The New Year is just around the corner, and if you’re a gym bunny, the looming spectre that is your fitness goals may be rearing its head.
Have you made progress this year? Have you achieved what you set out to achieve when you began working out all those months ago? Have you made the most out of your gym membership?
Here are some tips and tricks if you’re looking to get back on track, have fallen off the exercise wagon, or are contemplating leading a healthier life in the coming year.
Get A Good Night’s Sleep
The most common, simple advice is often the best type of advice, especially if it’s backed by science.
Poor sleep hinders exercise performance and the number of calories you burn during exercise, according to a 2013 review titled 'The Use Of Carbohydrates During Exercise As An Ergogenic Aid' published in Sports Medicine.
It also slows your body’s ability to come back stronger after every workout session, which can lead to fitness plateaus where you feel like you’re not making as much progress as the effort you’re putting in. Aim for between seven and nine hours of sleep every night to get the most out of your workouts.
Drink More Water
Some gym-goers sweat out between 6% and 10% of their body weight in fluids.
A 2010 study titled 'Water, Hydration And Health' published in Nutrition Reviews states that losing just 2% of your body weight in fluids can make your workout feel more taxing, and lower your exercise performance and body’s ability to recover after you leave the gym.
Unfortunately, many people come to the gym already dehydrated and lose even more fluids after their workout sessions. This leads to a spiral of exhaustion and fatigue, where you feel that you’re working out harder than ever but the results are simply not showing.
Keep a water bottle handy, and weigh yourself before and after every sweat session to ensure you’re not losing more than 2% of your body weight in water.
However, make sure not to drink so much water that your sodium levels get too low. Try to find a balance that works for you.
According to founder and CEO of MuscleManiaClub.com (MMC) Vincent Loh, everyone needs a healthy intake of protein to maintain a healthy body. It helps repair any internal or external damage, supports the immune system, and contributes to an overall feeling of well-being.
“If you’re exercising but find yourself low on energy or feel that you’re not building any muscle, it may be because you don’t have enough protein in your diet. Make an effort to eat more protein, or consume protein bars and shakes to get more out of your workouts.”
Loh advises people looking to build muscle mass to consume protein after their workouts, as they are essentially breaking down their muscles during their exercise regimen.
“This is why it’s common to see people at the gym eating protein bars or drinking whey shakes after their workout routines. The protein helps increase the impact of their exercise regimen.
“It’s also important to mix this protein with carbohydrates as this will make it easier for your body to absorb the protein and turn it into more muscle mass,” Loh adds.
Carbohydrates are your body’s primary fuel source, especially during an intensive workout session. Keep your tank topped up to ensure your body gets better value out of your exercise regimen, both in terms of caloric expenditure and muscle growth, than it would if you were in fasted state.
Use Good Fuel
Eating right will go a long way towards helping you achieve your fitness goals. Know what you’re putting in your body, especially when it comes to supplements.
Loh warns muscle enthusiasts about getting cheated, and to always check the products they buy. He says, “Since these are health supplements, it’s important to buy them from stores that sell genuine and authentic products.
“Get your supplements from reputable and authorised distributors, and make sure the stores you’re buying from are not blacklisted on the manufacturer’s website.
“There are many locally manufactured supplements in the market whose ingredients are not tested and certified. For certain brands, the contents of their products are not as per the descriptions listed on their nutritional fact sheets.”
Seek Professional Advice
Apart from providing products online, MMC’s 12 retail stores all over peninsular Malaysia – including in Kuantan, Johor Baru, Malacca and Penang – carry a variety of quality sports supplements.
Branches in Klang Valley are located in Wangsa Maju, Mont Kiara, Klang, Shah Alam, Damansara, Ampang and Subang Jaya.
Retail stores are especially useful for fitness enthusiasts who would like to try out health supplements but don’t know where to start. People who are new to health supplements can consult and utilise the expertise of certified sports nutritionists, says Loh.
“MMC staff is required to undergo training before they can begin handling customer queries. Senior sales representatives are required to take a sports nutrition course, so they can provide personalised expert advice to help our customers find the right products to fit their lifestyle needs and ultimate fitness goals.”
Loh started MMC with the ambition of helping people achieve their health, fitness and wellness goals. MMC carries only award-winning supplement brands from the United States and Europe.
Loh says, “Being just another supplement store was never going to be enough for MMC. We want our customers to have more than that.”
For people looking to start the new year by pursuing fitness goals or leading a healthier life, use these last few weeks of the year to read up, stock up and psych yourself up.