the shake stimulates muscle growth. Also, take a small protein/carb meal 60-90 minutes after a session.
Mix it up: Don't stick to the same workout routine for too long, or your body will adjust to the stress level and you won't be getting an effective workout. For strength training, change your routine every few weeks. For cardio, it's best to cross-train rather than to, say, run every time.
Protein all day: Stop the protein shake obsession post-workout and focus on food intake. Both animal- and plant-based foods contain protein and can help you meet your daily protein goal. Meat, poultry, dairy and fish are high-quality animal sources of protein. Meanwhile, nuts, beans, legumes and soy are good sources of plant-based protein.
Pick a cardio exercise you enjoy: For beginners, it's no fun to exercise. And you won't keep it up for very long. Pick something that's fun - running, walking, swimming, biking, hiking, rowing, stairs, etc. After the initial phase when you're getting used to exercise, you'll start to have a blast and look forward to it.
High-intensity workouts: If you're just starting out with exercise, it's best to take it slow. Build up your endurance for at least a month before you get into anything intense. That means going at a rate where you can easily talk without being out of breath. However, once you have that base of endurance, step up the intensity to turn up the effectiveness of the workout.
Cry out for carbs: A lot of people avoid carbs because they think it will dissolve the effects of the exercise. But the truth is carbs are our body's main source of fuel. If you do intense workouts, you will need carbs, or you won't have enough energy. Best carbs to bet on are potato, oats, quinoa, pulses, bananas and carrots.
Water baby: Be sure to hydrate throughout the day. It takes a couple of hours for your body to absorb the water, so you can't just drink right before exercise.
Always consult a doctor and get their approval before trying out any new workout plan. Avoid burning yourself out during the workout. Take it easy, you will get there!
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