If you love working out and do so regularly, then consider yourself a step ahead of 80% of the American population, who according to the CDC don’t get the recommended amount of daily physical activity. But even for those of who follow some sort of consistent routine, it’s worth asking ourselves whether there are things we may be doing that actually undermine our efforts. Stay on top of your fitness commitment with these pre-workout tricks.
– Poor diet.
– Poor sleep.
– Poor stress management.
– Poor time management.
All of these things can have the potential to affect the quality of our workout, the magnitude of our results, and even our risk for injury. And just like the old adage wisely puts it, “You can’t outwork a bad diet,” so, too, can you not outwork a lot of other iffy habits, as well.
Seriously, congratulate yourself for working out regularly. Now let’s see if we can fine tune some of your other behaviors to make sure you’re getting everything you can out of those blood, sweat, and tears.
5 Pre-Workout Tricks To Get The Most Out of Your Next Gym Session
Whether your goal is to lose body fat, get strong, reverse chronic disease, or simply improve your overall health and well-being, the gym is a great place to start. But you probably spend about 1 hour in the gym a day at most–the other 23 hours of the day are up for grabs. Here a few simple things you can do that won’t take a lot of your time but will truly make your time in the gym more worthwhile:
1. Prep your gym bag.
Never give yourself the excuse to skip your workout simply because you forgot your sneakers or a hair tie! The night or morning before you head out, be sure to pack a bag with everything you’ll need. This helps you avoid the huge time waster that is scrambling around looking for a clean pair of shorts, socks, and underwear. The essentials? Workout clothes, clean clothes, deodorant, sneakers, and make-up and hair products if you use any.
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2. Fall in love with cooking and meal prep.
As the saying goes, “Abs are made in the kitchen.” Set yourself up for success by preparing easy grab-and-go post-workout snacks full of protein, best consumed within 30-45 minutes after your session. Can’t stomach a hard boiled egg or chicken breast after a workout? Invest in a quality protein bar or supplement that you can mix in water.
3. Commit to starting every session with a 10-minute warm-up
At best, it’s wasteful to spend the first 5 to 10 minutes of your actual workout just trying to get your heart rate up and your muscles loose–at worst, it could lead to injury. Work into your time frame a 10-minute general warm-up–think light jogging, arm swings, leg circles, and burpees–so that when the clock hits go, or when you hit your first set, your body will be ready and able to put forth full effort.
4. Train your brain as well as your muscles.
Any serious athlete will tell you that your mental game is as important as your physical game. Complement your physical training with some sort of mindfulness practice, such as meditation or journaling. The calmer and more centered your mind is, the more mental energy you’ll have available to keep you focused during your workouts, even–especially–the tough ones.
5. Make a schedule, post your schedule, stick to your schedule.
No plan? No progress. Create a realistic schedule for yourself and post it somewhere you can see it every day. Treat your gym session like a business meeting or a trip to the nail salon–anything you wouldn’t be caught dead skipping. Consider writing down what you do every workout, too. At the end of each week, reflect on your training and modify the next week’s schedule as necessary so you’re prepared to get after it once Monday comes around.
Share these tips with your gym buddies and be sure to let us know if you have a pre-workout ritual or two of your own. We’d love to hear about it!