Regular exercise is a crucial part of fitness. But did you know that how you prepare for a sweat session is just as important as your actual workout? What you do before hitting the gym can affect your physical performance.
There’s more to pre-workout preparation than just putting together a great playlist and putting on your favorite shoes. So today, we’ll be taking a quick look at the 7 things you should avoid before working out. Let’s get started!
Don’t #1: Eating Heavy
Pre-workout nutrition is important because you need all the fuel you can get to make the most out of your exercise. However, you shouldn’t eat too much before a sweat session. Loading up on food can cause nausea, cramps, acid reflux, indigestion, and sub-optimal physical performance.
So instead of eating heavy, try a light snack 30 minutes to an hour before your workout. Crabs are a great source of sugar and energy but try to fit in some protein for muscle development and fat for hormonal balance and slow-release fuel.
Don’t #2: Working Out on an Empty Stomach
Not fueling up before your workout is just as bad as having a heavy meal. Without a pre-workout snack at least 30 minutes before your session, you can end up feeling sluggish and fatigued so you won’t perform as well as you should.
A snack that has the right balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fats can help sustain your blood sugar and energy levels throughout your sets.
Don’t #3: Focusing on Static Stretching
Warming up before your main set is important to avoid injuries like muscle and joint strains. But instead of focusing on static stretches, go for a dynamic warm up. By moving while you stretch, you can ensure that your joints come to their full range of motion while you prepare your muscles for a more intense exercise.
This doesn’t mean you should shun static stretches all together. Just do them in the cool down part of your work out.
Delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS is a common result of intense physical activity. To avoid the uncomfortable feeling of stiffness some people pre-load on over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen to minimize post-workout soreness.
However, this is a bad idea. Taking an anti-inflammatory beforehand can affect your pain signals which makes it more difficult for you to know if you’ve pushed past your threshold. Instead, use a foam roller and do some light stretching on your recovery days to help with the soreness. And if you need the help of ibuprofen, take it after your workout.
Don’t #5: Drinking Alcohol
Any amount of alcohol is a no-go before a workout. Alcoholic beverages can affect your motor skills, coordination, balance, and judgement. Furthermore, it acts as a depressant which slows down your reaction time, strength, endurance, and aerobic capacity. If you’ll be spending happy hour before your usual late-night workout, jus skip your sweat session.