Are you ready to pump some iron, run some miles, and crush a PR at home or wherever you get your workout? If so, you need to be prepared. A lot goes into pushing your body to its threshold, which is why it’s essential you enter the gym prepared to make some strides. Whether you’re training for your next marathon or are getting ready for bulking season, we’re here to help. Below, you’ll find some tips and tricks on how to crush your next workout.
Invest in the right equipment
First and foremost, you’re going to need the right equipment to crush your next workout. Depending on the goals you set out for yourself, the equipment you invest in may vary. For example, if you’re looking to obliterate your AMRAP PR in your CrossFit class, you’re going to need some sturdy CrossFit shoes. Or, if you’re looking to make a splash and knock off some seconds on your 100-meter breaststroke, you’re going to need some goggles and a swim cap.
Some versatile equipment every athlete needs for the gym include:
- A gym bag to store your clothes and gear
- Moisture-wicking apparel, such as shirts, bottoms, and socks
- Bluetooth headphones to get in the zone
- Wearable tech to record your heart rate, steps, and other metrics
- Personal hygiene products for once the workout’s over, such as a bath caddy, shampoo, and body wash
Not only do top-performing athletes need the best equipment, but they also need to take care of their bodies with food and water.
Hydration is key when it comes to performing your best. When you ramp up your workouts, your core body temperature rises, which causes your body to sweat. To replace the water lost through sweating and to thermoregulate your body temperature, you need to take fluids before, during, and after your workout. This will prevent cramps, heatstroke, and even heat exhaustion. So, make sure you invest in a reusable water bottle to save both your body and the planet.
Your nutrition also plays a vital role in how you perform. You don’t see professional athletes chowing down on candy, fast food, and processed meals. During your fitness journey, you need to give your body the fuel it needs to perform its best, such as fruits and vegetables, carbohydrates, protein, and more.
Carbohydrates are an athlete’s best friend and main source of fuel. When you eat carb-heavy meals, such as pasta and bread, your body breaks the carbohydrates down into glucose, which is then stored in your muscles as glycogen. This glycogen is then converted into energy, which can help you power through intense workouts. However, your body can only store enough glycogen to get you through 90 minutes of a workout. If you’ve ever watched a marathon and noticed runners “hitting the wall” toward the end, it’s because their glycogen storage was depleted, which causes them to lose energy needed to power through the rest of the race.
Other nutrition tips for athletes include consuming enough protein to keep their muscles in check. Humans need between 1.2 and 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, so if you weigh 140 pounds, you need about 82 grams of protein. You also want to make sure you eat enough healthy fats to maintain energy levels, such as avocados, nuts, salmon, and olives. Lastly, make sure to replace lost electrolytes with sports drinks to replenish lost fluids.
Heading straight into a workout without warming up is a recipe for disaster. Warming up prepares your body for an intense workout by gradually raising your heart rate, increasing blood flow, and loosening joints. Warming up also helps prevent injuries. Think of your muscles and tendons like a frozen rubber band. If you pull it, it will snap. However, if it’s warm, you’ll notice it will be able to stretch with ease.
To warm up, grab a yoga mat and stretch. Or, jog a few miles on the treadmill, sit on an indoor bike and pedal for 15 minutes, or do another form of cardio. Once you feel warmed up, head into your workout.
Your cool down is just as important as your warmup. Cooling down allows your body to gradually decrease its body temperature, lower your heart rate, and help reduce injury. Cooling down also reduces blood build up in your veins, which is what typically causes you to be sore the next day. Your cool down can be similar to your warmup. Do a series of dynamic stretches, walk, run, or bike for 15 to 20 minutes, or use a foam roller and roll out any kinks.
If you want to take your workout to the next level, you need to be all-in. Investing in the right equipment, staying hydrated and eating properly, and warming up and cooling down are all important components of a successful workout and getting in shape.