A Guide to Maximizing Your Pre and Post Workout Routines
Whatever the case may be, this will hopefully get you thinking about the importance of staying physically active and making better, conscious choices to get the most out of it. Now, what you do before and after a workout is just as important as what you do during. If this comes as news to you, you may not be getting the full results of the hard work you’re putting in. Read on!
Some of the benefits of exercise include:
- Stress relief: Physical activity allows you to release tension and reduce levels of the body's stress hormones such as cortisol.
- Better sleep: Other than physically tiring you out, exercise can improve both the quality and amount of sleep you get. Just make sure not to fit a gym session in too close to your bedtime. Give your body enough time to come down from an energizing high.
- Weight control: Apart from the obvious weight loss advantages, regular exercise can enhance the body’s maintenance, preventing too much weight gain or weight loss.
- Mood improvement: Exercise naturally leads to the release of endorphins, the brain's "feel-good" chemical, triggering positive feelings and emotions.
- Physical & mental health: Regular exercise can lower the risk of physical ailments and health conditions. It can also help in preventing and managing heart problems such as high blood pressure and stroke. Equally as important, mental problems such as depression and anxiety are also reduced due to improved cognitive function over time.
- Social life: We’re all especially looking forward to this one! …and we can’t recommend getting a gym buddy enough. The sense of mutual support and obligation when it comes to having a workout partner encourages you to follow through on your fitness commitment.
With all the good that comes out of exercising, you'd want to make sure you're getting as much as you can out of it, from beginning to end!
Let's get into it...
- Get quality sleep
- Hydrate!: Throughout the day and throughout your workout.
- Fuel up
- Before a workout is the time to prime your muscles with protein and carbs. Some people opt for protein bars or fruit, while others depend on supplements. (Protein shakes are a popular and delicious way to consume all these necessary nutrients.) Supplements give an energy and endurance boost that enhances overall performance during a workout.
- The type and quantity of food and/or supplements you choose will of course vary depending on your fitness goals. Some of the most popular supplements to gain muscle and lose weight include creatine, whey protein, and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs).
Check out all the Sports & Fitness supplements we carry here!
- Warm up
- Get a playlist ready!
- Cool down & stretch: After a workout, it's best not to stop abruptly or immediately take a nap (as good as that can sound). Give your heart rate some time to wind down and return to its resting state.
- Hydrate!: It is crucial to drink water during and after a workout to replace the fluids your body loses through sweat.
- Refuel: Proteins and carbs, along with healthy fats, are also important for muscle recovery.
- Take a cold shower: Cold water has properties that relaxes, repairs, and reduces soreness in muscles.
Let's Talk About Timing
Science points to the notion that mornings may be the best time to workout. Morning workouts:
- Are ideal for burning more fat and losing weight, especially when on an empty stomach.
- Can make you more alert, focused, and productive the rest of the day.
- Improve your sleep cycle by shifting your circadian rhythm, making you fall asleep earlier.
Exercising later in the day has its own benefits, such as the body's natural ability to burn more calories in the afternoon and the chance to blow off steam after a long day in the evening. Muscle strength and endurance are also improved since you will already have had 1-3 meals.
With that being said, any exercise at any time of day is always better than no exercise at all.
Fueling Up Pre-Workout
- It is recommended that you should choose to eat a meal 2-3 hours before a workout or snacks and a protein shake within 1-2 hours before.
- Try to eat a healthy snack or meal within 45 minutes of finishing a workout.
- This allows the body to replenish its glycogen supply, which is stored from gluten found in a number of foods we consume. This glycogen is then used when the body needs energy, such as when engaging in physical activity.
- According to studies referenced in this article, "the delay of carb consumption by as little as 2 hours after a workout may lead to as much as 50% lower rates of glycogen synthesis."
👇 Let us know your pre and post workout routines in the comments! 👇