Achieving your fitness potential is about more than pounding the track or pumping iron. To get the fitness, and the body, that you want, you need to understand more about what’s going on “under the hood”. Use these four tips to start working with your body’s natural disposition, and make more from each workout.
You are what you eat
It’s the oldest of old wives’ tales – and it’s also one of the truest. You can run, jump and lift as much as you like: if you’re refuelling with ready meals and wine every night, you’re not going to change the way you look and feel by much.
Your body needs carbohydrates to convert food stores into energy – so combining a low carb diet with an exercise routine is counter intuitive. If you’re exercising to lose weight, combine the right kinds of carbs (slow release is good) with intensive aerobic exercise. The carbs fuel your muscles, the exercise burns the fat.
Protein is essential for muscle repair, even if you’re not going for bulk. Cut down on protein at your peril – if you exercise regularly, you’ll be setting yourself up for a serious injury.
Pain can be good
There are two types of pain: warning pain and “good” pain. Warning pain is your body’s way of stopping you before you damage yourself, and is normally quite severe. Heed this pain immediately to avoid muscle tears, strains and stretches.
“Good” pain is a bodily reaction to exertion. The pain impulse is a gentler warning – it’s your body telling you that you are putting undue strain on muscles and organs. Working through good pain is the quickest way to achieve noticeable results in size and endurance.
Your mind isn’t always on your side
Ever heard of “the wall”? It’s what marathon runners hit close to the end of a race. In essence, it’s your brain telling you to stop what you’re doing before your body goes into survival mode and starts eating itself to keep you going. In endurance fitness situations, it’s possible to override the mental impulse to halt. There’s an element of mind power in all training, whether it’s getting yourself out of bed for an early morning run or forcing yourself to choose a healthier alternative when you go out for a meal.
As long as you keep your regime within sensible boundaries, pushing against your stopping impulse is an effective way to shed fat, build muscle and develop athletic strength rapidly. Be sure to combine an intensive regime with proper nutrition and rest.
Rest is best
Not exercising is as important as exercising. Sleep, and plenty of it, is your biggest help when it comes to repairing tired muscles and putting that gleam back in your eyes. Simply not exercising on given days is also a good idea. You’ll find that you are hungrier when you rest: listen to your appetite, but be sure to whet it with the right foods. Protein is particularly important on recovery days.
Following these tips will help you to maintain a proper fitness schedule – one you can keep up for years. The results are cosmetic as well as fitness oriented: you’ll be looking out your best party frock, or going online to view Swarovski jewellery collection, in no time!
The Author is a professional fitness writer, whose articles have appeared in both male and female versions of the UK’s most popular fitness magazine. His work is published online by more than 200 websites, and his own network of fitness blogs is routinely used by national home pages looking for quality content.