Okay, so you know your body doesn’t like when you eat pints of ice cream out of the tub (you’re lactose intolerant!) or that burrito with extra spicy hot sauce (who likes to spend the rest of the evening in the bathroom?!) But do you know your body in the gym?
Since every body’s different – yes, some people can eat extra spicy burritos without needing the fire department – you have to learn how to make your workout work for you.
Here are 7 things you can learn about your body to better your workout:
1. Find the best time for you
Are you going to benefit more from a morning workout or an evening workout? If your last meal was mid-afternoon and you go to bed late, you won’t have enough energy in your body (due to your fasted state) to have a solid workout in the morning and you may feel lightheaded or nauseous during your workout! If you eat later in the evening and get sufficient sleep, a morning workout could be perfect for you and boost your energy levels for the rest of the day. A workout can boost adrenaline and make it difficult for you to fall asleep, so if you have sleep disorders, avoid working out in the evening.
2. Know your reach
Can you squat deep without wrecking your knees? Are you long-limbed like a gazelle? You may not be able to squat deep as someone with a longer torso and shorter legs. The femur – the big bone connecting your hip to your knee – is 26% of your body’s total height. You can find out if you’re long-legged if you measure the distance from your hip to the outside of your knee joint.
3. Keep it within proportion
Know your proportions – do you have short arms? If you have shorter arms, deadlifts may be problematic for your back. Place the barbell on risers, so you have less of a chance to injure your back. Or try a different variation of deadlifts, such as the sumo deadlift.
4. Know your basal metabolic rate (BMR)
If you have a higher basal metabolic rate – a.k.a. you can sit on your couch and burn more calories than the average person – you may benefit from a workout regime with minimal cardio.
5. No pain, no gain…to a point
Listen to your bod: if there’s pain in your elbows while bicep curling or hip pain while cycling…STOP. See a doctor or physiotherapist and avoid that exercise.
6. Know what fuels your body
If you bloat after eating bread or pasta, you may be sensitive to gluten which may slow your workouts. If you get a rumble in the tummy after eating yogurt or milk, you may be lactose intolerant. Talk to your doctor and avoid those foods. Do you get lightheaded after exercising one hour after a meal? Eat a high-energy meal 30 minutes before your workout, like oatmeal with a banana or sweet potatoes with chicken.
7. Find the right stimulation
Do you need extra stimulation? Many people use pre-workout supplements before a workout. If you know you get jittery from caffeine, stay away from preworkout supplements, even if everyone and their brother’s cousin is doing it.
Sometimes you just need to try different workouts to learn your body and how you can improve your workout…just don’t be reckless.
What have you learned about your body so far this year? Do you have any tips for fellow MVM-ers to better their workouts?