1. Keep your hands cold
Ever thought about adding ice to your water bottle? If you haven’t and you want to improve the amount of time you can exercise for, it might be worth giving it a go. A study conducted by a researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine found that when obese female participants held a hand-cooling device they were able to exercise for longer, compared to other obese women who did not hold onto a hand-cooling device.
It has been suggested that those women who held onto the hand-cooling device were able to stick at their workouts for longer because the speed that their internal temperature raised was reduced. This meant that the women did not store as much heat and were therefore more comfortable.
2. Ditch your shoes
One strange fitness tip that is thought to work is to ditch your shoes and go barefoot. Going barefoot has been a hotly debated topic since the publication of a running book called Born to Run back in 2009. Since then, many people have begun to think that exercising without your shoes on is beneficial to both your training and your health; especially for injury-prone runners. Yet the research is limited and the debate ongoing.
Those that support barefoot training, such as the group called Barefoot in Toronto, claim that going barefoot gives you better circulation, stronger bones and can even improve poor posture. Another study that lends support to the benefits of barefoot training found that running barefoot led to a decrease in energy expenditure by four per cent. This suggests that running barefoot could help improve the amount of time you spend running and possibly your race time. (However, check with your doctor before ditching your shoes.)
3. Drink coffee or take caffeine supplements
If you’re a coffee fan this fitness tip is for you. Research has found that caffeine taken before a training session can help burn more fat during your workout. Incredibly, caffeine can also decrease the amount of pain you feel in your muscles when training. This is great news for those who want to work out longer or for those who want to do more reps.
The study behind this theory comes from the University of Nebraska, which found that those participants who took a caffeine supplement pre-workout increased the maximum weight they could bench press by five pounds.
4. Get vocal
Getting vocal could be very beneficial to your workouts. A fitness program called IntenSati asks its participants to shout out encouraging phrases when exercising, such as ‘I can do this’ and ‘I am strong’. While saying these positive affirmations, class members perform a variety of exercises including yoga postures, dance moves, martial arts and interval training.
The theory behind IntenSati is that by shouting out these mantras people alter their mental attitude towards their training, which in turn makes them feel positive about their abilities. As well as receiving a boost in motivation, shouting out these phrases is thought to distract class members from the pain or tiredness they might be feeling during their workout.
5. Drink chocolate milk
Although not the healthiest of drinks, chocolate milk is thought to help you recover after a workout. A study conducted by Indiana University found that those athletes who drank chocolate milk did not become as fatigued in their second intense workout, compared to those athletes that drank a sports drink.
Similarly, researchers at the University of Texas found that those participants who drank chocolate milk had improved race times compared to those participants who were given a sports drink.
It is thought that chocolate milk has such a positive effect on an athlete’s recovery because the drink is full of protein, calcium and antioxidants (the antioxidants are the result of the chocolate). If you want to make this drink healthier you could always swap the cow’s milk for soy or goat’s milk and add dark chocolate, which contains more antioxidants than regular chocolate.