Get the Most Out of Your Gym Workout

I totally go through phases in my fitness-life. I think this makes sense, since fitness is my lifelong love, it should change and evolve as my life changes and evolves. After a bad ITBS injury this past fall, I have spent a lot of time in the gym rehabbing my injury, working out the uninjured parts of my body and doing cardio on the elliptical or spin bike. And I have to say, overall, I’ve loved it. Yes, I miss running, but I forgot how much fun working out in the gym can be.

Since I know how hard it can be for an endorphin-high junkie like me to swap long runs for time in the gym, I wanted to share with you some of my tips for making the transition

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  1. The Fitocracy App for iPhone – I am obsessed with this FREE app. Lemme break it down for you. It gives you the ability to track your workouts and your progress and makes lifting a tad more competitive for all my fellow racing-junkies out there. It sort of makes your workout into a video game, since it assigns “points” to all your movements. I am totally obsessed with collecting points, “leveling up” and completing challenges to get “fitness badges.”

Since the app saves your customized work-outs, you can track your “personal records” and decide whether you want to increase your load the next time you lift. This also makes it easy to track whether you beat your “points” versus the last time you did the workout. Also, it has written and video explanations of hundreds of workout techniques. Its definitely saved me a million times to be able to look up what the heck different exercises look like. Its really been an amazing way to amp up my accountability, the competitive aspect of weight lifting, and to keep myself engaged….something I have found difficulty with when weight lifting in the past.

image12. One of my favorite things about being a runner is the sweat. Weird, I know, to hear from a girly girl like myself but I totally love leaving a workout drenched in sweat– and running is bound to get me thurr. However, I find that its hard for me to achieve the same level of work in the gym (well, barring spin class– that’s another guaranteed sweat sesh).

While you can work super hard (think, heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts) with minimal perspiration; having a means to copycat my runner’s sweat-look (HAHA) has really helped me adhere to my new cardio obsession; elliptical. To do so, I wrap by trunk in a ProForm Adjustable Waist Trimmer Belt (see pic above) I bought on Amazon. Its  inexpensive, easy to clean (I just wipe down with gym wipes daily; and then wash it in the dishwasher once a week), and not super noticeable under your gym clothes. Honestly, at first I was super conscientious about wearing it out in the open and would run to the bathroom to put it on, but now I kind of think it amps up my intensity, so i proudly wrap it around my clothes in the middle of the gym. Whatever, I’m sweatier than you…and you’re jealous.


3. A Pre-Workout Snack- Here’s the thing about workout snacks (pre-and post-)… some of us NEED them because we need extra calories while some of us need them because it helps us get our butt in gear. Let me explain.

beetsOn days when I know its been a few hours since my last meal and I want to spike some insulin in the blood stream to support the anabolic effects of weight lifting (this applies for my big muscle group days, like leg day), I’ll eat a small snack to spike sugar but more importantly to keep me going in the gym. Here’s the thing- I hate being hungry, and hunger at the gym is the fastest way to get me from being geared up to workout, to texting on my phone and halfassing a workout just to get home and eat. For me, I’d rather have a smart, low calorie snack to support satiety and then bang out a killer 1.5 hour workout!

However, I do not consider myself to be such an intense athlete that I need to be eating extra calories (at this time) to maintain my weight. Instead, I count my pre-workout snack as part of my total calories for the day. So, for instance, if I am aiming for 1450 calories on Monday… well, I’d have planned on saving 100-200 of those calories for my pre-workout snack, rather than eating 1600 calories because I am going to the gym and “burning them off anyway.”

My favorite snacks right now include:

A scoop of whey in coffee for “fasted” lifting (branch chain amino acids have been associated with helping to attenuate muscle breakdown) (~80 calories, 0 carb, 20 gm protein)

Siggis yogurt with 1 cup berries (~160 calories, ~25 gm carb, ~14 gm protein)

Three tablespoons of PB2 mixed with water and berries (130 calories, ~19 gm carb, ~8 gm protein)

or….a pear (~60-80 calories, 15-20 calories, 0 gm protein)

  • Jeff Stripp
    Posted at 11:46h, 11 February Reply

    Hi Serena. Great Post – gonna give Fitocracy App a try. Also, good to know you are using gym wipes to wipe down your waist trimmer belt. Out of curiosity, what type of wipes are you using and would you be willing to give ours ( a try?

    • Serena Hunt RDN CD-N
      Posted at 12:41h, 11 February Reply

      Hey Jeff! Thanks for reading! I’m just using whatever wipes my gym has- don’t foresee myself bringing my own stash to the gym. Thanks for the offer though :)

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