With its myriad benefits, a fitness routine is one of the best things you can add to your life. Yet whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a first-timer, there’s always more to learn. Here are some of your common questions answered.
Will a fitness routine affect my sexual life?
It’s the million dollar question, and one of the reasons people work out in the first place.
The good news? Studies suggest that lifting weights boosts testosterone levels in both men and women, and that this effect is felt most keenly after a gym session. Increased levels of testosterone can boost feelings of wellness and confidence, and lead to a bigger libido too.
However, too much cardio can do the opposite. Losing weight too fast, or too intensely, can actually kill your desire to have sex.
In the end, ensure you get enough rest and enough food to fuel whatever it is you’re doing in the gym.
Is a morning workout better than an evening workout?
Not necessarily. Both have their pros and cons, as we’ll explore below.
- Studies suggest that working out before you’ve had your first meal of the day helps the body burn fat best. That’s because you’re jumpstarting your metabolism, and accelerating it for the day. Working out a few hours before you go to bed won’t give you the same results.
- On the flipside, morning workouts are also riskier. Your body is in a fasted state, your muscles are stiff, and you’re more likely to burn yourself out or get injured. Be particularly careful about the distances you run on an empty stomach.
- Your body temperature is higher in the evening and your muscles are warm. You’ll have more strength and more endurance, and you’ll be able to burn off some of the stress of the work day.
- One of the major negatives? By ramping up your metabolism close to bedtime, you might struggle to fall asleep. Try meditation an hour before you go to sleep to combat this.
How should I kick start my running (fitness) after a long injury layoff?
Any time you pound the roads for extended periods of time or hit the treadmill hard, you’re liable to pick up an injury.
Commonly, knees are the first to feel the effects. Iliotibial band syndrome (IT band syndrome) is a particularly pervasive problem that causes pain of the outer knee due to an inflammation of the connective tissue running from knee to thigh. Though nothing is broken, the pain is severe enough to put runners out of action for months at a time.
(Stay tuned for a follow-up article that examines this injury in more detail).
However, assuming you’ve rested sufficiently and you’ve healed up, it’s time to get started again.
The question is, how?
Well, the worst thing you can do is immediately embark on a long, strenuous run. If you’ve suffered from IT band syndrome — or any injury at all — you’re only risking re-aggravation.
The key here is to keep distances short at first, because a lengthy run is actually more damaging than an intense sprint.
On a treadmill, alternate between 4 minutes of running and a minute of rest, repeating for 20-30 minutes. Do this for two weeks, then kick yourself into a higher gear and try a 3 mile run without any breaks. If you get through that without any pain, you’re free to start slowly upping the distance you go.
Good luck, and happy running.