About a month ago I wrote You Only Have One Body… Part 1, where I promised a Part 2… Better late than never, right? Here it goes!
In Part 1, I said that the “huge muscles in your body…need to be stretched and pampered in order to function well.” But really, all the muscles in your body need these 3 things to function favorably.
You’ve heard this from everyone: stretching and warming up is so important for your muscles. Yet, many of us overlook those first few minutes of our workout and dive right in.
Your muscles need to literally warm up in order to produce more energy to sustain you through a workout.
So here are some ideas:
- Jog before you start a workout – but don’t sprint to get it over with! This is almost a complete warm-up because it gets your heart rate up and warms up basically all of your big muscles in the trunk and the legs.
- Jog in place. If all the treadmills are taken, if it’s raining outside, or you simply don’t feel like matching your outfit to go outside, jogging in place as you watch your favorite show is perfectly acceptable.
- Jumping jacks. These will do almost the same as jogging, but with more arm motion. Do you sense a complete warm-up here? I think so.
You also should cool down! Stretch your muscles out so they can recover quickly and show the improvements you want to see.
Contrary to warm-ups, cool-downs can be static (in a fixed position). That means you can stretch out those hamstrings as you watch some TV – or as you catch up on homework (See? No excuses).
You wouldn’t fuel your car with sewer water, would you? First, ew. And second, your car wouldn’t even start!
Same principle goes to your body. If you don’t feed it right, it won’t perform.
You know that athletes get a whole diet plan to make them faster, stronger, bigger, leaner, etc. That’s because whatever you put in is what’s making your body work for you all day – and if it’s chocolate from the dollar store, it won’t like it.
Here’s some guidance for a better performance during exercise:
- Eat less sugary foods. Dessert is great, but make it a privilege, not a necessity, to have it. These carbs are good for quick energy, but if you don’t use them up right away, they build up as fat. They also interrupt your long-term energy production, which is what endurance training is all about!
- Don’t binge! Overeating just makes you feel super heavy and bloated. Try to eat until you’re satisfied. Then, when you’re hungry, grab a snack!
- Don’t work out when you’re hungry. This is the worst thing for many reasons. One of them being that you’re setting yourself up for binging! If you have to eat something small, do so and wait about 30 minutes before starting.
- And of course, don’t just eat anything! Make sure that what you’re eating has just as much nutrition as it has calories. Empty calories are enemies to us all.
You need to rest so your body has time to recover!
Building strength isn’t merciless. Your body needs time to build up to your goal. And that time is often during your sleep. So try to get enough sleep every night. And be patient with yourself and your body!
Remember that you only have one body! Treat it well and it will return the favor.