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Tips For Optimizing Workouts According To Science

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Are you working out regularly, but not seeing the results you want? 

You're not alone. Many people struggle to figure out how to optimize their workouts efforts for improvements in strength training and reaching their ideal body weight.

On top of finding the ideal workout routine and refining nutrition plans, there are many subtle lifestyle changes to maximize training and recovery time so that you see the most results from your efforts.

Athletes and fitness enthusiasts are turning to hemp extract products like CBD, CBN, and CBG to support their lifestyles. In this article, we'll look at science-based methods of optimizing your workout routine and how cannabinoids can help fit into that picture.

Key Takeaways: 

  1. Mind-muscle connection is an important skill to hone when training as it can improve muscle gains and performance. 
  2. Commit to a level of consistency in your activities. It doesn't always have to be intense, but you have to show up. 
  3. Training with a partner can help you excel faster and maintain your motivation in your fitness journey. 
  4. Varying your training routine can help to keep your muscles from reaching a plateau. 
  5. Many athletes are incorporating cannabinoids into their wellness routine to support muscle recovery, mood, and focus during training and game days. 

1. Keep Your Focus on the Muscle You're Training

Most athletes know the importance of having a strong mind-muscle connection. It's what allows them to perform at their best during competition. 

The mind-muscle connection describes conscious and deliberate muscle contraction. Researchers found that mind-muscle connection in resistance training increased their activation, which resulted in significant gains in the participants' workout routines [1].

When you're working on specific muscle groups, rather than passively going through the motions, it's important to concentrate on the tension in the area during the exercise.

Another tip to help you bring attention to the worked muscles is to imagine breathing into the area of tension. By taking deep breaths and using proper form, athletes can achieve a better mind-muscle connection and improve their performance.

2. Consistency Is Key

It's easy to get motivated and start a workout routine. However, maintaining that level of consistency is often much harder. 

Everyone has off days, but how you respond to those weak moments is what makes all the difference. Don't let one day turn into two, three, four—or worse, an entire week without exercise. Maintaining your workout schedule is key to seeing results.

No matter what form of exercise you're doing, it's important to keep up with your workouts. Consistent training will result in increased strength and endurance over time. That means we need to be faithful to our routine and not let ourselves get off track.

A recent study found that when they compared the effects of working out every day to only twice per week on muscle strength, there was no significant difference found between them [2].

This means that you can choose to work out every day or only a handful of days per week, as long as you keep doing it.

3. Focus On What Feels Good For You And Gives You The Most Energy For Your Life

The habit of exercising consistently provides you with lasting benefits for your health. The reason why many people don't see significant gains in their workouts is that their training programs are too difficult or unenjoyable to sustain long-term.

Muscle growth and changes in body composition take time and consistency. 

Rather than over-the-top 30-day training programs, find workout activities that you truly enjoy doing. Instead of hitting the gym day in and day out for the sake of burning calories, focus on movement that makes you feel good while improving your cardiovascular health.

It's good to mix strength training with other activities such as dance, team sports, high-intensity interval training classes, pilates, indoor climbing, or boxing to your fitness routine.

Finding a mix of activities such as team sports, high-intensity interval training classes, pilates, indoor climbing, or boxing classes. By attending classes, you'll learn proper form from more experienced practitioners and burn calories while enjoying yourself so much that you'll forget you're working out.

3. Train With A Partner

Partnerships are key in life. This is especially true when it comes to fitness and training. Having a partner can help keep you on track, motivated, and challenged.

We're more likely to stick to our workouts and push ourselves to reach our goals if we train with a partner. Training with a buddy helps to hold you accountable so you stay on track of your goals, and you'll have someone to motivate you.

Having a spotter is also important for when you're lifting heavier weight. You can push your body's ability while having the assurance of someone there to make sure you don't hurt yourself while lifting weights.

4. Don't Train Too Heavy For Too Long When Weight Training

To see continuous progress in weightlifting, it's advised to progressively overload muscles by increasing the amount of weight lifted over time. However, if you train too heavy for too long, you can actually begin to lose strength and muscle mass.

Strength gains rely on adequate recovery between strenuous weight lifting days to ensure your body has enough time to recover and rebuild muscle.

Research has found that overdoing this training style will actually inhibit your muscle development in the long term [3]. It's best to vary the stress you put your muscles under when you lift weights from the lighter weight with higher repetitions (10-14) and include some days where you lift heavy for shorter reps (4–6).

5. Stay Hydrated

Water is essential for human life. It comprises 60-70% of the human body and plays a vital role in many physiological functions. To perform at your best during training, stay adequately hydrated. This means drinking enough fluids before, during, and after exercise to replace the water lost through sweat and respiration. Dehydration can lead to fatigue, muscle cramps, and injuries.

During exercise, your blood flow increases, and your experience an elevation in body temperature, to eliminate heat from the body, you'll start to sweat—sweat consists of water and electrolytes like sodium. Therefore it's important that you replenish the fluids and electrolytes lost after your workout or you'll feel a decrease in your functioning.

6. Take Caffeine Before Your Workout

Most avid gym-goers are always looking for an edge—something to give them that extra boost of energy and performance. And though there are many different ways to achieve this, caffeine is perhaps one of the most popular and well-known methods.

There are several studies that indicate that taking some caffeine before your workout can increase muscle performance by increasing your speed, strength, reducing anaerobic exhaustion, and may reduce muscle pain [4 5].

For coffee lovers, this tip is exciting, but you don't want to overdo it.

Coffee and pre-workout supplements with caffeine can put you over the edge and lead to undesirable side-effects such as anxiousness, upset stomachs, and headaches. One cup of drip coffee has around 100 mg of caffeine and pre-workout supplements can have anywhere from 100–400 mg per serving.

Caffeine can affect individuals differently depending on genetics, so it's there's no one size fits all for how much you should have, but it's a good idea to pay attention to how much caffeine intake for your overall health.

7. Exercise In The Morning

Working out in the mornings, especially in a fasted state is known to be the best way to burn calories and stored fat which leads to better results for weight loss [6].

In the mornings, most people also have higher energy levels because of increased cortisol and growth hormone levels in the morning, making it a more favorable state for your body to exercise in.

Of course, working out first thing in the morning isn't ideal for everyone, especially if you're not a morning person, but one study out of The Journal of Psychology found that hitting your workout plan at 7 a.m may shift your internal clock earlier, helping you become more of a morning person [7].

When you exercise in the morning, your body releases endorphins that make you feel good. You'll be more active all day long due to increased energy levels from boosting your metabolism and setting your day up for success. Studies show that subjects who worked out in the mornings consumed fewer unnecessary calories and were better able to manage their blood sugar, supporting fat burning goals, minimizing the risk of diabetes and inflammatory diseases [8].

8. Vary Workout Types

Over time, our bodies become used to particular movements. A common mistake people make when they're trying to make gains is using the same exercise for too long. This inevitably makes your training routine less effective.

Once your body adapts to certain workouts and exercises, it no longer has to work as hard as you. It's a sign you're getting stronger, which means in order to break through this plateau, you'll need to change up your exercises to keep your body anticipating new ways to push itself.

Researchers have found that you should change up your routine every four to six weeks—you don't need to completely change the muscle group you're training but change the types of exercises you're doing to add more variety to your routines.

Here are some of the factors you can mix up your workout plan and maintain a healthy lifestyle:

  • Frequency: How often you workout
  • Intensity: How hard you train (based on your heart rate)
  • Time: Duration of your workout session
  • Type: The type of exercises you do

9. Track Your Performance

Wearable tech has made monitoring training progress and recovery easier than ever. Many smartwatches are equipped with a heart rate variability monitor that is particularly useful in measuring how hard you're training and our overall training progress.

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) is a measure of the variation in time between your heartbeats. A higher HRV indicates better cardiac function and health. Improving your HRV has many benefits, including reducing stress, improving sleep quality, and preventing heart disease.

Besides monitoring the heart rate, a smartwatch can also help measure your active calories, distance run, and pace.

10. Get Enough Sleep Each Night

All athletes know that sleep is essential for peak performance, but many continue to push themselves despite feeling exhausted. Science has now shown us that even one night of poor sleep can have a significant negative impact on athletic performance [9, 10].

It’s time to start taking sleep seriously and make it a priority in your training schedule.

How To Use Cannabinoids In Your Wellness Routine

Cannabis is often seen as a recreational drug, but research shows that it may have some benefits for athletes as well. Cannabinoids are a fascinating class of chemicals derived from cannabis plants that play an important role in the human body. In recent years, they have been gaining popularity in research studies for potential treatments for a variety of conditions.

Athletes have long been interested in the use of legal, hemp-derived cannabinoids for their health and wellness routine. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there about how cannabinoid supplements can improve performance by supporting mental focus, recovery, and injuries.

Let's get into some of the ways hemp products can be added to an athlete's wellness routine.

CBD Oil For Stress Support And Mobility

CBD oil is quickly gaining popularity among athletes and fitness enthusiasts for its potential to improve performance and relieve stress—whether it is from practicing or competing, an active individual's mind and body are constantly pushed to their limits.

CBD oil is known to have relaxing properties that help to relieve mental and physical stress for better sleep and recovery from exercise [11].

Many people enjoy CBD oil because of its ease of use—you don't need any extra equipment to consume it and it allows you to customize your dosage (typically based on body weight). The best way to take CBD oil is to apply it under the tongue and hold it for 30 seconds before swallowing to allow for fast absorption into your system.

CBD oil is excellent for post-workout to support a comfortable recovery and for helping you get a good night's sleep.

CBG Oil For Focus And Active Recovery

CBG or cannabigerol is a minor cannabinoid found in hemp plants that has been gaining a lot of attention for its unique effects on brain health and for complimenting the effects of CBD.

Neurogan's CBG Focus Oil and Gummies are a customer favorite for daytime use for concentrated tasks such as work and study. For those who struggle to make space for their workouts in the day, taking CBG products is a great way to get you into a centered mindset.

The Takeaway: Make The Most Of Your Workouts

Whether you're a professional athlete or just working out to stay healthy, making the most of your workouts is essential.

While the volume and intensity of your exercises are important parameters everyone should keep an eye on to build muscle or lose weight, there are other key lifestyle factors to help you make the most of your efforts in a fun way that's also sustainable—from varying your workouts, going with a friend, tracking your progress with wearable tech, and supplement with CBD or CBG oils.

Resources:

  1. Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J. W. (2016). Effects of resistance training frequency on measures of muscle hypertrophy: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine, 46(11), 1689-1697.
  2. Calatayud, J., Vinstrup, J., Jakobsen, M. D., Sundstrup, E., Brandt, M., Jay, K., ... & Andersen, L. L. (2016). Importance of mind-muscle connection during progressive resistance training. European journal of applied physiology, 116(3), 527-533.
  3. Harris, G. R., STONE, M. H., O'BRYANT, H. S., PROULX, C. M., & JOHNSON, R. L. (2000). Short-term performance effects of high power, high force, or combined weight-training methods. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 14(1), 14-20.
  4. Giráldez-Costas, V., González-García, J., Lara, B., Del Coso, J., Wilk, M., & Salinero, J. J. (2020). Caffeine increases muscle performance during a bench press training session. Journal of Human Kinetics, 74, 185.
  5. Lane, S. C., Areta, J. L., Bird, S. R., Coffey, V. G., Burke, L. M., Desbrow, B., ... & Hawley, J. A. (2013). Caffeine ingestion and cycling power output in a low or normal muscle glycogen state. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 45(8), 1577-84.
  6. Van Proeyen, K., Szlufcik, K., Nielens, H., Ramaekers, M., & Hespel, P. (2011). Beneficial metabolic adaptations due to endurance exercise training in the fasted state. Journal of applied physiology, 110(1), 236-245.
  7. Youngstedt, S. D., Elliott, J. A., & Kripke, D. F. (2019). Human circadian phase–response curves for exercise. The Journal of physiology, 597(8), 2253-2268.
  8. Alizadeh, Z., Mostafaee, M., Mazaheri, R., & Younespour, S. (2015). Acute effect of morning and afternoon aerobic exercise on appetite of overweight women. Asian journal of sports medicine, 6(2).
  9. Khalladi, K., Farooq, A., Souissi, S., Herrera, C. P., Chamari, K., Taylor, L., & El Massioui, F. (2019). Inter-relationship between sleep quality, insomnia and sleep disorders in professional soccer players. BMJ open sport & exercise medicine, 5(1), e000498.
  10. Leger, D., Metlaine, A., & Choudat, D. (2005). Insomnia and sleep disruption: relevance for athletic performance. Clinics in sports medicine, 24(2), 269-285.Chicago
  11. Shannon, S., & Opila-Lehman, J. (2016). Effectiveness of cannabidiol oil for pediatric anxiety and insomnia as part of posttraumatic stress disorder: a case report. The Permanente Journal, 20(4).

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