Your pre and post workout routine can impact the efficacy of your rigorous training efforts severely. Many of us leap right into workout, and are done once our routine gets complete. But that is not healthy or safe. An absence of solid pre and post workout practices is why many of us end up injured and sore…making it too painful to workout the next day.
Below, you will find 8 very important habits everyone working out should adopt:-
Before you start
Nourish your body with sufficient fuel
To survive through an intense fat shredding workout, it is important to load your body with quality energy. The best macronutrient for this is carbohydrate. Do make sure that the food item you choose has slow digesting carbohydrates so that it is digested steadily, and provides you with consistent energy. An important point to remember is to consume your carb at least an hour or two before the workout so that it has enough time to digest, otherwise it can cause stomach cramps. Examples of slow digesting carbs include Ezekiel bread, brown rice and oatmeal.
In conjunction to the slow to moderately digested carbs, also add a piece of fruit such as orange, apple or banana, to your pre-workout meal. This fast digesting source of carb will provide you with quick burst of energy to kick start your workout.
Lastly, also add a source of protein to your pre workout meal. This is important because protein is crucial for muscle growth. These can include egg whites, chicken or other lean meats.
If you are really short on time, make yourself a whey protein shake to load your body with a good amount of amino acids.
Hydrate your body
Not filling up your hydration tank before starting on a grueling workout, or even a simple morning run, is a surefire way of setting yourself for failure. Exercise undeniably constitutes sweating, which causes a loss of water and electrolytes like Sodium, potassium, chloride and many more. All of these nutrients need to be reloaded, otherwise it can impact our exercise performance negatively. How much of these nutrients you lose depends on the intensity of the workout. But to avoid and minimize this loss, it is very important to stay hydrated. Consume at least 500 ml of liquid, about two hours before a rigorous workout.
Drink a glass of water again at least 30 minutes prior to your workout. If your workout is going to be short, then hydrating on water is sufficient, but for longer workouts (lasts an hour or more) hydrate on fluids that have carbs and electrolytes, for example coconut water. The carbs will stimulate the absorption of water in our intestines, stabilize our blood glucose level, and prolong the occurrence of fatigue.
Also, as important as hydration is, make sure you don’t overdrink, as it will leave you feeling bloated.
Put on the right gear-
Picking the right fabric has never been more important than when it comes to choosing your workout clothes. Different fabrics have different properties, and some are meant to make you sweat even more, while others are meant to absorb it and keep you cool during a hard workout.
When buying workout clothes, you need to be familiar with moisture wicking fabric. This kind of fabric helps pull the sweat away from your skin, onto to outside of the fabric, where it can more easily evaporate than getting trapped on the inside. It keeps you comfortable during rigorous workouts that can leave you sweating profusely. This type of fabric also prevents hypothermia.
Stay away from workout gears made with cotton fabric because they have a tendency to absorb the sweat, making it feel heavy and well…very uncomfortable.
Make sure the fabric is breathable and wicks the sweat away from the body. The clothes should be comfortable and not too tight or loose. It is also important to pick the right shoes for your workout to avoid any knee and heel injuries. If you have any questions about what the best shoe for your workout is, just research or ask the store attendant. They would be happy to help out.
Stretch before you commence
Stretching might not give you a flat stomach, but a workout without it can injure your muscles. Stretching elongates our shortened muscles, and makes it possible for our muscles and joints to make the movements that your workout requires. By warming your muscles, ligaments and tendons through stretching, you significantly lower the possibility of injuring and stressing them out with a strenuous exercise.
Five minutes before you even begin to stretch, do a light jog to warm up your cold muscles. Then move on to stretching all your major muscle groups, specially focusing on the ones that are going to be challenged through your workout. Do not overstretch, as it can cause small tears in your muscles which will become bigger through your workout.
After you finish
Roll using a foam roller
Also known as self-myofascial release, foam rolling is a technique with which you massage away any tightness or knots in your muscles. It helps with muscles recovery by applying pressure in specific locations to heal the knotted out muscles, and stimulates blood flow to these areas. Do this before your after-work out stretch.
This means doing a very light version of the workout you already did. For example, if your workout encompassed running, then for the cool down period jog or walk lightly for a few minutes. This will bring your heart rate down at a steady rate.
Your muscles are contracted again, so elongate them through stretching. Stretching will soothe away any stress, relax your muscles and joints and resumes the blood flow to those areas. Without stretching, you are sure to experience stiffness and soreness.
Rehydrate and Refuel
Refill the lost electrolytes and water levels. Hydrating your body will lubricate your stressed out joints and maintain your body temperature. Also, consume some kind of protein and complex carbohydrates about an hour after your workout, because you will need those to repair your torn muscles.
Now you know what to do to get the best results from your workout. Please share this article with your other workout buddies. Also, in the comments below, please tell me: What does you pre and post workout routine look like?