The festive season is over and perhaps you’ve over-indulged on those Christmas yummies and feel like it’s time to get back in shape. For many of us – me included – during December exercising takes a back seat but then January hits with its New Year’s resolutions and we feel it’s time to get in shape. Here are some tips on helping you maximise your gains when you start exercising:

1. Do one-minute push-ups
A one-minute push-up requires you to do one push-up for a whole minute. You might think this sounds weird or ineffective because more reps should equal better gains, right? While that is an effective way of measuring your workout, it is not the only way to go about it. Muscle is built when it’s put under strain and doing one push-up that takes place over a full minute puts much more strain on the body than doing 30 push-ups in a minute. So how do you do it? Spend 30 seconds going down and 30 seconds going up. And that’s it.

2. Take a cold shower after working out
After an intense workout, a nice warm shower to wash away the sweat might sound like just what the doctor ordered. But this is one of the worst things you can do to yourself if visual improvement is your goal. This is because the warm water relaxes the muscles and by doing so, it will take away from your gains. Showering in cold water tenses up and locks the muscles into place. You might feel more pain in the morning but the difference in your gains will make it worthwhile.

3. Drink milk after your workout
Drinking a glass of milk after or between workouts will replenish the lost electrolytes in your muscles, resulting in faster recovery. The whey element in full cream milk also helps to boost muscle growth.

4. Workout in front of a mirror
This might not have any effect on you physically, but seeing yourself work out may motivate you to go harder and longer. If you do not have access to a mirror, there are alternatives. Such as:

a) Putting up a picture in front of you, either your ideal body or of your crush, or simply that outfit you’ve been dying to squeeze in to!
b) A TV can help to take your mind off the workout. But, be careful not to be drawn too much into the TV programme so that you forget your workout.
c) Listening to your favourite jam could be exactly what you need. It can help to get you motivated to start, give you that extra push at the end, or keep you going during the workout.

P.S: Never underestimate the mental aspect to working out, knowing how to work the mind is pivotal to getting the most out of your body.

5. Don’t forget a cheat day
The importance of a cheat day should never be undermined. People often think that they have to cut out their favourite foods all together because they’re afraid that it will cause them to make gains slower. This is not entirely true. If you do this you’re much more likely to relapse and once you do, you will give up on working out entirely. Allow yourself to go crazy and eat whatever food you want, at least once a month. By doing this you will keep yourself sane and minimise cravings because you will know exactly when you can eat those foods again.

Extra tips:
Following these steps will add that extra 10% needed to break through that mental block you get after working out for months without seeing any real results.

It will speed up your recovery, boost your stamina and give you the results you desire. However this is not like one of those 30 days’ apps, this is a guideline that needs to be followed indefinitely.

If you ever find yourself unable to work out or in an environment that prevents that, you can still give your muscles a good workout just be flexing and releasing your muscles in continues repetition until you feel like you are done.


Tell us: Will you be using these tips to get into shape? Let us know how you find them?