Being in great physical shape is one of the best things you can do for yourself; you will experience more energy and greater confidence as your physical fitness improves. For many people, getting in shape seems pretty simple; all you have to do is exercise a lot and eat less, right? Wrong. Getting your body in peak condition is actually a complicated balancing act of exercise and diet. Included here are a few things you can do in order to get the most out of your workout.

Go for Thirty

Exercising intensely for 30-40 minutes is all you really need to get your body in shape. With properly timed, and diverse, workouts, you may not even have to exercise on a daily basis. Believing a longer workout will yield better results is faulty, because your body can only perform at high intensity for a set amount of time. Instead of increasing your workout length, simply increase your workout intensity as you get in better shape.

Pack on Protein

With any physical exertion, you need to pay attention to how much protein you are consuming. Getting too little could leave you feeling drained, and your muscles will not get the power they need to rebuild. Your muscles cannot build up (to burn fat) unless you are replenishing them with plenty of protein. Most workout experts recommend a soy or whey protein shake before and after workouts.

Say Hello to Hydration

Studies have shown that up to 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. As romanticized as a love of coffee may be, it doesn’t do your body any favors. The first step to getting yourself in better shape, and health, is in hydrating your body. Experts recommend that you consume one ounce for every pound in your body. The more you are exercising, the more water you lose through sweat, so increase this amount in relation to your workouts.

Consume Carbohydrates

While dieters may demonize this essential building block, carbohydrates are critically important for your health when exercising. Carbs are the main fuel your body burns during a workout, so failing to consume carbs results in a lack of energy. Bananas are a great source of carbs right before a workout and can be digested quickly due to their low fiber content.

Prepare to Refuel

Before working out, give your body the gumption it needs by downing a protein and carb shake before you exercise. Following any serious workout, consume an additional shake with protein and carbs to rebuild your muscles and replenish your energy. These vital building blocks are not negating the exercise you just did, but giving your body muscle growth and strength to improve.