Performance Optimization: How to Get the Most Out of Your Workout

Last updated April 15, 2024

Techniques for enhancing athletic performance have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. Ever since the first Olympic Games in Greece, man has sought out ways to optimize performance—to become faster, stronger and more agile. 

While most of us aren’t Olympic athletes competing against one another for medals, we do, however, take our workout seriously. We perhaps don’t see the need to compete against others in this sphere but we do compete against ourselves. After all, isn’t one of the biggest reasons for working out and going to the gym to be a better version of ourselves?

For the best results, performance optimization techniques can help us achieve our fitness goals faster. They can also help us recover better while also saving time. Some are quite simple and can easily be worked into our routines. Others require a bit more research or preparation. The truth is that everyone who wants to can optimize their performance and workout. 

Here are some incredibly effective ways to add performance optimization into your routine to help you get the most out of every workout. 

Tracking Macros (Fat, Carbs and Protein)

Nutrition is equally if not more important than exercise for losing weight or maintaining healthy body weight. Supported by studies, what we eat is not only important for weight loss but also for achieving performance optimization. 

How much energy and water we need depends on our body weight and a few other factors like daily activity. Not everybody’s needs are the same. Eating too much protein and not enough carbohydrate, for example, could be causing your body to feel more sluggish than it normally would if your ratios were more balanced. 

The good news is that it’s pretty easy to find out what your body needs. The easiest and most effective way to do this is to see a sports performance nutritionist who can scientifically evaluate how much you’ll need in terms of daily carbohydrate, protein and fat intake depending on your lifestyle and body type. 

You’ll then have all the information you’ll need to eat the right types of food and the right amounts in order to reach your performance goals. 

Vary Workout Types

Over time our bodies get used to particular types of movement. Once the body gets used to certain workouts and exercises it no longer has to work as hard when you do them. 

This inevitably means that the workout you’ve been doing for the past three months is less effective now than it was on day one. You need to change it up a bit to keep the body on its toes. 

To fully optimize your workouts, change up your routine every four to six weeks. You don’t need to change the muscle groups you’re working in each workout, just change the exercises.

For example, if you’ve been doing squats, sub them for lunges. Add a few sets on the leg press machine while you’re at it. There are many different types of exercises for each muscle group. So, make sure you are changing them up every now and then.

Stay Hydrated

Before, during and especially after your workout you’ll want to drink water. Dehydration can actually make your workout feel harder and it can reduce your body’s ability to recover well. 

If you are trying to optimize your workouts or your athletic performance, hydration should really be the starting point. To make sure you’re not dehydrated before you even start a workout make sure to drink half to one ounce of water per pound of body weight. 

Lift Weights

One of the best ways to change up or optimize your time at the gym is to lift weights. Women especially tend to shy away from this on the premise that they might end up looking “bulky.” Fortunately, this approach is shifting. 

Lifting weights work the muscles in different ways than cardio does. Lifting weights and resistance training builds muscle and helps to increase metabolic rate, even after exercise. This means you’re still burning calories well after you’ve actually finished working out. 

A high metabolic rate is what you need to burn excess fat and this can’t be obtained by just doing cardio. 

If you don’t have much experience with lifting weights or with weight training then make sure to work with a personal trainer at your gym. A certified trainer will be able to help you design a great routine to achieve your goals. 

Track Your Recovery and Performance

With all the technology we have around us, it’s never been easier to track your recovery and performance. By investing in a good smartwatch, you can get into the habit of tracking your workouts over time, which in turn will tell you if you’re getting faster and stronger. 

A smartwatch is also a great way to track vitals such as heart rate—which can really help with interval training—as well as calories burned, distance run, etc. 

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