I’m new to the workout scene. Let’s rephrase that. I’m new to following a tough, detailed plan on how to workout. At the beginning, I just wanted to way to stay active. When i was living in Toronto, I walked more. I was jogging. I had a park to go to spend my afternoon at. I’m not as active in my new city. I’ve also become a homebody. This is why I looked for a personal trainer from home. They sent me a three month program that I need to do twice a week. The program gets harder by the month. I’m on my third week of the first month, and I already feel the difference. I feel rejuvenated after each session. If you’re thinking of hiring a personal trainer, try mine. Get more info here.
While the actual workout makes me feel good, it’s the little things that improve the experience. Here are a few workout tips I’ve picked up so far:
Workout tips: Set the mood
Setting the mood for anything I do is very important. During the week, I transform my apartment into an office. When I’m working out, I transform my apartment into a gym. First, I make sure my aromatherapy diffuser is filled with water and my energy boosting oils. The oils, while they energize me, also keep my mood balanced and centered. Very important when I’m on my last rep and feel like throwing my barbell into the wall.
Second, I pump up the jams. Upbeat tracks have always proven well. I actually created a Spotify playlist of my favourite workout tunes that you can check out below. I like to start off my workout with funk, move into hip hop and by then, I just need anything to hold my motivational thought process. Translated: Anything with a good baseline. It varies from MC Lyte and Tribe Called Quest to MGMT and Green Day. Here’s a funky teaser of what you’ll find.
Workout tips: Preparation
Stretching before working out is key in preparing for a good sweaty time. But there’s more. Before I start my sessions, I’ve been hitting the kitchen. Keeping my stomach happy by fueling up with a small snack. If you’re planning on working out after any huge meal, give yourself a few hours to digest.
When I got my meal plan from my trainer, I thought I would’ve had to go out and buy certain new, mysterious foods that only bodybuilders ate. Nope. The meal plan was full of goodies I have already – yogourt, smoothies, greens, nuts, eggs and even coffee. Caffeine helps stimulate your central nervous system, so you’ll have a little extra oomph in your moves. As a bonus, research shows that it can actually make exercise feel more enjoyable, so you’re more likely to push harder.
Get away from social media and daily life. This is huge for me. Working out has become my meditation time. This is why I ditch the outside world and concentrate on my inner peace. Cool trick is that I put my phone on airplane mode during workouts. If you’re at the gym, leave your phone in the locker. The workout ‘grams can wait.
Workout tips: Stretching
My registered massage therapists would always get mad at me because I never stretched. This caused them having to do extra of the heavy lifting on my legs, specifically my IT bands. I’ve started to take stretching seriously. Dynamic stretches are a core component of pretty much any warm-up. I even streatch on non-workout days. Shhhh.. it makes me feel like I accomplished something on my day off.
Here’s a video I like to watch before all my workouts.
Workout tips: Post-workout
As I mentioned above, my IT bands are a sore subject. This is why I invested in a foam roller a few years ago. It helps improve flexibility after a workout. It increases blood flow and circulation and unties those pesky knots.
Chill out. Allow your body to cool down after exercising. This can prevent blood from pooling in the veins.
Massage. If you’re like me and are a newcomer to regular, intense workout programs, you’ll be in need of a good massage after the first few weeks. A strong sports massage or a relaxing deep tissue massage will help you repair those kinks. If you’re in Ontario, check these guys out – Massago. They’ll deliver a knowledgeable RMT to your house for a 60, 75 or 90 minute session. Find out more about their app here.
On the alternative side, I’ve experimented with aromatherapy massage in the past. The right aromatherapist will be able to take care of those battle wounds with the perfect mix of essential oils. For me, aromatherapy has worked wonders with my bum knee, clicking wrist and troubled back. As I sit at the computer a lot – for work and `play’, I like to treat myself to my own therapy before my work week begins. I use salts and oils to soak my hands in hot water. What a delight treat it has become.
Here’s the most important tip I’ll share. Working out is for the self. Make it a post-workout ritual to spend a few minutes reflecting on how you connected with your body and your inner self during your workout.. Start to listen to your body and know what it’s needing from you so you can make the most of the time. This comes back to your workout soundtrack. Make sure the music you choose inspires you and takes you in that special place where they won’t be any negative vibes floating around. High energy, big bass, screaming vocals are all fine. Just make sure they’re all coming from a good place and giving you a centered, positive vibe.