When it comes to exercise, I love the feeling of that post-workout rush. The only thing better is feeling that you got everything you could out of your sweat session. You might not have even thought about it, but there are a number of ways to improve your workouts so that you reap the maximum benefits while you exercise. And the best part? You don’t have to spend long hours at the gym. These tips include what to eat before and after you workout, and what you should incorporate into your workout so that you leave feeling your best.

Get ready to start having your best gym sessions yet! Here are 7 tips to teach you how to maximize your workouts.

1. Make a plan

Do you ever find yourself wandering around the gym wondering what to do next? Cut down inefficient decision-making time at the gym by making a plan before hand. Schedule which exercises you want to do and how long you want to do them for. This way you can flow right through without unnecessary gaps.

2. Drink water throughout the day

I know, I know, how many times can we be told to drink more water? But have you ever left a spin class feeling like you could swallow a litre of water in one gulp? I have. It’s really important to drink water regularly throughout the day in order to keep you hydrated for your workout. It takes a couple hours for your body to absorb the water, so chugging down a glass before you exercise isn’t going to cut it.

3. Warm up on the way to the gym

Rather than driving to the gym, walk, jog, or bike! This allows you to cut down on your gym time while still giving you a proper warm up before your workout. If you live too far and you have to drive or bus, park a couple blocks away or get off a few stops before the gym!

4. Eat slow digesting carbs pre-workout

Eating slow digesting carbs such as whole grains and fruits will give you more endurance and burn more fat while you exercise. If you ever feel tired or sluggish when you’re exercising, eating slow digesting carbs will provide you with a much-needed energy boost! Want some options? Click here for a list of awesome pre-workout snacks!

5. Multi joint moves

Unlike single joint moves such as leg extensions and bicep curls, multi joint moves like squats, lunges and rows involve a large group of muscles, so they are the most effective and really improve your workouts. You can even combine two movements into one. Try wall ball squats with biceps curls, for instance. This maximizes energy expenditure, which leads to higher calorie burn.

6. Mix it up

Not only can doing the same workout over and over again become boring, it also becomes ineffective. Your body eventually adjusts to the stress level, leaving you with minimal results. Try mixing it up! When it comes to cardio, instead of running every time, try a group class like spinning or barre a few times a week. And for strength training, make sure you switch up your routine every so often.

7. Protein post-workout

Proper nutrition is an essential part of an effective workout. We already talked about consuming slow digesting carbs before a workout, but it’s also important to have a protein source 30 minutes after your workout for proper recovery. This ensures that you replenish your energy and rebuild muscle that was broken down in your workout.

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There are loads of ways to improve your workouts so you reap the maximum benefits while you exercise. And the best part? You don’t have to spend long hours at the gym! These tips will teach you how to maximize your workouts by providing ideas on what to eat before a workout and how you can incorporate MORE into your gym time. Good luck!

And if you’re looking for more health-related tips and tricks, please follow our Health & Fitness board where we share all kinds of inspiration to help with your weight loss goals!

Kate is a freelance lifestyle writer based in Toronto, Canada. She’s always had a passion for the written word, and after interning at publications such as FASHION Magazine and The Kit, she knew she had to take her passion to the next level. When she’s not sharing her love for styling outfits, home cooked meals, fitness endeavours and home décor, she’s probably taking a hot yoga class or watching the latest series on Netflix. You can find her on her blog, Layered Indulgence, and on Twitter and Instagram.

This is an excerpt from the article 7 Tips to Teach You How to Maximize Your Workouts which originally appeared on http://www.cloudywithachanceofwine.com/.