If you just started working out, you know how hard it can be. You need the motivation to start, focus to keep on going and high pain tolerance for post-workout aches. However, there are things that can make your workouts more effective and less grueling. Here are some tips you might want to stick to to get the most out of your workouts:

Do dynamic warmups

Warming up is crucial for successful and injury-free exercising, but don’t stretch—it’s useless. According to research, people who warm up by using light leg extensions and squats can lift heavier than those who perform classic “bend and hold” stretches. Dynamic warmups also make your body more stable which is crucial for squatting heavy. These exercises increase blood flow and boost your motion range while providing you with muscle and tendon elasticity. So before working your legs, do some dynamic exercises like lunges, squats, light leg extensions and similar.

Use free weights

Use free weights

Don’t get us wrong, weight machines are great for beginners, especially when it comes to learning the correct form. However, once you get that down, it’s best to switch to free weights. Using dumbbells, kettlebells and barbells will hit you with a better hormonal response. Why? It’s simple—free weights target a wider range of muscles and muscle groups. When moving any free weight, your muscles need to work in harmony to help you, which means you’ll gain more benefits for a shorter period of time. When you get ripped and buff and need to target very specific muscles, you can go back to certain machines.

Try interval training

New research shows that weight training is great both for gaining muscle and losing weight, so some people completely ditched cardio. However, these activities have more benefits than just aesthetics—they are good for the heart, lungs, circulatory system and brain. Include some cardio into your training, but ditch long runs for high-intensity interval training. This type of cardio burns nearly twice as many calories as long runs or bicycle rides for the same amount of time. Here’s a simple HIIT routine you can follow: perform as many repetitions as you can in 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds and repeat for 4 minutes. After 4 minutes, rest one minute and repeat everything 4 or 5 times.

Get into supplements

Get into supplements

According to research, people who had chocolate milk after a workout reported great recovery effects. However, this drink won’t help you when you need a push before your workout. What you need is a good pre workout drink, but not just any. There are different pre workout drinks based on your goals, sex and preferences. When choosing the best pre workout for women, choose from stimulant-containing and non-stimulant ones. Both will give you plenty of energy, improve blood flow and improve focus, but the latter is much more subtle than the first one. Read the label and opt only for trusted manufacturers.

Drink water

If you sweat a lot, you can lose 6 to 10% of your body weight in fluids during a workout session, which can make your workouts feel hard and sluggish and your recovery slower. And most of us come to the gym already partially dehydrated. So make sure to follow a good hydration plan (download an app to keep you in line) and always have water with you. Everyone should drink between 0.5 and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight daily. To replace all the fluids you’ve lost, weigh yourself before and after your workout, do the math and replenish your water supply. This will keep you healthy, focused and pain-free as you keep pushing forward.

Getting better at working out comes with effort and experience, but if you have a good starting point, you might even grow to love your workout sessions and your new healthy lifestyle. Keep these tips in mind when creating your schedule, and you will look and feel better than ever.

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