While working out is very important, to ensure that you maximize your efforts and really achieve your goals, what you do before and after you work out is equally important! When building exercise into your lifestyle, it is important to remember that all aspects of your like need to complement this. If you work out really hard five days a week, but spend all of your time eating a poor, innutritious diet and not taking care of yourself, you will not see the results you want. We are all going to have our bad days, but if you can strive to working toward a healthier lifestyle in general, you will be amazed at how far you will come.
Before you work out, there are a few things you need to be doing:
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is so important! Your entire body will benefit from having enough sleep, so do try and aim for 7-8 hour per night. Sleeping allows your body to recover, so you can wake up feeling fresh and ready to tackle a new day, with enough energy to steam through your workouts.
Don’t Forget Your Pre-Workout Snack/Meal
You will hear that some people exercise fasted (no food before they workout), but in doing so, your body will begin to burn muscle mass to provide you with energy. Even for those wanting to lose weight, it is still incredibly important to fuel your body. Muscle mass helps you look lean and helps give you strength.
Before you begin a workout always warm up! The point of warming up is to increase your core temperature and performing dynamic stretches and moves will do just that. Most people require about 5-7 minutes to warm up and increase their body temperature. You do not need to perform any stretches or exercises that are complex! Instead, do either a run through of your circuit with reduced weight, or try jump rope, jogging, bear crawls and planks.
You have got up and shown up, now it is time to really make the most of your workout. What you do during your workout can help set you up for success.
Find Your Zone
This includes removing any distractions! If you work out from home, turn off the TV. It is always a good idea to turn the notifications off on your phone, so you do not feel distracted if you hear you phone pinging. Turn up the music and get your energy levels high!
Don’t Forget to Breathe!
You will want to ensure oxygen is being pumped around your body as you exercise and breathing properly will assist with this. Pay attention to when you breathe – you will want to inhale during the set-up part of your movement and exhale when you work. Breathing properly also helps to build the muscle to mind connection that will help bring better results during your workout.
Focus on the Mind to Muscle Connection
By using your mind to isolate and think only about the muscle or muscle groups being worked while performing a movement, you become more focused and connected to what you are doing. This visualization can really help you gain more strength and challenge yourself.
Drop Your Ego
We may all want to get to a point where we are capable of lifting a load of weight, but in reality, the most important thing is perfecting your form over lifting copious amounts of weight. We have all seen that guy in the gym who has overloaded his barbell, trying to show off presumably, but has awful form. This can lead to injury over time. Instead, drop your ego and focus on how you can best perform your moves to get the most from them.
You have now done the hard work, give yourself a pat on the back. But it does not stop there!
It may seem tedious after a long workout, especially if you have things to do, but cooling down is very important. You will need few minutes to bring your heart rate back to normal, as well as your core temperature. Cooling down prevents injury and burnout that can occur.
Keep Track of Your Progress
Keep a record of your workouts so you can keep challenging yourself. It is also a good idea to keep a little mood diary of how you felt after each work out. Don’t forget to take progress pictures, as pictures speak a thousand words! You will be so impressed comparing two photos side by side.
Re-Fuel Your Body
Just as it was so important to eat prior to exercise, you now need to nourish your body afterwards to aid is muscle recovery. The ideal window for eating your post-workout snack or meal is about 30-45 minutes after exercise, but no later than two hours afterwards.
For more awesome articles on staying fit and healthy read more in our Alloy Personal Training blog.