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25 Ways to Improve Your Workout

You never have to endure a bad workout again. Inject these 25 tips into your daily routine to start supercharging your gym sessions.

By Jim Stoppani, PhD, and Eric Velazquez
25 Ways to Improve Your Workout

Day of Your Workout

Your workout doesn't start when you walk into the gym - it begins when you wake up in the morning and continues throughout the day. Preparations go beyond just packing your gym bag. They start with eating the right things at the right times to increase your body's productivity at the gym. In addition to your usual nutritional goals, you should observe these tips to power you through your workout.

1. Eat slow-digesting carbs before workouts

>> Researchers at Loughborough University (UK) discovered that when athletes ate slow-digesting carbs such as whole grains for breakfast and lunch, they had lower insulin levels and burned more fat during the day. The athletes also had more endurance and burned more fat during exercise compared to those who ate fast-digesting carbs such as white bread or plain bagels. Be sure that all the meals you eat before your workout, including the one immediately before, include about 40 grams of slow-digesting carbs such as oatmeal, sweet potatoes, fruit, buckwheat (see tip No. 4) or whole-wheat bread.

2. Avoid higher-fat meals for up to four hours before workouts

>> A University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore) study reported that a high-fat meal blunts the ability of nitric oxide (NO) to dilate blood vessels for up to four hours. That means less blood flow to muscles and less of a muscle pump, which is even more costly if you've invested in an NO supplement. In the four hours before your workout, avoid eating large amounts of fats, such as the obvious fast-food fare and packaged foods (even if you're in a mass-gaining phase).

3. Eat a green salad with your last whole-food meal before the gym

>> The same University of Maryland researchers also discovered that consuming a small green salad with a high-fat meal prevented the adverse effects on blood vessel dilation, likely by enhancing NO. About two hours before you hit the gym, include a green salad with low-fat dressing with your meal.

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