So you’ve got your workout plan all laid out and you’re ready to go. The problem is, you could be doing more harm than good if you aren’t thinking things through. Be cautious of what you do before and after you exercise. It’s never smart to simply jump into your workout without some preliminary warm up work and it’s always smart to follow up your workout with proper cool down techniques. These Do’s and Don’ts could have you second guessing your pre and post workout routines.
Before your workout:
Do – Stretches that involve movement called dynamic stretches. This is simply to prepare your body for whatever your specific workout is going to be and it will increase your heart rate at the same time.
A dynamic warm-up uses stretches that are “dynamic,” meaning you are moving as you stretch. For decades, static stretching, which requires holding a stretch for 10 or more seconds while motionless, was the most popular type of warm-up for athletes (source).
Do – Foam roll! Increasing circulation to tight, over used areas and releasing stubborn knots in your muscles is one of the best ways to warm up muscles and decreases your chances of injury.
Do – Eat something (unless you are doing fasting cardio). Your body is definitely going to need fuel before you begin exercising.
Don’t – Eat too much. While getting something in your stomach before a workout session is important, you don’t want to get cramps or nausea. Try to give yourself 45 – 60 minutes before intense workouts and stick to smaller portions.
Don’t – Sleep more than a half hour before your workout. You might want to take a “power nap” to increase your focus or energy, but sleeping past 30 mins can work against you.
Don’t – Take painkillers before you begin your workout. Anticipating pain and sore muscles might seem smart, but taking something like Ibuprofen before your workout can irritate the sensitive lining of your intestinal tract. It can also inhibit muscle growth. Here are four ways to naturally knock out symptoms of pain after your workout.
After your workout:
Do – Your Stretches. This one should be a no-brainer to anyone who properly exercises, as it is very important. Post-workout stretches help to relieve tension, elongate the muscle, and prevent injury. Stretching also allows muscles the space to repair and grow.
Do – Drink a lot of water post-workout. This will help to rehydrate your body. Try to opt for electrolyte waters if possible. Forgetting to rehydrate could lead to muscle spasms, excessive soreness and tiredness.
Do – Get some protein in your body. Lean beef, chicken, fish and protein shakes are all great ways to refuel your muscles. This will help to prevent soreness.
Don’t – Skip out on a good night’s rest. After all, your body will be healing while you’re sleeping so make sure you catch plenty of z’s.