Tuesday, August 4, 2015

How Do I Get the Most Out of My Workout?

Pre and Post-Workout


Want to hear something pretty cool? This past week, I had a fitness brand out of North Caroline hit me up to write a post about what I do before and after my workout to get the most out of it. As this was something I wanted to cover anyway, I was like, "well, why the hell not?" 
Disclaimer: If you know nothing about me, let's get acquainted. I am not a fitness expert. I am just a girl with anxiety that does a bit of research and really doesn't want to have to resort to medications. Nice to meet you. (:
Let's get back to the topic at hand. The brand? ETB Fit. As I said, they're based out of North Carolina, where they have a store full of high-quality fitness goodies. I've done a bit of perusing on the site, and, from what I'm seeing, they are all about not adding random things to your supplements. They state that all of their ingredients are listed on the packaging. No additives, no fillers, no junk

What you eat is important.

I have a very sedentary job, and all I hear all day is crunching. Chips, crackers, candy, etc. It's scary, guys, and it's a huge motivator. I don't want that. In fact, I hate sitting all day. So, to keep from munching all day, I have my meals and snacks on a schedule. Same time every day.
Now, keep in mind I get up at 4:30am throughout the week. Almost every morning for breakfast, I have a whole wheat tortilla with a small amount of cheese and an egg. It's my simple, go-to breakfast.  Breakfast is around 5:20-30am. I'll also either make an iced coffee or pick one up at Starbucks on my way to work. Sue me, it's the only not clean thing I can't give up. Around 8:30-9am, I'm getting hungry. So, I'll either have a banana or I pack a greek yogurt cup or some veggies and hummus; just something light. 10:30 is my lunch time. 
Now, I typically go to the gym straight from work. By 3pm, I'm changed and on my way to an elliptical. The problem is, I can't workout if I've just eaten, and I can't workout if I'm starving. I'm typically too preoccupied by my full/hungry belly. So, around 1-1:30, I'll have a protein bar. I've been in love with the Promax protein bars lately. No joke, check out my drawer:


They're soooo good. Clearly, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough is my favorite. 7g fat, 37g carbs, and 20g protein. I could probably pick out a better one, but it's so good, ok?

You'll only get out of your workout what you put in.

If you're dreading your workout, chances are, it's not going to be a great workout. Same goes for if you're just tired. Which is where I am on a normal day by 2:30pm. I'm ready to lay in bed. Some days, I'll get lucky, and I'll be really motivated to get to the gym. Those are good days. On not so good days, I help myself out with some pre workout. Now, I'm currently using a "generic" (I guess) brand, because I was worried about how the pre workout would interact with my anxiety. Of course, the first time I used it, I was so worried about my heart rate getting too high that I triggered my own anxiety. However, with a few more uses, I realized I was fine. And it helps so much. Now that I know I won't stroke out after using it, I'm definitely into trying some new kinds. EBT's Uncaged 2.5 might be that next one, because it's fruit punch flavored. Yum. And again, no fillers, artificial colors, or dyes.
It's also a good idea to have some music going that keeps you motivated throughout your workout. I personally prefer hardcore music. Favorites? August Burns Red, blessthefall, We Came as Romans, Underoath. Anything with a pretty fast drum and some cymbal-crashes. It seriously helps when I'm running, and I think I might die. Or fall.
If that's not your jam, load your phone with your favorite dance, hip hop, pop, whatever music. Anything that keeps you going!

Change up that routine.

Basically, your body is going to get used to doing the same routines week after week, and you'll stop seeing results. My week typically goes: arm day, leg day, arm day, leg day. I have different workouts for each of those days to work on different muscle groups. After about a month of doing those routines, it starts to feel easier. That's when I know it's time to change it up.
Look around the gym. Join a group fitness class. Find a new machine you've never tried. Or, for me, one I've been wishing my gym had. If I had taken the time to glance around, I'd have known they did. Now, I can't wait for leg day so I can use it! Either way, changing up your routine keeps you from getting bored in your workouts. 
Set small goals during your workout. I have a polar watch that tracks my calories I'm burning. Every workout is a competition with the last. I want to either do better or get pretty close to that last number.
If all other forms of motivation fail, make an inspiration board. Cut out photos that inspire you, whether it's quotes, pictures, or your ideal body.

How do you guys stay motivated?

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