We all have our pre and post workout rituals. Things we do to help us run faster, lift heavier and go longer during our time in the gym. Some of these are generic things that generally help anyone who tries them whereas some of them are personalized tricks that others might call us crazy for using. We’re not here to discuss these, since they often have very little scientific backing behind them and may only work for a select few individuals. This article is going to give you some advice that everyone can use before and after their workouts to get better physical results.
Pre Workout Advice
What you do before you hit the gym can have just as much effect on your overall results as what you do while you’re actually working out. That is because if your body is not properly prepared for what it is about to experience during your workout routine then it isn’t going to be able to perform at its maximum ability, which will inevitably affect your results in body composition.
1. Hydrate Your Body
Even a slightly dehydrated body will not work at full capacity, and unless you are focused on your hydration it is easy to become dehydrated without even realizing it. If you’re working hard enough during your workout to increase your heart rate to an optimal level then you will also be sweating, which means you will be losing water. In order to make sure that you don’t lose too much water and become dehydrated during your workout you should be drinking plenty of water beforehand.
2. Eat A Pre Workout Meal
Whether your goal is to see muscle gains, increase your cardiovascular performance or simply get healthier your work begins before you ever step food inside a gym. You already know that eating a nutritionally balanced diet is important to staying fit and healthy, but did you know that what you eat immediately before your workout could have the biggest effect on how well you perform during that workout? That’s right. Forget the old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, in reality it’s your pre workout meal that is the most important.
3. Warm Up Dynamically
You don’t just get in your car, turn it on and speed off down the road. First you let the engine warm up, and then you take off slowly increasing your speed. The same theory applies to your body. You should never just jump up, throw on workout gear and proceed full speed ahead into your workout routine. Instead you need to slowly warm up your muscles and get them prepared for the hard work that lies ahead of them. Doing this should involve dynamic movements like side to side lunges, traveling squats, jumping jacks and butt kicks. The most important thing to remember when warming up is that all movements and stretches should be dynamic, which means you should always be moving. No static positions here please.
Post Workout Advice
Unless you leave the gym and decide to blow your entire diet there is very little chance that you are going to ruin any of your progress by what you do after your workout. But if you make the right post workout choices then you could potentially see increased results. What we’re trying to say is that there are definitely some healthy things you should be doing after each and every workout to maximize your results.
1. Do Some Dynamic Stretching
Just as you want to keep moving throughout your pre workout stretching and warming up, you also want to keep that momentum going after your workout. You’ve just spent the last hour moving your body and working your muscles, why would you end that standing still holding static stretches? Keep in mind though that you should complete your post workout stretches at a slower pace than your warm up stretches. These are meant to bring your heart rate back down gradually, whereas your warm up is meant to increase your heart rate to prepare it for the workout.
2. Eat A Post Workout Meal
When you work out your muscles you are actually breaking them down with micro tears, which makes your body have to repair them and build them back stronger after your workout is complete. Your post workout meal keeps your body fueled with all of the nutrients it needs to begin the healing process of your recently torn muscles. It also provides your muscles with nutrients to keep them from being sore and tired during your period of recovery.
3. Cool Off With A Shower
This piece of advice seems like a no brainer, after all when you’re hot, sticky and sweaty why wouldn’t you immediately want to shower, and who would want to take a hot shower? But it might surprise you that taking a cool shower has more benefits than just cooling you off and getting you clean. It has been proven that taking a colder post workout shower has the ability to reduce your risk of soreness and inflammation, which in turn speeds up your recovery time. Make sure that before you jump into a cold shower though you have given your body a chance to naturally cool down through your dynamic post workout stretches. If you skip the cool down the drastic temperature change may be too much of a shock to your body.
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