Five things you should know about fitness

This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. Thanks for supporting our sponsors!

Hi, friends! I’ve got some fitness talk coming your way. As most of you probably know, I’ve been working with the Premier Protein brand all year to bring you some sponsored content about food, fitness and health, and this marks my last post for the partnership. So I thought it would be fun to pull out some of the highlights on what we’ve chatted about the last few months as a little reminder/recap. Here we go …

Five things you should know about fitness

1. Working out in the morning is really good for you and helps you be more successful in your health endeavors.

Did you know that working out in the morning will get easier over time? Did you also know that the process of working out in the morning can actually help you to get better sleep at night? And did you know that many group fitness studios and gyms are totally packed at 6 a.m. with “early morning warriors,” who are much less likely to skip their workout than their friends who choose to work out in the afternoon or evening? An early morning routine sets you up for success, no matter your choice of workout, whether that’s a run, walk, group fitness class or at-home streaming session.

(Fun fact about this older picture: It was taken the first week of February, and it was the day that I found out I was pregnant! OMG!)

I know that working out in the morning doesn’t mesh with everyone’s schedule, and that’s okay, but if it is something you can fit into your life, there are many, many benefits, including the ability to make healthier choices ALL DAY LONG because of your sweat session already being complete. This post all about what you should know about working out in the morning was definitely a hit with those of you who are into the early morning workouts and it goes into much more detail.

Now that I’m on a hiatus from teaching group fitness classes due to this whole pregnancy thing, and I have a flexible schedule, I get the majority of my workouts done by 11 a.m. each day (sometimes I do a noon class), because it just feels better to get it done earlier rather than later. I will likely go back to evening workouts here and there when I’m able to return to teaching group fitness — just because that’s when more classes happen — but morning sessions are definitely my preferred jam.

2. Rest days are a strategic part of anybody’s regular workout program, and we all need them.

Just this week, in the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group, a lovely reader who has had a tough time committing to regular rest days said she was forced to take a couple days off from her beloved Orangetheory Fitness workout due to some scheduling/travel issues. When she returned to OTF, rather than feeling out of it, she had her best workout in forever — reaching a new PR for her base, push and all-out speeds (which are terms used in the OTF workout). She instantly knew it was because her body had the rest and recovery it needed, finally, so that she could make gains and improvements. This story is just one of many. 

Rest days are not lazy days, they are PART of a training program. I take at least one a week, and I often find that my first workout back after a rest day is usually my best workout of the week. Your body recovers, you learn to appreciate your workouts more with a little bit of time away, you will reduce your chance of burnout or an overuse injury, and the list goes on and on and on.

The importance of rest days and a Premier Protein post by A Lady Goes West

You don’t have to be a couch potato on your rest day either, you can go for a leisure walk or even do VERY gentle yoga or stretching. This post tells you exactly how to take a day off from exercise each week and the importance of rest days, and I would highly recommend it.

3. To be truly fit, you have to move around and be active outside of your daily workout.

It must’ve been just a couple of years ago when people started talking about the dangers of sitting. Now, you can’t go to a single healthy-living website without reading an article on how sitting is the new smoking. Well, I don’t know if sitting is the new smoking (because I’d rather see you sit than smoke … let’s be honest), but sitting for long periods of time does mess with your body. Your hips get tight, your good athletic gluteal muscles get turned off an inactive so you have trouble being powerful in your workouts, and your blood-flow is less than optimal. That’s why the new thing in healthy living and fitness is organic movement, which happens in addition to and outside of your workout each day.

That means getting up from your seat as least once an hour to stretch, taking the stairs, going for a stroll around your office, or even taking your phone calls and meetings on a walk. You aren’t safe just hitting the gym in the morning, then spending the rest of the day in the seated or sedentary position. You’ve got to put more movement into your day, and it can happen totally organically, even if that means riding your bike to work or playing with your dogs or kids.

This post, five ways you can have a healthier day, talks more about organic movement and other things you can do to improve your health, like starting the day with a glass of water, connecting with others and more.

4. Fueling up before and after a workout is a mostly personal thing, so you have to listen to your own body to figure out what works for you.

Yes, there is such a thing as fasted cardio, which is a method of exercising first thing in the morning before you eat anything at all. Some people swear by the results of fasted cardio to slim down their midsection, however, it’s not for everyone, and it’s a little more extreme. And whether or not you eat before your weightlifting session is certainly up to you, but I’m a firm believer in pre-workout nutrition for almost all movement, except the rare fasted cardio session. 

Pre and post-workout treats by A Lady Goes West

As far as what to eat before and after a workout, you have to see what your stomach likes. It’s good to aim for a mixture of carbs, protein and fat about 30 to 60 minutes before your workout (but if you notice stomach discomfort, you may need to eat even earlier than that) — maybe a banana and some almond butter or half of a protein bar — and don’t forget to add the fat, not relying solely on carbs, which burn off easily. Then, after your workout, if you did some significant moving or any weightlifting, you’d want to have a protein and carb snack or shake within 60 minutes of finishing your session. Once again, you’ll have to try what works for you, but I almost always go for a shake post workout because I feel like it moves through me quickly to help my body and muscles recover. Although some people like to time their workouts so that they can eat a full breakfast or lunch at the end. Once again, it’s up to you to figure out what works best for you.

This post, part one of the series with some of your biggest questions about fitness, not only talks about fasted cardio and nutrition, but it also includes tips on when and how to foam roll, how to learn to love cardio, why and how to warm up and more.

5. Fitness is better with friends, but to get someone else on board with your love of exercise, you have to use a planned and step-by-step approach.

When you are excited about something in your life, it’s very normal to want to get other people just as excited as you are. Sadly, when it comes to fitness, and/or healthy eating, you can’t really just force someone to jump aboard your train. However, it is possible to guide your friends, family and significant others toward the working out and eating healthy world, with just a few strategic ways. Start small. Meet them where they need to be met. Give them motivation. Help them understand that wellness is about longevity and feeling good, even more than just looking good. And you’ll be so happy when you see them taking an interest in some sort of activity, even if it’s not your favorite activity.

This post on how to motivate others to work out was a fun one for me to write, and I know a lot of you could relate and have tried to utilize the tips. Believe it or not, I have people in my life who aren’t super healthy, and so I can take my own tips and put them to use too. Spread the fitness love, but don’t be annoying or preachy … because nobody likes that. 

A few other fitness and food posts worth mentioning

Chocolate peanut butter protein bar by A Lady Goes West

And that about covers it! The beautiful thing about learning about fitness is that there is ALWAYS more to learn, each and every day. So we keep trying new things, we keep reading, and we keep growing!

Before we go, I have to thank Premier Protein for selecting me as a partner this year. The Premier Protein brand is all about providing convenient products, which are also tasty by the way, which give you enough protein to have energy to make it through the day. Premier Protein offers ready-to-drink shakes, protein bars, protein powders and even a newer clear protein drink. So much stuff! And now, we’re done!

Brush up on your #fitness knowledge with these five things you should know on A Lady Goes West ... Click To Tweet

Premier Protein shake after a workout by A Lady Goes West

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. I received product and compensation, however, all thoughts and opinions and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that support A Lady Goes West!

Questions of the day

What’s one new thing you learned about fitness recently?

What’s one question that you have about fitness?

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14 Comments

  1. Yes to all of these! I am a morning person and like that I don’t need to think about my workout all day long if I do it early. It does take awhile to get into that routine though. And I totally agree that Fitness is better with friends. I love the days I have a workout class planned with a friend and actually look forward to it, plus we usually brunch or lunch after 😉

    1. Hi Patricia! Me too — I love a planned workout class with friends! Those are my favorite workouts, outside of teaching classes, of course. I love that you’ve signed up to teach a super early BODYPUMP too! You will be the inspiration for those people in the class! 🙂

    1. Hi Bethany! That’s totally okay to love your mid-day workouts! If you are happy with your workout time, and it works for you, then keep it for sure. That still helps with your sleep better than night-time workouts, of course. And YAY for rest days! Glad you’re on board with them! 🙂

    1. Hi Emily! Totally! I love the morning workout too. It just makes you feel good the rest of the day. And you probably subconsciously enjoy the other benefits without even realizing it! 🙂

    1. Yes, ma’am! I love that you have the weekends reserved for your rest days. That’s a good way to do it — plus it gives you more time to do OTHER things than gym stuff! Happy Wednesday, lady!

  2. I love all of these tips! You actually made me feel guilty and open my eyes to how little I actually move during the day. I workout everyday, but follow that workout up with sitting on my butt at my computer. Not good.

    1. Hi Cyndi! That was me for a long time too! I had no idea that I wasn’t being active enough outside of my one-hour workout in the morning, but knowing is half the battle. Hope you can get up and move around a little more now! Trips to the water fountain? Taking the stairs? Whatever you need to do! 🙂

    1. Hi Liz! I know, I know! When you love to work out and be active, it can be SO hard to have a day off from that. But it’s important. Even taking a rest day every other week is better than none at all. 🙂

  3. It’s funny I’m the exception-that-proves-the-rule apparently for AM workouts. I rarely if ever get a good morning workout. Trust me, I’ve tried. Now, I do take my dog for a stroll in the morning, but it isn’t my workout. I think it’s because I am incredibly impacted by hydration/dehydration (chronic health stuff). I do a lot better going to the gym after work or in the afternoon, after I’ve had a chance to absorb a few bottles of water.

    1. Hi Kristen! It’s TOTALLY cool that you know what works best for your body — and a lot of people say they feel better performance in the afternoon as well because they are more awake — that’s okay too. I’m sorry to hear you have some chronic health stuff going on, but focusing on your hydration and know when you have the most energy is key. Keep up your good routine, lady! 🙂

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