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4 Tips to Instantly Improve Your Workouts!

Matt Skeffington

Matt’s primary role at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning is to make sure that our coaches and clients are consistently improving, all while operatin...

Matt’s primary role at Dynamic Strength and Conditioning is to make sure that our coaches and clients are consistently improving, all while operatin...

Nov 4 8 minutes read

If you're a bit like me, you love a competitive advantage.

You love any edge that's going to help take your fitness and results to the next level.

Even if that's not up your alley, I am sure you want to make the most of your time and your workouts.

Say you workout 2-3 times per week. 

That typically adds up to only 2-5 hours of fitness in a 164 hour week. 

If that's the case, we want to make sure you are getting the very most out of each and every workout to improve your health and fitness and reach your goals.

Let's get into 5 tips to instantly improve your workouts!

1| Hydrate

Your first tip to help drastically improve your workouts is to simply properly hydrate.

This refers to taking in enough water before your workouts start. 

This is the most common mistake we see people make as they start their workouts without a properly hydrating.

Let's take a look at the numbers and research on the effects of proper hydration on workout performance. 

First, it's important to understand that our bodies are made up of about 50-60% water. This balance of water keeps our body functioning at it's highest level. 

A reduction in hydration, especially during exercise will actually signal our bodies to slow down and fatigue so we don't harm ourselves. This means we workout with less intensity, burn less calories, and leave sets and reps in the gym. 

Research has shown a lack of hydration can cause a reduction in workout performance by 30%.

A lack of hydration causes:

  • A rise in body temperature (decrease sweat and increases fatigue)

  • A reduction in blood volume and increase in blood pressure (increases your heart rate and fatigue)

  • A reduction in energy to your working muscles (increases fatigue)

  • A reduction in blood flow to your heart and working muscles (increases fatigue)

  • A reduction in mental focus and motivation 

  • A rise in muscle and joint stiffness and pain

  • A rise in nausea and muscle cramping

It's important to note of the above happen on top of the fatigue that your workout alone causes.

Here's your hydration tips:

  1. Start your hydration BEFORE your workouts. If possible, start drinking water 1-3 hours before your workouts.

  2. Morning: drink 20-30oz water 

  3. During the day: continuously sip on water

  4. 1 hour before workout: 30oz water

  5. 30min before workout: 10oz water

  6. Your urine should be clear or very light yellow at workout time

  7. Sip on water during your workout

2| Exhale

One of the most overlooked yet vastly important aspects of fitness is controlling your breathing.

When breathing correctly during your workouts you can drastically:

  • Improve your workout performance
  • Decrease fatigue
  • Lower your heart-rate and recover faster between exercises, sets, and reps
  • Improve flexibility and posture
  • Improve endurance, strength, fat-loss, and overall fitness
  • Decrease muscle/joint pain and stiffness & stress
  • Improve workout recovery

Breathing correctly during your workout sounds simple enough, but it's extremely easy to slip into improper breathing mechanics when you're focused more on the exercise at hand. 

It's extremely easy to let your breathing rate get too fast or even hold your breath. 

This leads to a drastic increase in your respiratory and heart-rate, leading to fatigue and an increased injury risk. 

For us, learning to properly breathe during exercise makes up a large piece of our foundation of training. 

It is one of the first areas that we coach our new members on to get them to both understand its importance and make it easy to implement. 

Like anything you're looking to improve, it takes consistent mindfulness and practice to improve. 

Check out the video below where we cover the 4 tips for proper breathing during your workouts!

3| Fuel-Up

Proper nutrition is one of the most important factors when it comes to improving your health. 

This is also true when it comes to getting the most out of your workouts. 

How you eat around your workout plays a vital role in these areas:

  • Losing fat
  • Gaining energy
  • Building strength
  • Boosting performance
  • Keeping you mentally focused and motivated
  • Helping with recovery and soreness

Working out on an empty stomach will cause you to miss out on the many benefits of workout nutrition. Because you will be lacking carbohydrates (energy producer), you are going to have less energy, fatigue quicker, have decreased levels of power, strength and endurance. This means less work and calories burned during your workout.

Also without available protein (muscle builder), your post-workout recovery will suffer as well (increase muscle soreness).

So, what and when should we eat before your workouts?

We want a 50/50 blend of carbohydrates and protein.

Let's start with the fuel or what is known as carbohydrates. 

Carbohydrates (breads, pasta, fruit, vegetables, rice, etc.) are molecules in certain types of food and are great for producing energy and keeping you going during your workouts. 

Our bodies break down the carbohydrates we store and eat into ready to use energy to not only allow us to workout longer, but harder.

We also want protein in our pre-workout meal or snack. 

These include foods like chicken, turkey, eggs, yogurt, and protein powder.

Protein is made up of amino-acids -- the building blocks of life. 

Our body uses the proteins to increase the amino-acid pool in our blood stream. 

Our body pulls from this pool to repair and build various areas of our bodies, especially the muscles we've worked from a hard training session.

If you're eating a larger meal before your workout, eat it 1-2 hours before your workout to allow for digestion.

If you're eating a snack, eat it 1 hour to 30 minutes before your workouts.

Here are some pre-workout snack ideas:

  • Greek yogurt and fruit
  • Toast or English muffin and peanut butter
  • Protein bar
  • Apple and peanut or almond butter
  • Protein and fruit smoothie
  • Fruit and handful of nuts

Eat this with your 10oz of pre-workout water.

4| Warm-Up

One of the biggest mistakes we see people make in their fitness is simply not warming up.

This not only increases your risk of injury, but it also decreases your ability to get the most out of your workout. 

Most people find they either do not have the time to dedicate to a warm-up or aren't really sure how to properly conduct one . so they either get right into their workout or try to get themselves "loose" by walking or jogging on a treadmill. 

Both cases leave you underprepared and greatly increase your risk of getting hurt. 

They do not properly prepare your body and your joints, and muscles for the demands of your workout.

Additionally, by not warming up, you end up using a good portion of your workout time to get loose.

If you have gone out for a run and got right into it, you know how this feels during that first mile.

Now imagine how much more you would get out of your training going into that first mile or bench press set feeling like it was mile or set 4.

A proper warm-up will drastically increase your body's temperature, lubricate your joints, improve your strength, increase energy to your working muscles, decrease fatigue, increase flexibility, and decrease injury.

This results in better, stronger, more efficient workouts for you!

Watch the video below on exactly how to complete a quick, total-body warm-up:


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