The start of a new year is the perfect time to set new goals.
After all that holiday eating, it is no surprise that, according to a YouGov survey, “exercising more” topped the list of Americans’ new year’s resolutions last year, and likely will this year too.
Whether your goal is to shed a few unwanted pounds, bulk up your muscle mass or to simply get in better shape, below are a few tips to help you get the most out of your workouts and reach your fitness goals in 2021.
Gradually increase intensity. When you’re starting a new workout routine, consistency is key!
After habitually following a routine, you’ll find that your workouts get easier and easier. This is a good thing; it means your body is making progress, but it can also mean that you’ve hit a plateau.
To continue seeing results, you need to challenge your body by gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts. This concept is called progressive overload and there are several ways to apply it to your routine: you can increase the number of reps, add additional weight, extend the duration of your cardio session or turn up the pace of your workout.
Eat protein-rich foods and take a protein-digesting enzyme. Protein is an essential nutrient that everyone needs in their diet, especially if you’re working out regularly.
Exercising breaks down muscle, and protein helps repair the muscle fibers and promotes muscle growth. Foods like chicken, salmon, eggs, spinach, yogurt and nuts are all great sources of protein. However, consuming plenty of protein doesn’t automatically mean your body will utilize it all—in fact, you’re likely only digesting 10% of it properly.
To help your body utilize more of the protein you eat and increase your lean muscle mass, add a protein-digesting enzyme supplement to your regimen.
Stay hydrated. Dehydration is more common than you might think — according to Medical Daily, up to 75% of adults are chronically dehydrated. If you aren’t properly hydrated, your workouts will feel tougher, it will be more difficult for your body to recover and it can even lead to more dangerous complications.
Hydrate before, during and after your workouts in order to replenish the fluid you’re sweating out and allow your body to function optimally. Water is best, but if you want to mix it up, try an electrolyte-rich beverage.
Rest and recover. Just as it’s important to make physical activity a priority, it is just as vital to give your body time to rest after a workout. If you’re pushing yourself to complete a rigorous workout every single day, you’ll not only risk getting burnt out, but you could seriously injure yourself.
Your muscles need time to repair themselves which is done during that time off. Additionally, allowing yourself some downtime in between workouts will actually give you more energy to attack your future sessions at full speed.
As we ring in the new year and our focus shifts to new fitness goals, make sure to fuel your body with the proper nutrients, slowly increase the intensity of your exercises and allow off days for rest and recuperation. Following these key tips will set you up for success and help you get the most out of each and every workout.
Editor’s Note: Justin Marsh is the CEO of Arthur Andrew Medical, a Scottsdale-based manufacturer of enzyme and probiotic based dietary supplements.