Stay Healthy – Avoid These 11 Dangerous Pre-Gym Habits
When it comes to the gym or working out, we often tend to just focus on our time in the gym itself and our post-exercise routine. However, it’s vitally important that you start as you mean to go, and while it’s a big enough challenge just getting to the gym, don’t ruin your session with unhealthy pre-workout habits. These can have a seriously negative effect on how successful and beneficial your workout is, from your energy levels to helping or inhibiting post-exercise recovery. Take a look at the 11 bad habits you need to avoid before the gym, and what you should try to do instead so that you have the best time!
#1 Chugging Water
In general, make sure you’re properly hydrated throughout your day but especially when you’re exercising. Many people make the mistake of downing gallons of water right before a workout – this is a bad idea. All of that H2O splashing around in your stomach can make you feel sick, uncomfortable and cut your energy levels. And you don’t want to be running to the bathroom every 10 minutes!
Photo: Testerone Talks
#2 Not Planning Ahead
Be prepared. Pack everything you’ll need in advance so you’re not stressing out later. Forgetting essentials can throw your whole routine. Water bottle? Check. Fully charged iPhone? Check. Clean clothes for after? Check.
#3 Too Much Coffee
You might be craving a caffeine boost when you wake up to get you hyped for your workout, or maybe you’re after a kick when you step out of work before the gym, but resist the urge. A good workout can lead to a much more satisfying natural high.
#4 Working On an Empty Stomach
Focus on eating good carbohydrates to help your body store energy and fuel your workout. Reach for foods like a low-fat Greek yogurt, a low-fiber Granola bar, whole-grain toast with a schmear of peanut butter, or a handful of trail mix about 20 to 30 minutes before a workout.
Photo: Calorie Secrets
#5 Overdoing It On The Food
Just like your car, your body needs fuel. However, digestion is hard work. If you fill up too much on seconds (or thirds), your energy can be totally drained. Have a small snack rather than a Christmas dinner.
#6 Protein Right Before Workout
We’ve all seen Rocky chug a bunch of raw eggs, and although eating protein long before you start a workout is fine, you should avoid it immediately beforehand. It can take hours for your stomach to break down foods that contain a high amount of protein. So keep that shake for after you’ve finished the exercising.
Photo: Predator Nutrition
#7 Skipping Stretching
Don’t disregard stretching before beginning your workout. It should be as much a part of your routine as stretching post-workout as not doing so can similarly lead to muscle strains and other issues.
Photo: Betsie Van Der Meer/Getty Images
#8 Static Stretches
Steer clear of static stretches, like the classic toe touch. You’re much better off with a dynamic warm-up, in which you perform moves that mimic the activity you’re about to engage in (think Michael Phelps–style arm swings before swimming laps).
Photo: Follow News
#9 Not Getting Enough Zzzz’s
You might be so determined to fit in a workout into your daily routine that you decide to get up earlier to make the time. But beware that while it might seem like an easy solution, working out when you’re not properly rested can leave you feeling more tired, less productive and more at risk of injury. Make sure you sleep enough, and switch the time in front of the tv or on your phone for exercise!
Photo: Eat This
#10 Not Making Goals
Make a plan for each workout. Be realistic and create specific, achievable goals for yourself.
#11 Limit Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are loaded with refined sugars, artificial colors and chemicals, because for most exercises fresh, pure water is still the best thing for you. However, if you’re going to be working out for longer periods (more than 60 minutes), in the heat, or at extreme intensity levels where you are sweating profusely, then consider replenishing your body with sports drinks. Besides plain water, try coconut water or naturally flavoured water to rehydrate.
Photo: The Conversation