Last Updated on December 14, 2021 by Femniqe Editorial
Before and after a workout, there are a few things you can do to maximize your fitness results.
If you know what to do before and after each exercise in order to improve your progress and outcomes, you’ll be able to make adjustments without difficulty.
Good nutrition and good sleep also matter, as does intelligent pre-and post-workout routines that ensure you’re recovering properly, fueling your efforts, and crushing it in every session.
Here are the 10 things that should unquestionably be included in your fitness regimen if you want to achieve the greatest results.
1. Make Sure You’re Lightly Stretching Before Your Workout
Pre-workout stretching reduces post-workout muscle soreness.
But you need to make sure it’s done properly in order to get the most out of it.
Hold each stretch for at least 20 seconds, preferably about 40 seconds. And avoid bouncing or rushing through them.
If your workout doesn’t involve any intense movements that require flexibility, just do some light stretches to keep your muscles loose and warm up your body before working out.
If you’re doing strength training, try these pre-workout stretches.
2. Warm Up Your Muscles
If you don’t warm up your muscles before you start working out, you’re more likely to get injured.
A good warm-up also helps you get the most out of your workout by loosening up your muscles and preparing them for the intense movements to come.
Start with five minutes of light aerobic activity like walking or jogging, then do some dynamic stretches that mimic the motions of the exercises you’ll be doing.
At least one study found that warming up can boost your muscle strength by as much as 10%, so it’s definitely worth the short time investment.
3. Eat an Intense Workout Food Before Your Routine
After a workout, you need to replenish the energy (in the form of calories) your body spent during your exercise session.
But if you don’t eat something even before the sweat has dried off your skin, you’ll be too late.
It takes about 30 minutes for light snacks like fruit and yogurt to digest and 1-3 hours for more substantial eats like whole grains and meat.
If you’re trying to lose weight, this is probably not what you want to hear. But if you’re looking for some healthy workout foods, these are perfect before or after any kind of activity.
4. Think About What You’re Going to Eat After Your Workout
If you want your body to store the food you eat as glycogen rather than fat, carbohydrates are key.
That doesn’t mean that all carbs are created equal though.
It’s better to choose whole-grain options over processed ones, which take longer for your body to break down and turn into energy.
So make sure your post-workout snack is actually made up of mostly carbs (fruits, vegetables, granola bars) with protein (nuts, yogurt).
5. Sleep Well Before Workout
Your muscles need time to recover after a workout, and that’s when sleep comes in handy.
When you don’t get enough shut-eye, your body produces more of the stress hormone cortisol.
Not only does cortisol make you feel exhausted, but it also inhibits muscle growth and slows down your metabolism.
So make sure you’re getting enough sleep, at least seven hours per night in the days leading up to your workout.
6. Drink Enough Water During Your Workout
Drinking fluids during a workout isn’t just important for preventing dehydration.
It can also help keep your energy levels up.
When you’re dehydrated, you can start feeling lightheaded and sluggish, which is definitely not ideal when you’re working out.
Try to drink about eight ounces of water, sports drink , or even coffee three hours before you work out, and then sip some more during your workout.
7. Stay Hydrated After Your Workout Too
Not only is staying hydrated important for keeping your energy levels up but it also helps flush toxins from your body after a grueling exercise session.
A study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that men who drank 16 to 34 ounces of water two hours after a workout were less likely to feel sore a day later compared to those who didn’t rehydrate.
8. Know When You Don’t Need Water
There are some workouts that don’t require as much water.
For example, weightlifting doesn’t wear down your body as much as cardio does.
So if you’re lifting weights, you may not need to drink fluids as often. Listen to your body and drink when you feel thirsty, but don’t overdo it just because you think you should.
9. Take a Post-Workout Supplement
If you’re looking for an extra edge in your workout, consider taking a post-workout supplement.
These supplements usually contain branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs), which help muscles recover after a tough session.
They can also help reduce muscle soreness and fatigue, so you can get back to the gym sooner.
10. Foam roller
A foam roller is a great way to loosen up tight muscles and improve flexibility before and after your workout.
It can also help reduce inflammation and speed up the healing process after a hard session.
Use a foam roller for about five minutes before and after your workout to get the most benefits.
So there you have it: 10 things you should do before and after every workout to get better results.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to work out harder and faster with less pain and soreness afterwards. And who doesn’t want that?