Little Known Ways to Up Your Workout Game at Home

By Savanna Stone
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Little Known Ways to Up Your Workout Game at Home

As humans, we are always trying to be better. In less than 150 years we’ve gone from the invention of electricity to the present: cars that drive themselves, light bulbs that talk to your phone, phones that talk to you, vacuums that drive themselves around the house, and much more. When our desire for greatness is applied to working out, we have just as much potential and so we set high goals (lose 50 pounds, deadlift 200 pounds, run a marathon, the list goes on). But somehow we don’t always meet these goals because food is too good or the most common excuse, “no time.” Whether that excuse is true or not, it is still important to get the most out of our time when we exercise. Because Chirp wants to help you be your best, we’ve researched a few ways you can improve your workout performance, get better results, and have a faster recovery time, all from the comfort of your own home. 

 

 

1. Use an exercise mat. Exercise mats can be great tools whether you need a little extra padding for your knees or you need better grip while doing push ups. Try using an exercise mat to help transform your living room, making it feel more like a gym. This can help you focus on your workout and can help your family know that when the mat is out, it’s exercise time (aka “please don’t bother me, thanks”). 

2. Roll out on the Chirp Wheel. Using the Chirp Wheel before and after your workout can help with self-myofascial release, which is really just a nerdy way of saying “massage.” Myofascial release has many benefits for your workout, such as increased range of motion, muscle recovery, and performance. Not to mention, over 1 million people have found back pain relief with these bad boys, the Chirp Wheels.

3. Incorporate weight training into your workout. Studies show that in the long run (pun intended), weight training produces better results than cardio. If you love cardio, no one said you have to stop. Try holding weights in your hand as you run. Or just take an extra few minutes to lift a dumbbell, 3 sets of 10 should do the job. If you don’t love cardio, you’re probably in the majority and today is your lucky day. Just lift some weights and you can still have great results.

4. Listen to music during and after your workout. You could probably already feel this in your body but listening to upbeat music while you exercise helps your performance. Something you might not have known, however, is that listening to relaxing music after your workout can help you even more by speeding up your workout recovery.

5. Practice dynamic stretches before your workout. In one study done, participants who did static stretches before a workout performed worse and felt more unstable during their workout as opposed to those who performed dynamic stretches before their workout and felt more stable and performed better. This suggests that dynamic stretches, specifically with resistance (resistance bands or the like), might help increase your mobility during a workout and improve your performance. Not sure what dynamic stretching is? You're not alone. Here are some ideas to get your started.

6. Carb a load. If you’re training for a marathon or just want to have more energy during a particularly hard workout, increasing your carbohydrate intake (by 8 to 12 grams) while decreasing your intake of high fat foods can help fuel your performance. It’s best to start this a few days or up to a week before your big day. Scaling back on your workouts a few days before your marathon will also help your performance after carb loading. And let’s be honest, any excuse to eat more carbs we will take freely, right?

7. Drink plenty of water. High hydration equals high performance. When you sweat a lot during a workout, you’re losing a lot of water. Not only that but not staying hydrated can influence your physical performance and endurance, increase fatigue, and decrease motivation. It can even make you feel like your workout is harder because of your low energy levels. 

 8. Exercise with a friend. Doing a workout with someone digs down into your ancient DNA that tells you you have to compete to survive. This challenge increases your performance, even if on the outside you just think it is nice to spend time with your buddy. So next time you workout, invite your friend over to join in, they don’t need to know you’re secretly challenging them so you can perform better though. We will just keep that between us. 

9. Change it up. It might be easy to just do the same workout for convenience over and over again. For a while, that workout might be great for you, but eventually, it won’t challenge you anymore, which is why it’s important to switch it up and find new challenges as you become stronger.

 

 

 

 

 

References

Cermak, N. M., & van Loon, L. J. (2013). The use of carbohydrates during exercise as an ergogenic aid. Sports medicine (Auckland, N.Z.), 43(11), 1139–1155. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40279-013-0079-0 

Cheatham, S. W., Kolber, M. J., Cain, M., & Lee, M. (2015). THE EFFECTS OF SELF-MYOFASCIAL RELEASE USING A FOAM ROLL OR ROLLER MASSAGER ON JOINT RANGE OF MOTION, MUSCLE RECOVERY, AND PERFORMANCE: A SYSTEMATIC REVIEW. International journal of sports physical therapy, 10(6), 827–838. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4637917/ 

Corbett, J., Barwood, M. J., Ouzounoglou, A., Thelwell, R., & Dicks, M. (2012). Influence of competition on performance and pacing during cycling exercise. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 44(3), 509–515. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e31823378b1

Frey, M. (2020, May 25). How to avoid the 5 biggest workout mistakes. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfit.com/how-to-avoid-the-5-biggest-workout-mistakes-3495983#:~:text=Biggest%20Workout%20Mistakes-,Repeating%20Workouts,after%20day%20won't%20work. 

Gergley J. C. (2013). Acute effect of passive static stretching on lower-body strength in moderately trained men. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 27(4), 973–977. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0b013e318260b7ce 

Markell, J. (2021). Can listening to music improve your workout? Retrieved from https://www.center4research.org/can-listening-music-improve-workout/#:~:text=Listening%20to%20music%20while%20exercising,you%20in%20a%20better%20mood.&text=The%20lyrics%20or%20catchy%20rhythm,harder%20during%20your%20exercise%20routine.

Mayo Clinic. (2021). Nutrition and healthy eating. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/carbohydrate-loading/art-20048518#:~:text=Carbohydrate%20loading%20is%20done%20the,the%20extra%20carbohydrate%2Drich%20foods. 

Mekary, R.A., Grøntved, A., Despres, J.‐P., De Moura, L.P., Asgarzadeh, M., Willett, W.C., Rimm, E.B., Giovannucci, E. and Hu, F.B. (2015), Weight training, aerobic physical activities, and long‐term waist circumference change in men. Obesity, 23: 461-467. https://doi.org/10.1002/oby.20949 

Popkin, B. M., D'Anci, K. E., & Rosenberg, I. H. (2010). Water, hydration, and health. Nutrition reviews, 68(8), 439–458. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x

Savitha, D., Mallikarjuna, R. N., & Rao, C. (2010). Effect of different musical tempo on post-exercise recovery in young adults. Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology, 54(1), 32–36. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21046917/

Workout Healthy. (2021 April 13) The importance of mats in exercises. Retrieved from http://blog.workouthealthy.com/general-fitness/importance-mats-exercises/