Get The Most Out Of Your Workouts With These Pre-Workout Tips
Purposeful training (structured, planned strength & conditioning) should be a part of your life. It keeps your mind sharp and your body strong. On average, the truly committed block out between 3-5 hours for purposeful training. Since we are all busy living, maximizing our training time is very important. Use this pre-workout checklist to get the most out of your workouts.
When was the last time I ate?
- We recommend eating 1-2 hours before a training session. It’s important to fuel the workout, so we can keep the intensity level at the appropriate levels. If you start feeling light headed or faint due to low blood sugar, the session is done. You would have benefited more by staying in bed or making more money at work.
- We also don’t want to train on a belly full of food, so the 1-2 hour window gives the body time to digest and absorb the food. Everyone is different, so fool around with what fuels your workouts and works best for you.
- Many people train early morning (5am or earlier) because that’s the only time they know it will get done. Waking up 1-2 hours early ain’t happening. This scenario is totally individual. Some people just power through their sessions on an empty stomach.
- We usually recommend making sure you drink a big glass of water first thing upon waking and maybe a 1/2 banana or handful of blueberries. The small amount of fruit can provide quick energy that can help you push a little harder.
- Same rule of 1-2 hours applies if you are training at 5pm. Around 3pm would be a good time to eat a snack or meal. Nothing to heavy, but enough to keep you alert and energized at the end of the day.
How much water have I drank today?
- You sucked down that bottle of wine last night and here you are at 6am with your mouth so dry you asked yourself, “did I chew on a sweater last night?”
- Water affects performance, period. Drink before and during your training session.
How did I sleep last night? Lately?
- Sleep provides energy to the brain and body. Better or more sleep is the best form of recovery.
- Lack of sleep increases chance of fatigue, low energy and poor focus.
- Take the quality of your sleep into consideration when training. Your training program does not have to be set in stone. Maybe you had high repetition squats on the calendar, but you were up all night with a sick child. It may be wise to focus on a little quality movement and reschedule the big squat day to later in the week.
Did I warm up?
The warm up is often overlooked as an important component of a training session.
Walk into any commercial gym and watch the sequence of events that takes place.
- People will check-in at the front desk, hang their keys and proceed to a treadmill or some other piece of cardio equipment.
- After 10 minutes they will get off and go through a few static stretches or the ever popular foam roller for another 5 minutes.
- If you planned on dedicating an hour to stuff like lunges, dumbbell presses, rows and deadlifts, you wasted 1/4 of your training time warming up for jogging.
- Make sure your warm up prepares you for the work you are going to do.
The most popular times to train are in the morning before work or in the evening after work. This means you’ve been lying in bed for the last 5-8 hours or probably sitting behind a desk for 8 hours. Your joints, muscles, nervous system and mindset aren’t ready to be challenged with intense physical work.
- A good warm up is a bridge between normal daily activity and training.
- A good warm up will prepare you for a sound workout.
- A good warm up will set the tempo for the workout.
Here are a few things a proper warm up can do:
• Help prevent injury.
• Raise the core temperature of the body.
• Excites the nervous system.
• Improves the elasticity and the contractile ability of muscle.
• Improves efficiency of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems.
• Enhance overall coordination.
• Gets you mentally focused.
• Raise work capacity.
Most of us don’t have the luxury of moseying into the gym for a couple of hours. We need to get in and get out. It’s important we maximize our training time. Hammer away at the four questions I laid out in this article and your training sessions will improve greatly.