Whether you are starting a new exercise routine or have been regularly exercising for years, sometimes just getting to the gym is half the battle. Occasionally, you may feel tired or slow during a workout, and that is normal. After all, those 5 am gym sessions can be tiring! However, if you want to improve the efficiency and energy levels of your workouts, follow these tips to banish those sluggish feelings during exercising.
Don’t forget to eat
Eating before a workout gives your body the energy it needs to power through a workout. The key, of course, is to choose the right snack at the right time.
- Type of snack: Simply carbohydrates break down quickly and turn into a usable form of energy for your body. Simple carbs can be paired with a little protein as well. Good pre-exercise snacks include Greek yogurt with fruit, a piece of whole wheat toast, a handful of raw nuts, oatmeal, or an apple with peanut butter. Aim for about 200 calories for your pre-workout snack.
- Avoid processed foods, fatty foods, sugary or rich foods: These foods will be harder to digest and make exercising more difficult.
- Get the timing right: Experts agree that eating 45 minutes to an hour before you exercise is ideal.
Grab your iPod
Exercising to the beat of music can help propel you out of a slump. In fact, a psychologist from Brunel University in Britain has been studying the effects of music during exercise for the past two decades, and he discovered fascinating information. People who exercise while listening to music:
- Require less oxygen
- Exercise longer
- Can sync their pace (if running) to the beat of the music
Not only can music help improve performance, but the music itself can improve the mood of the individual while exercising. Win-win!
A leisurely walk around the block might not wake you up if you’re already feeling sluggish. Opting for a higher-intensity exercise can propel you out of sluggishness and into alertness. High-intensity exercises include:
- Jump rope
- Hiking up a challenging, steep hill or mountain
- Swimming laps
The more intense the activity is, the more quickly you will “wake up.”
Change your routine
Sometimes sluggishness can creep in with boredom. Alternate or switch up your routine to fight boredom and fatigue.
- Swap your exercise time: Do you normally hit the gym on your lunch break? Try going to the gym before or after work to change the pace.
- Add stations: If you run on the bike path, pause every 1/4 mile and do jumping jacks or squats.
Drink a cup of coffee
Drinking a cup of coffee before your workout can help give you the energy boost you need. Although experts do agree that individuals should not drink more than 400mg per day, try to aim for just 100mg (about one cup of coffee) before your workout.
- Drink your coffee black if you can as you don’t want to consume a lot of sugar before exercising
- Avoid coffee-based beverages like blended drinks or drinks with heavy syrups
- Remember to consume plenty of water throughout the rest of your day to maintain proper hydration
Ready to exercise?
Implement one (or more!) of these tips, and you should see your energy levels soar throughout your workout.