5 Virtually Instant Ways to Improve Your Work Out

Very few people get the most out of the workouts - it only takes a few minor adjustments to how you train, and how you follow up your training to ensure that you are maximising the benefits of your work outs sessions, and that you are taking good care of your body.

1) Breathe Properly
Don't hold your breath while you're working out - to get the most out of your exercises take full breaths and breathe out when exerting (or hitting), and breathe in on the release. Learn to take full, complete breaths (by breathing from the diaphragm rather than just the top of your chest). This will help you to get the most oxygen possible to your muscles, and will improve your performance. Sensei Jim will tell you exhale when you are hitting, and will show you how to breathe properly when training - we'll be posting more on this subject soon.

2) Lose the Shoes
There are quite a few reasons we train barefoot in the dojo, and it can help you when working out in the gym/at home too. Removing your shoes creates more instability, which challenges the muscles in your feet and legs more, making you burn more calories during your work out. This can also increase your range of motion.

3) Add to Your Range of Motion
This makes each exercise harder, so that you gain more from every push up, sit up, dorsal raise, tricep dip... If sit ups don't challenge you enough, slip a folded towel under the small of your back to increase the range of motion. If push ups are getting easy, raise your hands off the floor so that you can dip lower with each one. There aren't many exercises that you can't 'improve' this way - you need to constantly push and challenge yourself if you want to continue to improve.

4) Don't Let Yourself Stay in Your Comfort Zone
Most people are guilty of doing this at least once - instead of pushing further and harder, it's easy to just do what you know you can and let your fitness plateau. Don't let yourself stay in your comfort zone! I'll take push ups for example - you can make them harder by pressing your elbows tight against the body, by moving your hands closer to the middle, by doing them on one hand, by jumping up and clapping between push ups. There is no reason to let yourself do exercises that you no longer find challenging - it's counterproductive, and will often mean that you'll start getting bored because it's too easy. Always go a little out of your comfort zone - a harder push up, a higher kick, a stretch that goes a little further than last time - and you will always improve.

5) Eat Properly Before and After Your Work Out
Paying close attention to your pre and post work out meals will help you achieve your body and fitness goals faster - whether you want to lose weight, add muscle or build strength. Ideally, you should eat quality carbs within 30 mins of your workout, and protein no later than 90 mins afterwards. The recommended carb to protein ratio for post workout meals is 4:1. Chicken, fish, egg whites, bananas, yoghurt are all good additions to a post workout meal or snack.  The next blog post will look at 4 ways you can add bananas to a snack or meal!

Thanks to SkinnyGuyWorkoutPlan for the image.

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