There’s nothing worse than getting half way through your workout and feeling absolutely ruined. At least you know you’ve been working hard, right? Or maybe it’s because you’re not treating your body right for the kind of exercise you are doing. We’ll take you through what to do before, during and after your workout to maximise energy levels while you workout!
Eat smaller portions more often
Eating 3 large meals a day can make us sluggish. Waiting a long time between each meal time to eat causes a sugar low. When we eat a large meal our sugar levels peak but most of the time we are so full of food that our bodies feel tired from just digesting the food. Experiencing sugar highs and lows is not ideal for your workout. You want to be able to feel constantly energetic throughout. Although this is impossible because the harder you work, the more tired you get. However, by having 5-6 small meals instead of the regular 3, you can minimise the loss of energy during a workout.
Find the right playlist
When your legs are tired and your biceps burning, pumped up tunes will get you through. Try to avoid this tip as a reason to procrastinate – find a playlist rather than making your own if time is of the essence! Any playlist with some upbeat music that you enjoy will do, but it depends on your exercise type. When I’m lifting weights, I tend to listen to remixes, but when I run I love a chilled out relaxation playlist!
Get into a routine
There is much debate over which time is best to workout. The truth? As long as you workout at the same time day, your body will get into the habit and work to give you the energy it needs. So if you get into the habit of working out at 7pm rather than 4pm, this will eventually be the best time for your performance and energy levels (1). It’s easy to overthink this aspect of training, but don’t underestimate your body’s ability to adapt to your needs!
Find a gym buddy
There’s nothing better than having a fellow gym bunny by your side during a workout. If they’re a good buddy, they’ll encourage you to work hard and distract you from that mid-workout slump. Putting your two minds together for some new moves will only excite and inspire you past the fatigue. Also, if they’re lifting heavy weights, you know you’ll want to give them a run for their money!
Have light snacks
Many people avoid eating before a workout to avoid a stitch. To keep your energy levels high though, you should eat light snacks beforehand. If you are a morning exerciser, get up 15 minutes before you start working out to have a snack – a banana or some oats would be ideal. If you workout towards the middle of the day, make sure you have a snack 30 minutes before, having had breakfast. An afternoon exerciser should have a light lunch then a light snack 15 minutes before. For those who exercise in the evening, make sure you have a nut or protein bar about 30 minutes before, then eat dinner afterwards. A snack should be something that gives you energy without making you feel full. This should help keep your energy levels high throughout.
Drinking water is crucial during workouts to rehydrate and allow your body to function through the early stages of recovery (i.e. as soon as you use your muscles). It’s also important to stay hydrated throughout the day. If you’ve eaten right, being hydrated will give you that sustainable energy boost. When you’re dehydrated you become fatigued more easily.
Warm up & cool down
Warming up and cooling down is just as essential to your health as the workout itself. It lowers your resting heart rate and prevents injury. If you shock your muscles into exercise, they will become tired much more quickly. Warm muscles also perform better than cold ones – if they are working well, they’ll use up energy more effectively. Warming down after your workout will allow muscles to repair better, allowing them to work well during your next workout. All you need is 5-10 minutes for both the warm u and cool down to ease yourself in and out of exercises.
Rotate muscle group days
Having routine for which muscles you work can really help with your workout stamina. You might decide to have Monday doing lower body and Tuesday doing lower body and alternate between the two. This will make sure that your muscles can recover as much as possible before they are worked again. When muscles are fatigued, you’ll notice your energy levels lower quicker.
Having a difficult workout routine whilst working full time is hard to juggle. Whatever you do, don’t compromise on sleep! You will probably need a good 8 hours to recover and be well rested. The more rested you are, the more energy you’ll have during a workout. It’s always best to have your exercise energy already than get it from adrenalin.