We are a society of instant gratification and we demand instant results. Our need for speed and convenience has been researched and our generation possesses fast cars, quick smart phones (that seem to get smarter day by day), instant coffee, ready to eat foods and.... the list is endless! Our lives have gotten busier; we need faster results with less time spent on any given task.
With weight loss the trend is no different. Clients want to shed 10 or more kgs in 1-2 months. They realise their need to lose weight just before an event like a wedding and expect their Dietitian and Fitness trainer to work wonders on getting them down to a size zero! Some clients even go to the extreme of doing more than the prescribed hours of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts to shed fat and build lean muscles in a shorter period of time. They also try to eat the bare minimum in an effort to shed pounds quickly.
But is this safe or even sane? While health professionals always encourage exercise, for beginners or those who have been sedentary for long periods of time, these high intensity exercises come with an added risk for injury. During exercise, a balanced diet is equally important, the body needs energy for exercise and a balance of nutrients is essential for healthy weight loss.
So how do we get faster and safer workout results? Here are seven tips.
1. Never exercise on an empty stomach.
Have a fruit or a source of whole grain carbohydrates. This will provide energy for exercise so that you do not rely on muscle tissue for energy. Having fruit 15 minutes prior to any vigorous workout will also help prevent muscle cramping. Bananas contain potassium which gets into the blood stream quickly; this helps in limiting the lactic acid that causes muscle ache.
Hydrate before, during and after a workout. This will help ease muscle cramps which are caused due to dehydration. Tender coconut water is an excellent option as the electrolytes it contains have exactly the same composition as the electrolytes in human blood. Fluids like water, infused water, tender coconut, skimmed milk and buttermilk are all good hydrating options.
While stretches help with warm ups, it is equally important to stretch throughout the workout especially while sweating. The muscles receive oxygenated blood and are under strain due to exercise; stretching will decrease the lactic acid build-up as the muscles become more flexible. Hold the stretch and count from 1 to 10, release and repeat.
4. Foam roller.
Foam rollers help to relieve knots in muscle and soft tissue by providing a deep tissue massage. It can be used to provide relief to painful areas like hamstrings, quads, shoulders and lower back.
5. Rub it in
A day after the workout is when your muscles start to ache and feel sore; this is due to the high concentration of lactic acid build up. Try massaging the painful areas with a deep soothing pain balm and take a warm bath soon after. Give yourself adequate rest after a workout or keep a free day in between if the pain is too much. Don't give up at this point, be consistent.
6. Push yourself but not too hard.
It's always good to go the extra mile, but overdoing exercise can actually affect you in a negative way. Enjoy exercising and work toward fitness. Know your limits and do not over do it!
7. Balanced diet
A balanced diet is important as all the nutrients are important for good health. Crash/ fad diets that eliminate food groups do not work in the long run and could be detrimental to a person's health. Include plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables, healthy sources of protein like beans, dals, pulses, egg whites, skinless chicken, fish and nuts, whole grains and most importantly drink plenty of water and be well hydrated.