It’s not always a good idea to hit the ground running as much as you want to throw yourself into your workout and get started on the heavy stuff right away. Performing exercise routines as a warm-up before working out is the smart way to increase performance and reduce the risk of injuries.
Which pre-workout routine to do will depend on what your main workout will be. However, most pre-workout exercises tend to involve warming up and stretching the muscles. There are also plenty of things fitness fanatics can do before workouts, which will have significant beneficial effects no matter what kind of workout you’re doing.
Supplements Before Working Out
When people think of supplements, it brings to mind popular post-workout aids like protein or BCAA products. These supplements are focused more on your recovery and muscle-building rather than increasing your workout performance. However, incorporating a pre workout supplement into your routine can do wonders for your performance levels.
Protein supplementation before working out has been shown to improve muscle building at a similar rate of protein ingestion post-workout, challenging the notion that there is a small window of opportunity after workouts to maximize muscle development through protein. When choosing supplements before workouts, you can prioritize carbohydrates as they will help to fuel your workout.
Performing a sufficient degree of stretching before working out can be absolutely crucial to your performance levels. Rushing your muscles straight into a heavy workout without warming up is a disaster waiting to happen and will significantly diminish your overall performance levels. It’s not only important for your immediate performance but also plays a crucial role in your rate of recovery after your exercise.
Inadequate or non-existent stretching routines lead to sore muscles after working out, which can persist for days, diminishing your subsequent performance levels in the days ahead. While static stretching was for decades, the main form of stretching, a different variety of limbering up called dynamic stretching, is now all the rage. Whereas static stretching involves holding stretches in place for 10-20 seconds, dynamic stretching entails repeating full-body movements that stretch muscles for just a couple of seconds at a time.
Get Your Diet On Point
What you eat and drink is the very fuel that will power your workout, so it stands to reason that a poor diet plan will result in a poor workout. Eating healthy isn’t the only concern when it comes to your pre-workout diet; you need to ensure you’re eating the right foods at the correct time too. This means staying away from junk foods and avoiding eating just before workouts.
Getting enough carbs is vital to supply your body with the fuel it needs. Without carbs, your body resorts to burning up muscle mass as a source of energy, and all your hard work in the gym disappears. Timing your meal correctly before your workout is also essential. You should eat 1-2 hours before your workout and avoid stuffing yourself, or your workout performance will suffer as a result.
Warm Up Relevant Muscle Groups
Just as stretching loosens your muscles and improves blood flow, a short pre-workout exercise will further increase blood flow and get your heart rate up and running. While any kind of exercise will help with your workout, it’s advisable to tailor your pre-workout to match your main workout so that the relevant muscle groups are targeted. For example, if you’re doing the heavy lifting with your upper body, spending 5-10 minutes on the rowing machine will target the correct muscles.
As you push your body to its limit, you’ll lose a lot of water through perspiration as your body sweats to cool down. It’s always a good idea to hydrate sufficiently before your workout and bring a bottle of water along to sip during your workout. Dehydration is, at best, a significant hindrance to your workout performance and, at worst, a credible threat to your physical wellbeing. Without enough water reserves, you’ll soon find your body slowing down, so be sure to drink up 10-20 minutes before your workout to stop this from happening. However, avoid excessive consumption of water, or you’ll just end up feeling bloated and sluggish.
There are many things you can do before and during a workout to drastically improve your athletic performance on the day. Ensure your body has enough fuel and nutrients to get through the workout. Carbohydrates are your friend in pre-workout meals, while high-protein foods are also very beneficial and choice supplements can take your game to the next level. Perhaps most important of all is to strike the right balance in your pre-workout routine and don’t neglect any of the areas mentioned above.