Working out improves self-esteem, particularly when people see the physical results from their workouts.
Completing an intense workout can also make an athlete feel accomplished and healthy. However, successfully completing intense workouts over time is a daunting task. Read on for 15 tips on increasing your energy while working out.
15 Ways to Keep Your Energy High when Working Out
1) Eat Light Snacks
Some people believe that eating before a workout is counterproductive, but this isn't true. Your body needs some food to burn off. If you're a morning person who runs before breakfast, rise fifteen minutes earlier and get a snack before your run. Have a bowl of cereal with skim milk. Make sure you chose a cereal high in fiber. The carbs, protein and fiber from the cereal and milk should be enough to fuel you through your workout.
2) Eat Several Small Meals
Rather than eating three big meals per day, opt for five or six smaller meals so that you can have added boosts of energy throughout the day. It's also important to listen to your stomach. Eat when you're hungry, and eat small snacks before, during and after strenuous workouts. Try to avoid snacks high in processed sugars. Though sweets may give you energy, that energy is short-term. The same is true for coffee. Though caffeine in coffee gives you a quick boost, it doesn't provide enough nutrition to help you sustain energy long-term. Instead, reach for foods high in whole grains and protein. Try the following:
- Banana slices and peanut butter
- Greek yogurt
If you're completing a tough gym workout, be sure to take some snacks along in your gym bag. Once you've finished your set of bench press or completed your time on the exercise bike, have a light snack before finishing the rest of your work. Try a handful of almonds or a banana to give you an energy boost. The following are also good, light snacks that can provide you with added energy:
- Cup of yogurt mixed with low-fat granola
- Low-calorie protein bar
- 1-2 servings of berries (try blueberries or strawberries)
3) Stay Hydrated
Everyone knows that you should drink water or a sports drink during your workouts, but you also want to make sure you're staying hydrated throughout the day. If you try an intense workout you've never tried before, the next day your muscle groups will probably be sore. Drinking plenty of water before, during and after you work out will help prevent those muscles from cramping up. Staying hydrated also helps eliminate the fatigue associated with dehydration.
4) Get Plenty of Sleep
Working a full-time job and maintaining a strenuous workout routine can make you feel constantly on-the-go. This makes it easy to neglect the simple things, like sleep. However, if you expect to continue working out at a high level, it's also a good idea to make sure you're well-rested. Get as close as you can to eight hours of sleep per night.
5) Stick to a Weekly Routine
One way to ensure you can get through your workouts is to set a weekly schedule and stick to it. Skipping a week of training makes it more difficult to get acclimated to a vigorous workout. Set aside several hours each week to dedicate to working out. Don't make any other plans during your workout time. Hopefully setting a schedule will help your body get used to the routine/habit of working out.
Don't expect to start running marathons after a month. Instead, start with an obtainable goal. Once you've met that goal, raise the bar a little higher every week. For instance, if you're training for a marathon, begin by running a certain number of miles the first week. Once you've done that, run increasingly more each week.
6) Keep a Journal
It's also a good idea to keep a diet and exercise journal. Record your completed workout routine at the end of each day. Also keep a daily tally of all the foods you've eaten. Then, write a paragraph or two detailing what your energy level was like on that particular day. This will help you recognize the foods and behaviors that helped you meet your goals.
7) Listen to Music
Recently, much scientific research has been dedicated to studying music's effect on the mind and body during workouts. Because of its ability to elevate mood, music can often make people temporarily forget the pain of working out. Music also has the power to motivate people and make them want to move their bodies. When an upbeat song comes on the radio, people want to dance to it, whether they suppress this desire or not. Hip-hop, rock and pop songs are some of the most popular workout music genres, and perhaps this is because these genres often feature upbeat tempos.
8) Absorb Inspirational Media
One awesome way to stay motivated to work out is by watching and listening to inspiring stories. Professional athletes often have amazing stories to tell about perseverance and beating the odds. Buy a sports stars' memoir or watch a sports documentary right before you hit the gym. Identifying with another athlete might motivate you to push yourself harder. For extra motivation, keep pictures of your favorite sports stars around your home gym.
9) Find a Workout Partner
Working out with a friend helps keep you accountable. Not showing up for a workout will not only mean letting yourself down, but letting your partner down as well. This means you'll hopefully be more motivated to show up for sessions. Having a partner can also help increase your energy, especially if you choose a vocal partner who can push you. A friendly competition with your workout buddy is also a good idea. Try to see who can perform better. Set goals and help each other achieve them. Your workout buddy also gives you someone to vent to, and it helps that they experience the same soreness and can relate to your struggles.
Having a workout buddy is also imperative if you're into dangerous sports like weightlifting. Never strength train alone. Having a muscle cramp while deadlifting or bench pressing can result in a serious injury. A workout buddy can spot you and take heavy weights away from you in the event of a muscle cramp or lull in your energy level.
10) Don't Forget to Warm Up and Cool Down
Stretching and warming up are essential when working out. Your muscles respond to stress and challenges better after they've been gradually loosened before a workout. Warming up prepares your body for exercise. It can also help prevent you from pulling a muscle. Warm bodies also tend to perform better than cold muscles, which can translate into longer endurance. It is recommended that your warm-up for 5-10 minutes before taking on a more strenuous task. Some good warm-up exercises are as follows:
- A short, brisk walk
- A slow-paced bike ride
- Slow-paced elliptical or treadmill workout
After working out, it is also imperative that you cool down. Cool down activities can help prevent your blood pressure and heart rate from dropping dramatically. Cooling down can prevent dizziness and combat cramping in your muscles. Here are a few good types of exercises:
- A 5-minute walk at a leisurely pace
- Leg stretches
- Light jog in which you decelerate into a walk
11) Vitamins, Electrolytes and Minerals
Because you're depleting a lot of energy during your strenuous workouts, then you should make sure you're replenishing your vitamins, electrolytes and minerals. You can replenish them with foods, but you might also consider taking a supplement or two. Consult a medical professional concerning which brands and intake amounts are right for you.
12) Eliminate Stress
Though some people may not realize it, stress is a huge energy zapper. Ever walk into a room and sit next to someone with a defeatist attitude? Ever spend an hour listening to someone's complaints? If so, you probably noticed a drop in your own energy level. Yes, it's important to be a good friend by listening to your loved ones, but try not to let it affect your own energy levels. Once you feel yourself feeding off someone else's negative energy, it's time to step away for a moment and recharge. Being a good friend does not mean putting your own needs last. You can support even your Debbie Downer friend without listening to every little nitpicky complaint she has.
Exercising makes you physically exhausted, but finding motivation to go out and exercise each day can also have an impact on your mind. To improve your fitness, you must stay focused on your goals. Try to set aside 10-15 minutes per day for self-reflection. During this time, sit calmly in a quiet room. Listen to music if you'd like. Try to control your breathing. Some people like to try and make their mind completely blank when they meditate. Others like to focus and reflect on the day's challenges. Recently, some sports training experts have stated that meditation and muscle relaxation can help athletes stay focused.
14) Use Your Energy Wisely
Unless you are wealthy enough to not need a day job, you probably have to work forty hours per week while also training vigorously. If you have a family at home to support, this means you must spend even more time and energy raising kids and supporting your spouse. One way to save energy for working out is to plan your daily activities wisely. Don't plan a two-hour workout on a day when you must also spend two hours doing strenuous lawn work. Instead, complete your strenuous household tasks in increments. For instance, you could spend a half hour weed-eating your drainage ditch on Monday before your workout. Then, on Tuesday, finish your yard work before your workout.
It's also a good idea to ask those around you for help. Your friends and family will undoubtedly want to support you in your new exercise endeavor. If possible, ask them to donate a bit more time to help you with household chores. You should also try to maintain a good work-life balance. Don't take on extra projects at work during your most intensive workout periods.
15) Alternate Muscle Groups
If you're a strength trainer, it's important that you alternate the days you work your muscle groups. For instance, you might devote Mondays to upper body training and Tuesdays to lower body training. Then alternate back and forth. Doing this will help ensure that you're not sore in all your muscle groups at once. Alternating also gives your muscles a rest every other day, which allows them time to develop definition.
Every athlete is different and every workout program is different. Try the above tips and see which one works for you. Eating well, getting plenty of rest and staying motivated are among the most important things you can do to keep your energy high and accomplish your goals.
Author bio: Amina Spencer
Amina Spencer is the Senior Editor of Today Best Reviews. She reviews different products that belong to the fitness niche. Amina decided to make a change in career, that is why now she provides useful information about different products to her readers.