If you’re going to take the time away from work or family to go to the gym, you want to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your workout. And with so many different factors impacting performance, it’s not always easy to maximize your time. But once you understand what’s holding you back, you’ll be able to unleash your potential.
What’s Impacting Your Workout Performance?
Talk with any high-performance athlete, bodybuilder, or gym rat and you’ll quickly realize that the workout is only part of their fitness routine. They actually prepare for their workouts around the clock. That’s because they understand the importance of having the body and mind prepared for action.
Science and research show there are certain elements and factors that have a significant impact on physical activity. Let’s explore a few of the top ones to see how they may be influencing your own performance.
1 – Diet
When it comes to food, most people simply think about how much they’re consuming and the impact it’s having on their waistline. But if you’re trying to maximize your athletic performance, you need to pay attention to what you’re eating.
Immediately prior to working out, you should aim to eat complex carbohydrates, while staying away from simple sugars.
“Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as pasta, bagels, whole grain breads, and rice. They provide energy, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. These foods are low in fat,” MedlinePlus explains. “Simple sugars, such as soft drinks, jams and jellies, and candy provide a lot of calories, but they do not provide vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.”
As a general rule of thumb, roughly half of your calories should come from carbohydrates each day.
2 – Hydration
Approximately 60 percent of your body is made up of water, so it should come as no surprise that proper hydration plays a vital role in your overall health and well-being. Furthermore, it has the ability to make or break your workout performance. According to Evolution Nutrition, staying properly hydrated impacts athletic performance in three key ways:
- It helps to regulate body temperature, which allows you to function at your peak.
- It helps to regulate blood pressure, which minimizes stress and inflammation (which impacts both performance and recovery).
- It supplies the body with fluid, which aids in the transportation of essential energy nutrients like protein, fats, and carbohydrates.
It’s important to understand that your body can only take in about 500ml of water at a time, which is enough to replace the stores that you’ve lost. Anything beyond this amount will pass through your body without hydrating. This means you need to hydrate regularly throughout the day, as opposed to just guzzling a bunch of water in one sitting.
3 – Rest
It’s during sleep that your body does the bulk of replenishing and rebuilding. Make sure you’re getting at least seven hours of sleep per night – and ideally more on days that you work out.
Sleep quantity is one thing, but sleep quality is just as important. Take the time to optimize your bedroom so that you’re enjoying deep, uninterrupted sleep. Your room should be dark, cool, quiet, and relaxing.
4 – Workout Attire
If you’ve ever purchased a new set of workout attire and discovered that it increased your satisfaction with your performance, you aren’t alone. Research shows that what you wear has a direct impact on how you perform in the gym.
“When you put on new fitness gear, you begin to get into character like an actor putting on a costume for a performance,” says Dr. Jonathan Fader, sports psychologist for the New York Mets. “As a result, you expect to have a better performance, making you more mentally prepared for the task.”
Rather than wearing those same old worn out sweats that you always wear to the gym, buy some new gear. Check out the new dry-fit collection from Bombshell, which promises workout gear that’s both functional (wicking away sweat) and fashionable (seamless, high-waisted, etc.). Once you start viewing workout attire as an investment in your performance, you’ll be more willing to try new things.
5 – Frame of Mind
Your mental frame of mind has a lot of influence over how you perform. Whether you’re lifting weights, running on the treadmill, or taking a yoga class, mentally preparing yourself with positive thoughts and encouragement goes a long way toward motivating you to excel.
Develop Your Own Pre-Workout Routine
You can’t show up at the gym, grab some dumbbells, and expect to have a killer workout. You can’t turn on your body like a light switch and force it to perform the same way every time. In order to get the results you want, you have to optimize your lifestyle and make smart choices before and after hitting the gym. From what you eat and drink to the way you manage your thoughts, the right decisions will lead to better results.
Photos are pixabay creative commons
Guest Author Bio
Jamie is a freelance writer who covers trends in business, technology, and health. She loves to go skiing, camping, and rock climbing with her family.