During fitness exercises, the biggest mistake that most people do is to focus or put their mind on the main workout, rather than what they do before and after the workout. Yet in an actual sense, pre-workout habits and post-workout habits are as important as the time you take working out.
In other words, to have an effective workout, it is much more than just the type of exercise you’re doing and for how long.
Having a successful or awful performance depends on so many factors including your mindset, how you feel physically, and the amount of stress you’re under, plus what you do or eat before and after working out.
In this article, we talk about the things you should never do before working out; to make sure you’re not ruining your workout or putting your health at risk.
The things you should never do before working out
To get the best out of your workouts, there are a few key things you should never do before working out. These include;
1. Don’t overeat
While is not good to exercise on an empty stomach having too much just before a workout can lead to nausea, cramps, acid reflux, indigestion, and decreased performance. Always have a light meal or snack at least an hour before exercise.
2, Never workout on an empty stomach
To have an effective workout, the body needs sufficient energy. However, on an empty stomach, the body becomes sluggish and fatigued. This means that the body will not have the proper fuel for any movement.
Before you hit the gym or road, take complex carbohydrates an hour or 30 minutes before exercising.
3. Avoid static Stretching
I am very sure for many years you have been told that stretching before exercise is good for you. But this is not actually true. Recent studies show that stretching (holding a stretch) decreases your strength if performed before a workout.
Also, stretching cold muscles can cause injuries like strains. This does not hinder you from warming up for an exercise but performs dynamic stretches. You can perform some cardio to warm up the muscles.
4. Avoid anti-inflammatory medication (pain killers)
First of all, pain killers block the pain signals. This means that you won’t feel pain if you happen to be pushing hard beyond your limit during a workout. This will lead to further injury.
Also, painkillers relax muscles, which is a counter effect on the muscles and can hinder your performance. If you need Pain medication, it is better to skip the exercise session.
5. Avoid oversleeping or sleep deprivation
Just have enough sleep and preferably at least 7-8 hours of sleep. Make sure you have a gap of an hour between your sleep and workouts. Sleep deprivation or oversleeping causes the body to become lethargic and making your energy output much lower than normal, thus affecting performance.
6. Don’t drink alcohol
Drinking alcohol before a workout can lead to drowsiness, dehydration, and lowering of blood vessels. Even one glass can lower your blood sugar levels, which can lead to everything from shakiness, weakness, or injury.
Learn how alcohol affects workouts and progress here
7. Avoid Working out with stress
Stress releases a high level of cortisol, which breaks down muscle tissue and encourages body fat storage. Therefore, avoid stressful situations before heading to the gym.
Related; the link between stress and weight loss
8. Avoid too much water
Drinking too much water before a workout can decrease salt in the blood, which is important in many bodily functions. Symptoms of too much water include dizziness, nausea, and confusion. Always aim at 1 or 2 cups of water at least 30 minutes before workout.
9. Don’t drink too much caffeine
Although caffeine can boost your energy for a workout, it can also dehydrate you, elevate your heart rate and cause dizziness. Caffeine can also cause you to crash within 3 to 4 hours after use. So it’s better to drink caffeine closer to your workout and not overdo it.
What should you eat before your workout?
In fitness, there are certain foods to eat before working out that prepare our bodies to maximize your efforts in any workout. These foods provide a perfect balance of fats, carbs, and protein to fuel your body, stave off hunger, fight fatigue, and even aid recovery.
Always eat your meal and snack 30-90 minutes before you work out, so you don’t feel bloated. For those of you eating a larger meal, eat 90 minutes before while for a snack, 30 minutes should be fine.
These are packed with carbohydrates and potassium, which supports nerve and muscle function. Bananas provide fuel for our bodies and brain. Are bananas good for weight loss? Here is all you need to know about banana weight loss benefits.
Oats are full of fiber and release carbohydrates gradually which keeps the energy levels consistent throughout the workout. This means that you can train harder for longer. Oats contain Vitamin B, which helps convert carbohydrates into energy.
3. Grilled Chicken, Broccoli, and Sweet Potato
If your goal is to build muscle mass, this combo is the best for you. Much as it is a meal than a snack pro-athletes chow down on this regularly.
4. Dried Fruit
Dried fruits provide quick, easy, and good pre-workout food. They are good sources of simple and easily digestible carbohydrates. Dried berries, apricots, figs, and pineapple are good examples.
5. Whole Grain Bread
This is an excellent source of carbs. You can combine it with hard-boiled eggs for a protein-packed snack.
6. Fruit and Greek Yogurt
Have you used this wonderful combo before? If not, you must try this. The fruits provide carbohydrates while Greek yogurt provides a punch of proteins. Carbs in the fruit quickly break down to provide fuel while the protein is stored and used to prevent muscle damage.
7. Trail Mix
Trail mix a type of snack mix. It is a combo of granola, dried fruit, nuts, and sometimes chocolate It provides the protein and calories required if you are trying to gain muscle mass or trying to lose weight.
What food should I eat after exercise?
The main aim of a post-workout meal is to give the body the right nutrients for recovery as well as to maximizing the benefits of your workout. Picking on easily digestible foods promotes faster nutrient absorption.
Examples of simple and easily digestible foods include;
- Sweet potatoes
- Chocolate milk
- Fruits (pineapple, berries, banana, kiwi)
- Rice cakes
- Dark, leafy green vegetables
- Animal- or plant-based protein powder
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Protein bar
- Nut butter
- Trail mix (dried fruits and nuts)
What things should I avoid after exercise?
Like we discussed above, post-workout behavior is as important as the time you spend working out. What you do after your workout has a significant impact on how your body reacts to the work you put in.
Beginning with the post-workout meal, to the amount of rest we get, every decision we make after exercise all impact the way our body recovers, repairs, and even grows.
Therefore, avoiding the post-workout mistakes below will help you earn enormously from your workout efforts.
1. Don’t forget to hydrate
When you’re lifting and lunging, you lose a lot of water through sweat. It is therefore important to drink more water right after to re-hydrate. You need to replenish your glycogen levels and replace electrolytes, all of which assist in recovery.
Related; how to drink water to lose weight
2. Avoid eating fatty foods
Fatty foods slow down the digestive process. All you need is to eat ‘fast-acting’ nutrients that can enter the bloodstream quickly so that you can refuel quickly in 20 to 30 minutes after exercise. You simply need quality protein and carbs to feed your muscles.
3. Never skip the stretch
Having a few stretches for at least 1 minute is very important. Failure to stretch after exercise could limit your range of motion, making you more susceptible to injuries.
4. Avoid sitting still for the rest of the day
Exercising does not mean that you rest or sleep for the rest of the day. If you do so, your body will tighten up. In addition to stretching, doing things like dynamic stretching, foam rolling, and functional body-weight will help you get more out of your workouts sessions.
Dedicating a few minutes in the evening will help to stimulate blood flow, relieve soreness, reinforcing good posture, and more.
5. Avoid sleep deprivation
Your body needs to recover and rebuild. This is mostly done when we’re sleeping, so proper rest is very important.
6. Don’t forget to track and share your workout
Fitness tracking promotes progress and motivates others to change their lifestyle.
7. Not cleaning workspace or rerack the weights
Make sure that you put the weights back to where they must be, disinfect the equipment and make sure that you put your weights back where you found them. All this avoids injuries and infections.
What is the perfect time to do exercise?
The best time for exercise should entirely depend on an individual. What is the best time for you? The benefits of physical activity depend upon how consistent an individual is.
While others find the best time to exercise to be early in the morning where there are no distractions, others get up at dawn to work out. What is important is to do what’s most likely to work for you consistently.
In case you find falling asleep in the evening hard after an evening workout, shift your workout sessions earlier in the day. But if you have an unpredictable schedule, be flexible, and have a better plan for various times of the day.
Post-workout and pre-workout behavior is as important as the time you spend working out if you really need to optimize your workouts. That said, avoiding the above mistakes before and after workouts will help you get more out of your workout sessions.