Things to Do Before and After a Workout for Better Results
When it comes to a fitness routine, people often delude themselves into thinking it’s the workout hour that matters the most. In reality, that one hour you’ll spend sweating at home with a workout video, jogging in the park or hitting the gym, won’t give you the desired results in isolation.
Understanding the importance of a pre- and post-workout “ritual”, and tweaking your routine to include them, will translate to having more energy, a better performance, and faster muscle recovery. These tips are going to be your new gamechanger!
Getting Enough Sleep
I cannot emphasize this enough – you must sleep in order to have the energy to crush it on the mat. It’s no rocket science that sleep is good for your cardiovascular health and nervous system balance. As we sleep our body produces a growth hormone, which helps us build lean muscles and recover the ones that have been overstretched during an intense workout.
You may be asking yourself how much sleep is enough sleep? As it goes, coaches and doctors advise getting at least seven hours of sleep before showing up for your workout the following day. Your muscles will thank you in the morning!
Drink Lots of Water
Just as cars can’t run without oil, so our bodies can’t function properly without water. Your workout requires the body to sweat, therefore losing water, so you need to compensate by keeping yourself hydrated at all times – before, during, and after the workout.
Aim to drink one to two cups of water before exercising, and sip about one cup of water in a few intervals during the workout. The amount of water a person needs daily tends to vary and depends on other things like nutrition and overall activity but try opting for eight 8-ounce glasses or around 2 liters of water per day.
Choosing the Right Supplements
Sticking with the car parallel, your body needs to burn fuel when exercising. This fuel should start the engine, but also keep it going. That’s why the best pre-workout supplements have to include caffeine and amino acids. We need the former to charge ourselves with energy and boost our metabolism, and the latter for things like staving off stress, having less fatigue, and building muscles.
Proper Workout Gear
There’s nothing worse than exercising in clothes that cause you discomfort. The importance of wearing the right sports bra, leggings and sneakers shouldn’t be overlooked. You want to be able to move around, stretch, jump and play with your flexibility. For a more enjoyable and less stressful workout, always do a check on your clothes mobility before setting out the door.
Stretch It Out
Stretching is how you want to start but also end your workout so as to warm up and cool down your body accordingly. Dynamic stretches at the beginning of your workout should afterward be replaced with some more static ones. Post-exercise stretching helps decrease soreness in the now pliable muscles but also lessens neural excitability while increasing the blood flow.
Give Your Muscles a Nutritious Reward
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to skip the post-workout meal. As already mentioned how your body has to burn fuel during the workout and in doing so your muscles use up their glycogen stores and have some of their proteins damaged.
This is where consuming the right nutrients after a tough sweat becomes crucial. It’s the process through which your body rebuilds the glycogen stores and regrows the damaged proteins. Therefore, your meal should contain carbs and proteins, ideally in a ratio of 3:1.
The Benefit of a Cold Shower
There has been some research that cold water aids muscle recovery and releases tension. The water doesn’t have to be ice cold, however, consider turning the shower temperature down a bit lower than what you’re used to (especially if you’re not a fan of cold baths per se).
Keep Track of Your Workouts
Keeping track of your workout routine allows you to monitor your performance and progress. It makes it easier for you to see what kind of workout pace and exercises work best for your body. Logging your workouts creates room to challenge yourself and decide when it’s time to step up the game with more reps and series or switch to training a different part of your body.
At the end of each month, take the time to look back on the effort you’ve put into shaping up and making headway with your workouts. What could possibly motivate you more than that personal accomplishment!
We need to acknowledge the fact that if we want to make working out to be our lifestyle we cannot focus on the exercising part only. Results appear once we dedicate some time to warm up, fuel and aid our body and muscles in recovery.