- What you do during your workout is important, but what you do before and after can take your fitness to the next level.
- Managing muscle soreness and joint health, getting enough sleep, maintaining testosterone, prioritizing nutrition and brain health, and practicing mindfulness are all powerful ways you can get the most out of your workouts.
Whether you work out for 15 minutes a day or two hours, by going on a leisurely walk or busting your butt at a spin class, the effectiveness of exercise often depends more on what is done before and after, than during the workout itself.
The truth is, although what you do when you exercise is important, what you do when you’re not exercising is equally necessary.
Let’s look at six ways you can get the most out of your workouts:
1. Maximize energy
There’s nothing worse than dragging yourself through a workout and counting down the minutes until it’s over. Whether you work out first thing in the morning or at the end of a long day, being able to maximize your energy when training is one of the most crucial steps to having an effective workout.
B vitamins are needed to power your body. Your body derives energy from the food you eat, and B complex vitamins work to get the most out of the proteins, fats, and carbohydrates you consume.*
Let’s take a look at what each B vitamin does for your body:
- B12: This is a key player in supporting energy metabolism. B12 helps maintain cellular energy by converting food into energy.*
- B6: Helps promote the production of red blood cells and aid in the conversion of food into energy.*
- B3: Aka, niacin. B3 supports carbohydrate and protein metabolism.*
- B2: Also known as riboflavin. Aids in metabolism of fats, carbs, and protein to support energy production to fuel your body.*
You can get all of these B vitamins from various food sources, such as whole grains, meats, eggs, legumes, dark leafy greens, or seeds and nuts. However, the easiest way to ensure you’re getting enough B vitamins is to take a simple B-Complex Vitamin.*
2. Manage muscle soreness and joint health
Let’s get this straight: gains are not formed while you exercise. Muscle growth occurs during the rest and recovery period following a workout. This rest and recovery period is crucial not only for muscle health but for joint health as well. Neglecting your joints can result in decreased mobility and flexibility, and an increased risk of injury.
Stretching, performing cool-down exercises, or foam rolling muscles are all great ways to manage soreness and joint health. But if you need a little extra help, Solgar® No. 7 wields a powerful combination of ingredients specifically designed to support joint mobility, flexibility, and range of motion.*
- Vitamin C: involved in collagen formation, which contributes to joint health.*
- Turmeric Root Extract
- Willow Bark
- Ginger Root
- Pepper Spice Complex Cayenne Powder
- 5-LOXIN Advanced®**: this highly potent extract from the herb Boswellia serrata shows improved joint comfort in as little as 7 days.*
- UC-II® Standardized Cartilage***: a unique joint health ingredient containing type II collagen that supports joint range of motion.*
Taking care of your muscles and joints is a win-win cycle: the better your rest period, the faster your muscles will recover, and the quicker you can get back to training and making them even stronger.
3. Get enough sleep
One in three adults still doesn’t get enough sleep. No matter how much we wish we were sleeping during the day, or when our alarms go off in the morning, most people still struggle to turn off their screens at night and catch those z’s.
Sleep has a powerful impact on the effectiveness of physical activity. Not only does sleep increase your energy, but many of the critical restorative functions of the body happen during sleep – such as tissue repair and muscle growth.
Along with the protein you get from your diet, during sleep your body produces its own muscle-building hormones, such as the human growth hormone (HGH). While you snooze, blood flow to your muscles increases and tissue growth and repair occur.
One study that looked at basketball players discovered sleep can even improve muscle coordination. Players who added two hours of sleep to their nightly routine experienced a five percent increase in reaction time and speed on the court.
If you struggle to get enough sleep, consider taking a high-quality supplement such as Full Spectrum Curcumin Sleep Ease, which helps to support mental relaxation and sleep thanks to GABA and melatonin.*^ Plus, curcumin has beneficial antioxidant properties to help fight free radicals. An excess of free radicals has been associated with joint discomfort.*
^for occasional sleeplessness
4. Stay sharp
You wouldn’t skip leg day, so make sure you don’t miss brain day either.
Brain health is just as important as physical health when maximizing your workouts. Mind-muscle connection refers to the mental focus on the muscles being used – it is where the brain meets the body. It involves a conscious engagement between mind and movement and increases the effectiveness of your workout while preventing injury.
In order to achieve a strong connection between your mind and muscles, it’s important to keep your brain healthy. Taking frequent online breaks, engaging in mentally-stimulating activities, and (you guessed it) a healthy diet and adequate sleep, are great ways to improve brain health.
Solgar® Phosphatidylserine Softgels are a premium brain health supplement which are derived from natural sources. Phosphatidylserine levels in the brain can decline with age, so it’s important to supplement daily, helping replenish this nutrient that is naturally found in brain cell membranes, to aid brain function.*
5. Prioritize nutrition
You’ve heard it before, and we’ll say it again: what you eat matters. At the end of the day, a sweat-drenching workout is only as effective as your diet is healthy.
Getting proper nutrition can help you reap long-term benefits. Eating healthy regularly can support better heart and cardiovascular health, as well as mental health.*
According to the CDC, 90% of Americans are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Not eating enough of these foods leaves you at a risk for nutritional deficiencies such as lacking vitamins and minerals, which are important for good health.*
Fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals, which are related to color. Fruits and vegetables of different colors have their own combinations of phytochemicals that are all important for promoting good health.
Another great reason to eat the rainbow is fiber. Soluble fibers can help slows the rate that sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream, which will help maintain healthy blood sugar levels already within a normal range.*
It can be difficult to get an adequate amount of fruits and vegetables, especially with a busy lifestyle. Taking a multivitamin, such as Solgar®’s Male Multiple, is an easy way to get a variety of micronutrients – although it should never replace a healthy diet.
6. Practice mindfulness
Stress has a huge impact on the body – especially when it is continuous and long term. When the mind is stressed, it sends the body into “fight or flight” mode. This “fight or flight” response heightens muscle tension and heart rate while shutting down long-term survival systems – such as your immune system.
Practicing mindfulness is a powerful way to combat these stress-factors. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that rather than emptying the mind, focuses on complete awareness of the body and mind. Although they have gained popularity in recent years, mindfulness and meditation have roots that are thought to extend back thousands of years.
Remember mind-muscle connection? Mindfulness is a great way to manage stress while also improving your MMC. Being more present during your workouts means performing higher quality movements, and achieving the best possible results.
There are many apps you can download to learn more about mindfulness, or you can also try following a Youtube video.
Now it’s your turn!
If you’re exercising regularly, you’ve already taken care of what is arguably the most difficult part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle. By incorporating these few simple practices into your daily routine, you can greatly improve the quality of your workouts and maximize your results.
Because at the end of the day, it’s not just about the gains – it’s about the long-term, physical and mental benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
To learn more about improving your overall health, and for exclusive offers on Solgar® products, subscribe to our emails here.
The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Solgar® site.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
**5-LOXIN ADVANCED® is a trademark of PL Thomas – Laila Nutra, LLC. U.S. Patent #8,551,496 and patents pending
***UC-II® is a Lonza Trademark.