If your morning starts early and a midday workout isn’t an option, an evening workout might be the only time that fits into your busy schedule. Even though the sun stays out later during Summer, getting into the groove of consistent nighttime workouts can prove to be tough for people who prefer to exercise in the morning; if you can relate, remember these tips to make your late-night workouts a better experience.
Time your meals right: Eating a big dinner and heading straight to a workout can zap your energy and lead to digestion issues. No matter what time of day you choose to exercise, make sure to plan your workout two to three hours after your meal. This might mean eating dinner at the office before you head to the gym or having a light post-workout meal ready to go once you get home. Try eating at different times to find that sweet spot that supports your workout performance.
Stay hydrated: Dehydration can lead to cramping, lack of energy, and a slew of other issues that can hinder your workout. Make sure you’re drinking water all day long at the office plus right before, during, and after your workout. Not only will this ensure the best workout possible, but you’ll also wake up the following morning feeling energized and ready to take on another busy day.
Go in with a plan: If your only option is working out late at night, chances are, your schedule is pretty tight. Instead of wasting any precious time dawdling around the gym, show up with a plan in place. You can always head to a group fitness class or print out one of our challenging cardio routines, but remember: you can always get an effective sweat session in at home with all our video workouts.
Dress the part: When you love to exercise outdoors, it can be tough to drag yourself into the gym – just because you have to work out later doesn’t mean you can’t get outside! With that said, it’s important to be extracautious with your routine and your workout wardrobe late at night. If you’ll be hitting the streets, stay safe with reflective gear, and while it might be tough, consider leaving your headphones at home, so you’ll be more aware of your surroundings. Check out our other tips for outdoor nighttime workouts.
There are many reasons to run a marathon, but my marathon goal has always been about balancing training plans with life and still making it to the finish line rather than anything that has to do with a personal best race time. Even so, as I get ready to run my nonqualifying race at the Boston Marathon in a couple of weeks, there are a few things I’ve been doing – in addition to those all-important taper-week rules, like drinking lots of water and loading up on protein and carbs – that have helped me in races in the past. The best part? They have nothing to do with running or working out. Read on for 10 last-minute habits that will make running your marathon easier.
Two Weeks (or More) Before
- Know the course: By now you should know the general aspects of your race’s course, including the type of terrain (and any killer hills) that you’ve been training for. If you’re running a course that’s not in your city, spending a little time researching the course on Google Maps and race forums will also help you feel more confident on race day.
- Stop wearing heels: Constant heel-wearing can shorten calf muscles, leading to cramps or tight muscles that make running feel harder. Give your cutest, highest shoes a rest leading up to the race, and stick to flats.
- Figure out your breakfast: Race-related digestion issues are real – make sure you have your prerace breakfast routine down, and don’t experiment with anything unfamiliar before your race. If you normally eat oatmeal and a banana with almond butter before your long training runs, stick to that combination on race day.
A Week Before
- Eat salty foods: Hydration is key to having a good race, but overhydrating can be a real concern too. Too much water in your system leads to low sodium levels, called hyponatremia, which can cause nausea, headaches, vomiting, or even death. Experts recommend opting for salty foods a few days before your race in order to keep sodium levels normal.
- Cut out the alcohol and caffeine: The week before your marathon should be all about hydrating, so consuming diuretics like alcohol and coffee will do the opposite of what your body needs. Save the late-night wine time (and the subsequent Venti-coffee mornings) for post-finish-line celebrations.
- Get more sleep: Chances are you won’t get that much sleep the night before your race – last-minute prep and jitters can eat into the eight hours you were planning to get – so make sure you make sleep a priority the week before your race. Reschedule evening invites or obligations that make you feel harried the week of your race, and make sure you make time for resting your body and mind.
Right Before Your Race
- Give yourself a boost: Both caffeine and beet juice have been shown to boost endurance levels, so test these out during your training runs if you want to use them before a run. If you feel like they work for you, make them part of your prerace routine. I like these two-ounce organic beet juice shots from Red Ace, but make sure you’ve tested anything you drink, whether it’s coffee, tea, or a smoothie, before race day.
- Go again, even if you don’t have to: Seriously. I’ve learned that making one last trip to the starting line Porta Potties right before my corral time is up can save me from having to decide between waiting in a long bathroom line just a few miles into a race or holding it in for hours.
- Have a chafing plan: Chafing is a real issue for many people, and even if you’ve never experienced issues before, you may find yourself in a painful situation during the race. Unexpected humidity and heat can cause sweat-related friction, as can the fact that you probably haven’t run the entire mileage of your race before. If in doubt, bring a small tube of antichafing solution, and be aware of anything with sharp edges – try to carry them in an armband or in a pocket that won’t rub against your skin. I once foolishly ran with my hotel room key tucked into my sports bra for an entire half marathon, only to discover once I was back in my room that it had created a hot spot right on my chest. Painful.
- Eat a gel right before you start: If you’re looking for a boost, you can follow this tip from running coach Matt Fitzgerald: eat one of your gels (or drink a sports drink) right before you start running. This way, your body starts absorbing much-needed energy in time to give you a boost when you need it an hour or so later in the race.
The best weight-loss advice comes from those who’ve been there, so if you need some inspiration, check out our favorite tips and words of encouragement from a few of our Before & After stars. They’ve got smart advice and tried-and-true tricks to help you continue to see results. There’s bound to be a tip here that will get you excited about your own progress!
Even if you have a gym membership, now is the perfect time to take your workout outdoors. Even so, heat can get the best of you, even when you have dreams of killing it in your next outdoor workout. Instead of having to cut your sweat session short, make sure you have this checklist in mind before you go out and work out.
- Go when it’s cooler: Don’t wait for high noon to hit to venture out on a run. Go early, or schedule a predinner jog to stay safe and hydrated.
- Drink early (and often): Before a hot-weather workout, you’ve got to get ready to sweat. Drink 15 to 20 ounces of water an hour or two before your workout so you’re not filled with liquid when you start out – that can lead to uncomfortable cramps that can also put a damper on your workout. Bring along a water bottle or FuelBelt, and sip six to eight ounces of water every 15 minutes if you’re sweating a lot.
- Protect yourself: Staying out of the sun doesn’t exactly work when you’ve got a six-miler ahead of you. Minimize damage by always slathering on sunscreen (check out the safest sunscreen picks here) and wearing a hat or visor as well as sunglasses that don’t slip off when you move. You can also look for well-ventilated gear with UPF to further deflect those hot rays.
- Cool off: Speaking of gear, you should become very familiar with the word “sweat-wicking.” Showing up in old, all-cotton clothes when temps are high can leave you a sopping mess just minutes into your workout. Go for technical gear, from your shirt to your socks – and don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a lot to fill your wardrobe with technical gear that works. This affordable Summer workout gear does what you need and doesn’t cost too much.
- Think electrolytes: Now’s the time to eat salty foods or take a swig of your sports drink. If you sweat a lot during a hard workout, it’s important to replenish those electrolytes fast. Take along a sports drink or other electrolyte replenisher (like Nuun rehydration tabs in water) if your workout is going to last more than an hour outdoors.
- Know when to stop: Pushing though pain and fatigue is part of challenging your body and seeing results, but you should also know when it’s smarter and safer to stop. If you feel extra thirsty, dizzy, weak, or have heart palpitations, you may be dehydrated and need to stop.
- Switch it up: Dreading your next hot-weather run? Try something cooler instead. Cycling is a good option when you want a cardio workout and it’s hot outside; it feels breezier than running on the hot pavement. Or, opt for a swim at the local pool to get your cardio and cool off at the same time.
Whether you’re en route to Bonnaroo in Tennessee or you have another fun festival on the horizon, head to the event prepped with these healthy products in tow. Keeping these healthy items on hand will keep you feeling safe, healthy, and ready to rock all weekend long.
Photo: Lauren Levinson; Front Page Image Source: Shutterstock
It might be tank-top weather, but toned, strong arms are always in season. If you just can’t seem to see the muscle definition you’ve been working toward, you’re in luck. We’ve spoken with some of the most respected fitness experts in the country to talk about what really works. Whether you’re a gym rat, a barre or Pilates fanatic, or even a yogini, there’s a tip here to help you maximize your workout, so you can reveal (and celebrate) your strong and beautiful arms.
Feeling uninspired, intimidated, or self-conscious at the gym? This checklist will help you stop worrying and start focusing on feeling great and having fun. Remember this list before your next gym trip to help you have the best workout ever.
- Have a plan: Don’t just get to the gym without knowing what you want to do. Psych yourself up for the challenge by planning your workout beforehand, then get excited to power through your plan and check it off your to-do list. If you need ideas, our printable workouts are perfect to take along.
- Look good, feel good: Take time to figure out what you’re going to wear to the gym before it’s time to rush off for class. If you have an outfit you’re proud of and is flattering, you’ll be more likely to step onto the gym floor feeling confident and putting in more effort. Investing in a few key workout basics will help you design a workout outfit to be proud of. Feel naked without makeup? A swipe of lip gloss or some waterproof mascara never hurt anyone’s workout.
- Sweat it out: Had a bad day, full of stress from your to-do list, or feel like you need an attitude boost? An intense workout may be just what you need to feel better. Exercise boosts endorphins and helps lower stress levels, so give it your all, even when you’re not into it, to feel better fast.
- Find a go-to hairstyle: You need your hair out of your eyes and sweaty tendrils kept at a minimum, but finding a hairstyle that works and looks cute will help you to stop focusing on what you look like and more on what you’re doing. Try a high bun and a headband, a braid across the crown of your head, or more hairstyles that look good while you work out.
- Think positive: When you’re new to the gym, self-conscious about your appearance, or just intimidated overall by the workout experience, negative thoughts are bound to happen. But if you let them get to you, they’ll start to affect your workout. Take a few minutes to breathe deeply and let go of any stresses before you start working out – remembering one of these fun fitness motivational quotes can help!
- Zone out to your own music: The truth is, no one is really watching what you’re doing at the gym – but it can feel like the opposite if you’re trying out a new workout or venturing into the weight room for the first time. To get your mind off what you think people are thinking about you, turn on a killer workout playlist that will motivate you and get your mind on your workout.
- Bring a fit friend: Personal trainers can be expensive, but a friend who’s passionate about fitness and loves sharing new workout ideas? Just what you need to tackle anything unfamiliar at the gym. The right knowledgeable workout buddy will challenge you while also showing you the ropes, so ask around to see if any of your friends want to meet up at the gym instead of a happy hour.
- Focus on form: It’s better to get it right than hit a number incorrectly – you’ll see more results faster if your form is correct. Whether you’re in class or on the floor, station yourself near a mirror so you can periodically make sure your back isn’t hunched over and your shoulders are relaxed when you do your moves. Knowing you’ve mastered the art of the deadlift or push-up is definitely a confidence boost.
- Think about how good you’ll feel: Not every day feels like a gym day, but sometimes you just gotta do it. Instead of focusing on how much you don’t want to work out, nix the delaying, and just get it over and done with – you’ll feel so much better after you’re done if you feel like you put in an effective workout.
Regular exercise is great for building muscle and losing fat, but if you want to see real weight-loss results, what you eat matters. But dropping pounds isn’t about depriving yourself - it’s about choosing the right foods that satisfy without the calories. These 25 foods make the cut; check them out below!