Training Tips: How to Get the Most Out of Your Workouts

training tips

When time is at a premium in our busy schedules, how do we make our workouts work harder? Exercise experts point to several training tips to help you get the most benefit from the time you carve out for fitness activity.

Try Interval Training

Studies suggest that one minute of intense exercise can deliver the same benefits as 45-minutes of moderate exercise. Interval training–or alternating between high and low intensity activity for a defined period–can be an efficient and effective way to lose weight and increase fitness.

For example, research shows that alternating between eight seconds of intense exercise and 12 seconds at lower intensity over 20 minutes, three times a week, can lead to more weight loss than working out at a steady pace for twice as long. This type of interval training is also more effective at decreasing abdominal fat and body weight, while maintaining muscle mass. Tabata is one form of high-intensity interval workout. Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese researcher, used the protocol in his 1996 study to test ways to improve the performance of Olympic speed skaters. Tabata sessions involve 20 seconds of maximum-exertion followed by 10 seconds of recovery. Repeat the process eight times for one four-minute period. At that point, you can stop or go on for up to five “Tabatas” for a 20-minute total session.

In considering which moves to include in your intervals, look to a study from Human Performance Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Participants who performed a 20-minute interval workout including push-ups, burpees, squats and lunges, burned an average of 15 calories per minute—nearly twice as many as burned during long runs.

Dr. Tabata attributes the effectiveness of this method to the short, 10-second recovery time. Keep a timer handy to track the intervals. Remember, you need to push yourself hard–to 11 on a 10-point scale of effort–to realize the benefits of this method. Before making any major changes in your exercise routine, consult your healthcare professional, particularly if you have a chronic health condition.

Don’t Forget to Drink Lots of Water

It may seem obvious, but be sure to replace the water you sweat out during workouts. It’s important to drink water before a workout, even before you feel thirsty. Water needs vary by gender. For example, men need about 3 liters (13 cups) and women need 2.2 (9 cups) per day. Experts recommend ½ to 1 ounce of water per day per pound of body weight. Bump that up during exercise or time spent in the sun. When working out, it’s helpful to know and heed the signs of dehydration—dry mouth, headaches, dizziness, muscle fatigue, and dark urine, among others.

Eat Protein Before and After Working Out for Best Performance

Eating protein and carbs one to three hours before a workout can fuel your body for optimum performance, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Pre-workout options include:

After exercise, your body needs to replenish fuel and repair muscles. Carbs will replace the fuel, while protein rebuilds and repairs muscles. Try to eat within 15 minutes after an intense workout. Consider such foods as:

Keep in mind that fitness is a habit of a lifetime. To achieve and maintain your best level of fitness, forming an exercise routine that you can enjoy over time is key. Munk Pack Protein Cookies and Oatmeal Fruit Squeezes can help fuel your active lifestyle. Learn more at munkpack.com.

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