The end of the year is typically a time of reflection. With a little more than six weeks left in 2015, many of us will use this time to look back at the goals we set at the beginning of the year and take stock of how well we did.
Some of that stock will likely include our hits and misses as it relates to our fitness objectives. It’s easy to get frustrated when we fall short of our expectations but, this also presents an opportunity for you to recommit yourself to your plan while exploring ways to improve it. Even if you’ve reached pro-level status in your understanding of what truly makes your personal fitness regimen tick, you’ll want to figure out how to stay five steps ahead of your nearest danger zone, also known as your plateau.
If you’re in the process of finding an edge in your workout, here are three things to consider that may help get you there.
- Do yourself a favor, get a massage. A trainer once told me that anyone with an active lifestyle should get a massage at least once a month. I’ll admit that I’ve been wildly inconsistent in scheduling, my preferred, 90-minute, deep-tissue sessions. Even a short 15 to 30-minute massage post workout, however, can work wonders for your recovery. When your routine includes regularly working until muscle failure, sometimes 72 hours between workouts on a specific muscle group isn’t enough to get you ready to do it all over again. A massage goes a long way toward putting you on the road to recovery and helping you to optimize your time in the gym.
- Seriously, drink more water. The importance of being properly hydrated is not lost on the gym-obsessed. I know this because of all of the folks I see walking around the gym carrying gallons of water. So, yes, most of us get how crucial it is to stay hydrated during our workout. How many of us understand that hydrating the day/night before is equally imperative? A lot of times we begin our workouts with bodies that are dehydrated because of how little water we drink when we’re not working out. It’s not easy to play catch up either, no matter how diligent you are about dragging that gallon jug of water around from station to station in your neighborhood fitness center. Make water a part of your daily routine and come to the gym fully hydrated and ready to get it in.
- Send more calls to voicemail. I’m sad about having to include this. Listen, unless the fate of the entire universe or the life and death of one person depends on you answering your phone no matter the time, day, place or situation, limit your phone use to that of a music player in the gym. Of course, sometimes it can’t be helped but, your phone conversation is more than just an annoying sign to the rest of us of how seriously you’re not taking your workout. It’s a distraction for you. It interrupts your rhythm and can completely throw off your rest time between reps. Most importantly, phone chitchat can disrupt your breathing, minimizing the cardiovascular benefits of your session. Unlike a workout partner that you converse with in person, the guy or girl on the other end of the phone is not invested in your task at hand. Think about your gym time as an opportunity to unplug from the Matrix and not an extension of it.
Here’s to a healthier you,
Rosalyn R. Ross is a yoga instructor and media professional based in Memphis, Tennessee. In addition to her group yoga classes, Ross also works one-on-one with athletes seeking to expand their practice of yoga. She currently works with the University of Memphis men’s basketball team and is a sought after freelance sports journalist specializing in print and radio.