Easy Fitness Hacks to Improve Your Workout Performance
Nothing kills fitness motivation faster than a plateau in results. This can happen to anyone, whether you’re just getting started at the gym or running marathons. Professional athletes often have the luxury of utilizing hyperbaric chambers and personal massage therapists, but these options are largely unavailable for the Average Janes and Joes with more modest budgets and lifestyles. Fortunately, there are plenty of other ways to cultivate breakthrough toward setting new personal records that are both cost and time efficient. Here are four that anyone can do without overhauling their existing routines.
Update your playlist: For decades, scientists have analyzed the numerous remarkable effects that music has on the brain and body. When it comes to exercise, a 2010 study published in the journal Psychology of Sport and Exercise found that music can improve athletic performance by either delaying fatigue or increasing work capacity. It’s important to curate your songs based on the workout. For example, long, slow-paced run calls for different tunes than lifting weights or HIIT training like CrossFit.
Activate the central nervous system: This may sound overly advanced for recreational fitness, but it doesn’t require much effort and can make a big difference in your workout. Getting your mind right is more than just coach-speak. In fact, simple stretches will stimulate your brain and prepare your body for rigorous activity. Raquel Harris, Team USA Gold Medal World Championship winner, told VeryWellFit that activating your central nervous system before resistance training will “maximize your performance by signaling the recruitment of more muscle fibers” and “control balance and coordination to help you work against a weight or force.”
Change your outfit: NFL icon Deon Sanders sloganized “Look Good, Feel Good, Play Good” and he may have been on to something. Certain workout gear may restrict movement, like clothing that is too tight or too baggy, which is distracting and uncomfortable at best. Additionally, studies have shown that what you wear has at least a psychological impact strong enough to impact outcomes.
Add some healthy competition: Having a consistent workout buddy with similar size, strength and endurance can allow you both to set the same fitness goals. For those who don’t, compete against yourself! Practical steps towards establishing your own goals, like taking notes and tracking incremental progress can go a long way. It will help motivate you to push through that final point of physical exertion when you’re tired and allows for strategic adjustments if you’re failing to see breakthrough.