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We Asked The Innermost Team: How Can We Train Like An Athlete?

12th July 2021

12th July 2021

By Catherine Hargreaves

We're sure that once or twice, maybe mid gym session, maybe whilst watching a major sporting tournament like Wimbledon or the UEFA Euros, you've thought to yourself: how long does it take to become an athlete? 

Unfortunately, it's not that simple... but the good news is, we can gain some tips and tricks when it comes to nutrition and training advice. 

Whether you're going for gold or not, having a good routine in place to keep your fitness in check is vital. We've gathered this handful of tips from the team here at Innermost, that we think no pro should live without.

Check them out and then get to work. It's time to train like an athlete.

Strive for progress over physical appearance

Working out in order to look good is fine, but can add unnecessary pressure to your workouts and result in loss of motivation or improper workouts. Your body isn't going to transform after that first run, but you might be able to shave off a few seconds in your second one.

Focus on how your fitness is making you feel and perform, rather than worrying about the scales or what you're seeing in the mirror.

Add some competition

Start sports training with a friend, in a group class, or sign yourself up to a local race or match to add some friendly competition to your training. This will give some extra motivation as well as adding a social element which will make working out more fun - and therefore more likely to be repeated!

We're huge believers that one of the best ways to motivate yourself to hit the gym or get involved with sports training is through the addition of a gym partner - whether they're a friend, colleague or your romantic partner, the more the merrier!

Keep a track of your workouts

Make notes or use an app to plan what you're going to do in each of your workout sessions, and then track your performance at the end, including weight and reps, timings and any other useful information. This makes it easy to track and plan your next workouts and make sure you're progressing.

Pay attention to your nutrition

One of the best athlete tips is based around the fact that your body needs to be fuelled during training in order to recover properly and develop healthy muscle.

We've got some delicious meal inspiration and food plans if you're looking for some advice - but the key thing to take from this is that it's super important to ensure you're getting enough protein, which is vital for muscle development. Check out Innermost's range of award winning protein blends here, and pick which one is best suited for your fitness goals.

Talking of goals...

Set goals

Fact - having goals is key to staying motivated.

Set yourself a target you want to work towards, whether that's by signing yourself up to a race or having a specific weight you want to be lifting by a certain date, this will keep your workouts structured and your body developing. Typically your goals should target speed, power and endurance. Be realistic in your time frames - consistently missing your targets because you've been too hard on yourself will likely end in you giving up. 

Get in the zone

Headphones in, favourite bangers on, best trainers laced.

Having a good pre workout routine will ensure your head is in the game and you're ready to perform. Your mindset can have just as much of an impact on your training as the workout itself, so try out The Focus Capsules to ensure your mind is keeping up with your body and functioning at its optimum. 

Mix things up - but have a focus

It's important to work your body in different ways to reach maximum fitness, so ensure you have a good mixture of cardio and strength training in your schedule, no matter your goal. Different types of exercise bring different benefits which shouldn't be overlooked, so if your routine is missing something, add a session this week. Make sure you stay focussed, though, and don't lose sight of why you're working out.

Put quality over quantity

This one is twofold: Firstly, keep an eye on your form, and focus on doing lower reps well and at high weight, rather than lots at a low weight that isn't testing you.

Secondly, it's better to do one workout where you really push yourself, than do a couple of workouts that were rushed, used bad form, or you weren't interested in completing. Don't waste time - put the effort in or save it for another day. If you need an extra push during a session, take The Energy Booster around 15 minutes before the workout to support stamina and endurance.

Give yourself time to recover

Working your body to its limits will result in injury and burnout. Sometimes, the best progress you'll make on your body will come from a proper rest day rather than another work out. Keep moving, stretch well, but don't test yourself - and make sure your nutrition is supporting that recovery period. Start off by taking two of The Recover Capsules each morning and evening to ensure you're giving your body the necessary ingredients for healthy recovery.

There you have it. Make these 9 tips a permanent mindset, and you'll be smashing your personal bests in no time. Fuel up with The Performance Collection to ensure that Innermost has your back the whole way there.

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From the Bedroom to the Gym: Is Your Sex Life Affecting Your Workout Performance?
The relationship between sex and workout performance is one that’s long been debated by scientists and fitness fanatics alike. It’s complicated and multifaceted, so answering the question of whether your sex life is affecting your training is difficult. That said, today we’re going to take a look at a variety of evidence, both academic and anecdotal, as well as several different scenarios and at least try to reduce some of the mystery around the subject. First, it helps to understand what’s actually happening to the body, both physically and psychologically, during both activities.   The Effects of Sex on the Body Sexual activity causes several changes to occur in the body:   Physical Changes That Occur During Sex During sexual activity and the lead up to it, the human body undergoes a process known as the sexual response cycle. This is the case for both males and females, though the cycle can be highly individual and may not be the same each time for each person. Describing the full sexual response cycle is beyond the scope of this article, however it consists of 4 phases: Desire Arousal Orgasm Resolution Factors such as elevated heart rate, increased blood flow and pressure and heightened muscle tension all come into play. If you’d like to read about the sexual response cycle in more detail, check out this great article from Cleveland Clinic.   Psychological Changes That Occur During Sex Several psychological changes occur both during and after sex. Most notable are the release of endorphins and oxytocin, which are associated with improved mood and a better sense of wellbeing. These are also responsible for reduced stress levels, which brings a multitude of additional benefits that are of particular interest to those of us participating in regular training and exercise. Cortisol, the hormone responsible for stress, is catabolic in high levels, meaning it can cause the breakdown of lean tissue. So, whilst it is unclear whether sex itself affects workout performance, the reduction in stress levels it may bring is definitely beneficial for preserving our results!   The Effects of Exercise and Training on the Body Exercise and training also cause the body to undergo a number of changes. These occur both during and after the physical activity. There are in fact a number of similarities in changes that happen during exercise and sex:   Physical Changes That Occur During Exercise The physical changes that happen in the body vary based on the type of exercise being undertaken, however, there are some that are common to exercise in general: Increased heart rate Increased blood flow, especially to the muscles Faster, deeper breathing due to additional oxygen needs Heightened activity within the circulatory, respiratory, musculoskeletal and endocrine systems A full summary of the changes that occur within these systems can be found here. More aerobically demanding exercise will, of course, place greater emphasis on the circulatory and respiratory systems as well as causing fat to be metabolised as an energy source. Resistance training, which often relies more heavily on the lactate and creatine phosphate energy systems, instead promotes greater muscular and endocrine (hormone) activity. Note the common physical changes between sex and exercise here, as they do crossover!   Psychological Changes That Occur During Exercise The psychological changes that occur during exercise are similar to those experienced during sexual activity and are mostly related to the release of endorphins and other ‘feelgood’ hormones. These help to regulate mood, and it is common knowledge that frequent exercise and leading an active, healthy lifestyle promotes a feeling of wellbeing.   Does Sex Affect Our Workouts? This is where things become complicated. Though extensive studies have been done on the subject, the results of these have varied massively. We must also take into account the experience of individuals, and this anecdotal evidence again has huge variance. Let’s look at both:   Sex and Training: What the Science Says Scientific studies on the relationship between sex and training are contradictory at best. There’s no denying the positive benefits of both activities, particularly from a psychological perspective, but as for the effect of sex on actual performance in the gym the results are inconclusive. A study, published in April 2021, by Kirecci, Albayrak and co. examined the effects of sexual activity of 50 men in the 24 hours prior to training on lower body strength. The study measured effects by having the men perform 3 separate squat sessions, each at the same time of day. Each of these sessions occurred after participating in or abstaining from sexual activity the night before. The men performed 5 sets of 5 repetitions of their maximum squat weight during these sessions and the difference in weight lifted was observed. The study concluded that ‘sexual intercourse within 24 hours before exercise [has a] detrimental effect on lower extremity muscle force, which suggests that restricting sexual activity before a short-term activity may be necessary.’ Aside from this study, most others found either no notable relationship between sex and athletic performance. A meta-analysis of 9 crossover studies, conducted by Zavorsky and Brooks and published on 16 September 2022, confirms this. The analysis concluded that ‘The results demonstrate that sexual activity within 30 min to 24 h before exercise does not appear to affect aerobic fitness, musculoskeletal endurance, or strength/power.’ This is perhaps more notable, because these studies incorporated different types of exercise and were not restricted purely to a strength/power based activity like squats.   Anecdotal Evidence: What About the Experiences of Real Gym Goers? The anecdotal evidence is, as expected, highly individualised. However, there tends to be a bias against the results of most studies, particularly in those participating in sports involving strength and aggression. For example, many fighters claim that they perform better when they abstain from sex in the days leading up to a contest. Similarly, bodybuilding forums are full of debate on this topic and many claim they note a significant decrease in motivation to train at maximum intensity after sexual activity. It has been hypothesised that this may be due to a downregulation in testosterone production after sex; during orgasm the mineral zinc is released in the body and this is also a precursor for natural testosterone production in the body and may, therefore, provide some reasoning as to the experience of many trainees.   Key Takeaways The relationship between sex and workout performance will always be a complicated one. The effects of one on the other in terms of physical fitness and, in particular, mental wellbeing, are clear, but when it comes to actual performance this appears to be highly individual. We’d advise doing what feels best for you but not worrying too much about it. Instead, prioritise your nutrition and make sure you’re fuelling your workouts properly. While you’re here, why not take a look at the Innermost range? We’re proud to be completely transparent about the ingredients in our products and we always ensure they’re of the highest quality. Check us out, and be sure to get in touch if you have any questions! Read more