How to support your training outside of the gym
Whatever your age, ability and fitness goal, whether losing weight and toning up, building muscle or improving fitness, only so much can be achieved from a great workout. Poor sleep, diet and lack of discipline will ensure your results will barely be visible.
By understanding how some of the following tips can really benefit you though, you’ll be a lot more aware of how to protect your hard work, and rapidly speed up your progress!
The Right Nutrition
When we think Diet, we think “deprivation”. So, rather than making drastic changes that you won’t be able to keep up, pick healthier options you can still enjoy. Select whole foods as much as possible, as these are not only better for you but less Calorie dense due to the lack of additional sugars, saturates and salts, meaning that you can eat more!
In can be hard to cook meals like this every day, considering how many other factors in life can take away our time, energy and general motivation. This leads us to picking up any easy option from the supermarket or takeaway, which is why it’s a great idea to put aside an hour or two on a quiet evening or weekend to batch cook your meals for the next few days. This way you’ll allways have a healthy option to turn to immediately.
As mentioned in the previous article extra muscle can not only speed up the rate you burn calories, and allow you to eat more, but will give you a toned and defined healthy physique. Where many people fall down is by not consuming enough protien to allow muscle growth. So you may work hard with your resistance training, but not eating enough of the right nutrients to make the effects stick.
Building muscle requires sufficient Protein so ideally you want to be aiming for 1.6 – 2.0 grams of Protein per Kg of body Weight.
Focus nutrition around your workout
Just as what you eat is important to the results you get, so is when you eat. Our body needs energy to perform well, which comes from the Glucose in Carbohydrate, (stored in the body as Glycogen).
Eating a balanced meal containing a rich carb source, Protein and natural Fat 2-3 hours before a workout will therefore provide your muscles with this energy as well as help Protein synthesis.
This isn’t always a realistic option however, in which case aim for a small snack combining easily digestible Protein and Carbs around 45mins before hitting the weights.
Ideally aim for a quick source of Protein as soon as possible following your session (such as a Protein shake) and a meal rich in complex carbs and Protein (yep that’s the theme) within 1 – 2 hours after this.
Get enough Sleep
Sleep is crucial to how you physically and mentally reset and repair, and allows your mind and body to restore its energy.
Non REM, Deep Sleep is responsible for the body’s recovery. During this phase, your brain is barely active, which allows greater blood supply to deliver oxygen, nutrients, and Growth Hormone to the muscles for growth and repair. Lack of sleep results in a decrease of growth hormone, less time for the tissue to heal back stronger and decreased physical performance.
So, consider it as “saving your progress” in a video game, and make sure to get a good 7 – 9 hours sleep in order feel energised for your next workout and hold on to those hard-earned results.
How to stay with it
Making a lasting, noticeable change is a long and challenging journey, where “quick fixes are rarely permanent (or healthy). While you may initially notice a sudden drop in weight from crash dieting, you need to be able to maintain what you do for life, for it to last for life.
Progress isn’t necessary linear, so you won’t always notice the improvements you feel you deserve. Don’t lose heart though and try the following:
- Reflect – on the progress you’ve made to that point and give yourself credit for it.
- Evaluate – Does your programme need freshening up? Do you need new challenges? Are you still supporting your workouts with nutrition, sleep and good diet? Are you over training or going through the motions?
- Support – How can friends and family help you stay on target? Could you use an experienced training buddy to take you to the next level? Advice and guidance from a PT?
- Motivation – Consider things that inspire you in life (words, images, people) to use to provide you with emotional energy. Break your long term goal into shorter ones. Develop a checklist to tick off small milestones and improvements and acknowledge them.
Remember to enjoy each achievement that you make – such as setting a new Personal Best – and the feeling of positivity you get after a hard workout. Appreciate the great daily benefits from feeling stronger and more energised and make that the reason to stay consistent.
If you therefore see training as the foundation of who you are, (just as much as your job, socialising or any other regular activity you couldn’t do without), it can become less about reaching the end goal and more about enjoying the process.
As a result, your body transformation will be a by -product of doing something you have learned to love for many other reasons too!