How to optimize your results – before, during and after training
The Holy Trinity of training is pitching the training hard and heavy (resistance), intense and quick (cardio) and then maximizing the recovery with rest and great nutrition.
Winning the trifecta may be the target but don’t expect to score every time. We are human after all and by that token gloriously messy, imperfect, willful and often somewhat twisted (side serve of self-sabotage anyone?). The point is this doesn’t matter one jot. Not a jot. What does matter is the intention followed up by it’s soon to be best mate, consistency. Now, I bang on a lot about this in my blogs so forgive the re-peat however, in the name of creating positive change we sometimes need to be belted over the head with an idea many times. Subtle? No, but what good is that when you’ve spent the past 5 years planning on making certain changes and have “suddenly” wound up here with nothing different and 5 less years to enjoy the new, stronger, fitter you.
If the session is to be a highly intense one, it is often best to go in fasted both from a practical stand point of not wanting to re-visit your previous meal and also to maximize using fat for fuel.
This is common sense really – either use the food you’ve recently eaten, ie carbohydrates to fuel your workout, or create a “lean window” and use more of your fat stores instead. I am over-simplifying this but long gone are the days of carb-loading (sing out if you want me to expand on this).
– non-starchy carbs
– good fats
TIP: Allow several hours for it to digest.
Try drinking Sencha Green Tea just prior
to training to help maximize fat burning potential.
Daily life is hard. We think the BIG stuff is the toughest part to deal with and, in a way it is because it often kneecaps us and quite literally forces us to re-evaluate everything in order to process and learn to live with whatever new reality we must face. However, the truly tricky aspect is navigating daily life, juggling the business/busy-ness we take on, believing we have no time for anything else. Ever.
Yet it is the downtime between training sessions when the magic happens in the body and the re-building occurs in the muscles. Put simply, exercise, and especially intense exercise, applies stress to the muscles, which then need to break down and repair to re-grow bigger and stronger. So good nutrition and rest are the two key items to focus on post training.
If you are a weekend warrior, ie train three to four times a week at a medium intensity then the timing of your food post exercise is less important. Simply eat a balanced meal when suits.
If you train 5, 6, 9, 10 etc times a week or for extended periods then this part is key in order to fire up and hit the next session hard. Take your rest seriously by maximizing your sleep and including recovery sessions in your training where the intensity is light. Cycle your training so that you have lighter weeks after 4 or 5 intense ones again to give your body (muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, adrenals, yes, everything…..) a chance to repair, rest and avoid over-training issues.
Get friendly with a foam roller. Those who are already acquainted will know it isn’t an easy relationship – the love just seems so hard to come by and yet, stick with it, keep rolling those knotty spots and your body will thank you even if your mind is still yelling “Noooooooooo!”.
This is your most important meal of the day particularly if you train a) hard and b) often. Here is where you need your starchy carbs to replenish your muscle’s glycogen stores. You have a window of opportunity here – aim to consume a balanced meal of non-starchy carbs, protein, good fats & starchy carbs ideally within one hour of training. You don’t need to rush as the body’s energy will initially be focused on getting oxygen to the working muscles. However, by consuming a great, well-balanced meal within the one, no more than two hour window you give you body the best chance to recover ready to train hard again at your next session.
– non-starchy carbs
– good fats
– starchy carbs
Eaten within 1 hour of training
Have a purpose to your training, both an overall direction in which you are heading and also a point to the workout in front of you. Try not to just rock up and go through the motions because it’s a Tuesday and that’s what you do on a Tuesday…..! As soon as that happens you can pretty much kiss your success goodbye.
None of us feels bouncy and energetic all the time. Training is hard and requires mental discipline to do well. I often wish I didn’t have to do a particular session and would far rather sit and chill but a) I know without a shadow of a doubt I will feel better afterwards, b) my self-discipline gets stronger each session and c) well, I’ve chosen a career path whereby I get paid to work out so that kind of helps…..
Some workouts feel amazing from the get go whereas others just suck. Sometimes you feel really tired beforehand and yet manage to pull something special out of the bag and others are just a grind from the first step. No different to anything else we do but we keep going. And going. And then all those hard moments, tough sessions, hideous lunges (!!!!!!) become worth it.
To me, music is everything. The right playlist can switch up your mood and therefore your energy in an instant. So take the time to put together some killer playlists and feel the difference it makes. Alternatively, if you are doing a gentle recovery session, maybe quiet headspace is a good option.
– Define the purpose to your training session/arc
– Consider using a training diary
– Get creative with your playlists
At the end of the day, you can have the best tunes, the perfect program, the snazzy sneakers and the hottest intentions but, until you actually get stuck in, none of that matters.
GET STUCK IN!
Photo credits: Pexels, Ractapopulous, FirmBee, Geralt, NeuPaddy, RitaW, Taken, Wokandapix, Chefkeem