5 Tips to Improve Your Workout
Whether you hit the gym before the sun comes up or long after it’s gone down, what you do to your body before you workout can have an impact on your performance. Here are our 5 tips to improve your workout so you get the most out of each and every session.
It only takes a 2% drop in body water for athletic performance to be affected. Water is important, but if you train hard you sweat hard, which means you need something a little more than just straight up H2O. Electrolytes, are electrically charged minerals (sodium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine, and calcium to name a few) that help create an electrical charge in the muscles and draw water into the body. To up your hydration, skip the sports drinks with artificial colours and flavours, and instead opt for something like Vega Electrolyte Hydrator. Add to 2 cups of water and start sipping about 60-30 mins before your workout.
Take a Hit of Caffeine
Who doesn’t love a little pre-workout buzz? Caffeine has been shown to help increase focus, reduce pain associated with high-intensity workouts (meaning more reps), and increase exertion. In fact one study found that women who were given caffeine prior to their workout had a significantly high 1RM on the bench press. As too much caffeine can cause spikes in cortisol, cause blood sugar imbalances, and poor sleep (all detrimental to recovery, and leaning out), make sure to use with caution. To increase performance aim for 3-5mg /kg body weight about 60 minutes before you workout. No time to brew a cup of Jo? Try something like Cellucor C4 that has a hit of caffeine, along with other energy boosting ingredients.
Drink your BCAAs
Branched Chain Amino Acids (aka BCAAs) are the only amino acids not regulated by the gut or degraded in the liver. As muscle tissue is an important site of BCAA activity, directly being able to get a good supply of BCAAs to your muscles before you start has a lot of benefits to your training. In fact having BCAAs have been shown to promote blood sugar balance during workouts (i.e. more energy), reduce muscle lactate levels and oxidation (i.e. better recovery), and improve muscle synthesis, and levels of growth hormone (i.e. increased gains). To improve your performance try adding 5g of BCAA / hour of training to your workout drink.
Without getting too deep into the science lab, Nitric Oxide (NO) is a gaseous signalling molecule that helps to relax endothelial muscle. What does this boil down to? This molecule dilates your blood vessels allowing more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your hard working tissues. Translation – you can workout harder and longer. Including beets in your diet is a great way to increase NO production, as is eating foods high in L-arginine like fish, chicken, and grass-fed beef. If you’re looking for an extra boost, we’re fans of GAT Nitraflex which has 1.5g of L-arginine per serving, as well as other clinically proven vasocompounds for optimal pre-workout nutrition.
Warm Up That Bod
We’ve talked about what to drink and what to supp with, but this might be one of the lost elements of your pre-workout routine. If you want to crush your workout you’ve got to take the time to warm the body up. A solid warm up routine can prepare the body both physically and mentally. It brings more blood flow to the tissues, increases joint flexibility and lubrication, and gets you into proper fighting form. Whether it’s spending 5-10 minutes on the treadmill, or doing a few sets of work at a lighter weight it’s worth the extra time – after all you can’t get gains if you are injured from jumping in cold.
- “Dehydration and its effects on performance – Human Kinetics.” 2009. 25 Apr. 2016 <https://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/dehydration-and-its-effects-on-performance>
- Goldstein, E. “Caffeine enhances upper body strength in resistance … – NCBI.” 2010. <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2876999/>
- “All About Caffeine | Precision Nutrition.” 2008. 25 Apr. 2016 <https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-caffeine>
- “All About BCAAs | Precision Nutrition.” 2008. 25 Apr. 2016 <https://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-bcaas>