Five Ways to Get a Better Workout

Exercise smarter-and see the results!
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Five Ways to Get a Better Workout

Exercise smarter—and see the results!

-JoAnna Zulli

Fitness class

It’s a no-brainer to make sure you drink plenty of water before, during and after your workout so you’ll stay hydrated. And more and more of us are realizing that it’s better to work out at high intensity for a shorter amount of time, like 30 to 40 minutes, than at low intensity for a longer amount of time, like an hour. But here’s some stuff you may not know:

Eat before and after

To get the most out of your workout, energize your body with carbohydrates and protein. Carbs give you the fuel you need to exercise, and protein supplies nutrients to build muscle and repair damaged tissue. Time your snack right: eat one hour before working out. You’ve got several choices–a banana, a whey or soy protein shake, or an apple or celery with peanut butter– that will help you feel satisfied and not starved when you’re done. After working out, a protein/carb meal replacement bar or a protein shake can help stimulate muscle growth. Musts to avoid: sugary snacks (they’ll make you feel sluggish) and caffeine (you’ll feel great for a while, and then crash).

Read 7 Foods To Feed Your Metabolism

Suit up

In the gym, clothes are about more than style. Don’t wear anything that’s too tight. Your body needs to breathe while you’re working out, and your arms and legs have to be able to move freely. As for the other extreme, don’t get too comfortable. If your top or sweatpants are baggy, you could get caught on a machine, trip or be forever stopping to roll up saggy sleeves. Layering is out, too: You’ll become very hot fast, and you’ll be interrupting your workout by stopping to take off each layer. What’s left? The best workout clothing is made of breathable synthetic fiber. Think a fitted (not tight) pair of shorts or pants with a t-shirt. And buy a good sneaker that gives your feet enough support.

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