If your goal is improved overall health and body weight, exercise will certainly help you along the way. Wondering how to get the most out of your workout? Here are a few ways to get better results from your fitness routine.

Before your workout
•    Grab some grub: protein shakes and energy bars are good go-to choices. You can also make your own 150 to 200 calorie snack combining some protein and carbs to fuel your workout. A slice of whole grain bread with almond or peanut butter is easily portable and will give you the energy you need.
•    Drink some water: dehydration is the enemy of good exercise performance. Proper hydration helps you replenish fluids lost in sweat during exercise.
•    Sleep well: skip the late show and pack it in early enough to get 7 to 8 hours sleep each evening. Rest is important not only for muscle recovery but also for appetite control. Too little sleep can suppress the hormone that helps you recognize when you are full. Add that to the fact that it is tough to make good food choices when you are tired and you’re headed for a binging bonanza.

StretchingAfter your workout
•    Remember to stretch: stretching after your workout may reduce soreness and help you recover more quickly. Move gently into each stretch and hold for about 15 seconds. Avoid bouncing, and definitely don’t go so far that you hurt yourself. Take a deep breath at the bottom of the stretch and move a little deeper if that feels right.
•    Have a snack: there is a 30-45 minute window, called the anabolic window, right after exercise when the body is primed to receive nutrients that replenish energy stores and help build muscle. Carbs and protein are the perfect mix for the job.
•    Avoid overeating: maybe you think a hard workout is a great excuse to overdo it at the dinner table…not. Use a fitness tracker or app to help you get a handle on how many calories you burned during your workout and how many you consumed for the day’s meals. Exercise does not give you carte blanche to eat outside of your calorie budget. So be sure you know your numbers before you put anything on your plate.

Exercise is an excellent way to manage your weight and your overall health. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week and resolve not to undermine your good work with late nights and binge eating.  After all, a week has 10,080 minutes and exercise only uses a small fraction of that time. The choices you make with the remaining 9,930 will be where the real change lies.