Exercise is a key part of maintaining optimal health, however, even if you workout on a regular basis, you risk sabotaging your results if you engage in pre workout mistakes. From eating too much, to not eating enough, skipping your warmup, static stretching, and more, there are a number of things to steer clear of if you want to get the most out of your workout. Here are 10 pre workout mistakes to avoid, and why it’s so important.
10 Pre Workout Mistakes to Avoid (And Why)
1. Not Warming Up
Are you guilty of skipping your pre workout warm ups? Warming up is super important as it helps reduce your chance of injury. If your muscles aren’t warmed up, they can easily get stressed and become overworked. Warming up increases your heart rate and blood flow, which enables more oxygen to reach your muscles. It also puts less strain on your heart to pump blood throughout your body, and boosts body temperature, increasing your muscle elasticity. Give yourself five to ten minutes to warm up before starting your workout routine.
2. Not Fuelling Your Body
Working out on an empty stomach can lead to low energy, nausea, lightheadedness and shaking. It’s important to fuel your body, as the lower energy levels you experience with low blood sugar make it hard to feel strong and energized. Eating carb-rich whole foods (oats, quinoa, berries, bananas, chickpeas, sweet potatoes) before a workout ensures your body has what it needs to get the most out of your workout. Pre workout carbs replenish glycogen stores, providing your muscles with extra energy. They give you the power to push through a hard workout, so you can reap all the benefits.
3. Eating Too Much
On the other hand, you also don’t want to eat something too heavy before working out. A heavy pre workout meal can slow down your performance and also lead to nausea, acid reflux, and cramping. A full stomach can also prevent your body from immediately burning fat for fuel, which can be counterproductive to your workout and weight loss goals. Along with fast, processed, and rich foods, avoid eating foods with high fat content, which can slow down digestion.
4. Exercising When You’re Sick
It’s always important to listen to your body. If you have muscle aches, fatigue, an upset stomach, chest congestion, or a hacking cough, it’s best to give your body a rest. You should also definitely not workout if you have a fever. It’s important to rest and recover, and when you feel like your body can handle it, start out with a low impact activity like walking or yoga before adding higher intensity exercise.
5. Lack of Quality Sleep
Quality sleep is important if you want to make the most out of your workouts. Your muscles recover when you sleep, so if you’re low on shut eye, your performance will be compromised and you’ll be at risk for pain and injuries. Sufficient sleep is also important in having the energy to exercise and also impacts concentration, mood, and focus. Try to get seven to eight hours of quality, uninterrupted sleep every night.
6. Not Drinking Enough Water
If you’re dehydrated, it can decrease your endurance and overall workout performance. If you start your workout without drinking an adequate amount of water, you risk being dehydrated or becoming dehydrated faster. Your body temperature and heart rate may rise, and you may feel more fatigued than usual. Ensuring you’re hydrated before and during your workout will help maintain concentration and performance, increase your endurance, and prevent elevations in your heart rate and body temperature.
7. Drinking a Lot of Alcohol the Night Before
If you’ve ever tried to do a hungover workout, you know what a struggle it can be. Not to mention, it can also be dangerous. Alcohol consumption can lead to dehydration the next day, and it can also affect your motor skills and coordination, which can result in injuries. If you know you have a workout planned, steer clear of alcohol the night before.
8. Eating High Fibre Foods
Fibre is a super important part of a healthy diet, however, eating too much fibre before a workout can lead to boating, gas, nausea, and even diarrhea. High fibre foods take longer to digest, which can lead to discomfort and gastrointestinal distress during workouts. This can hinder your performance and results, so skip the high-fibre foods before working out.
9. Static Stretching
Static stretching (bending and holding) before a workout isn’t the best idea. When you workout, your muscles need to contract as intensely and forcefully as possible. When you put them in a stretched state beforehand, you limit their ability to do their job efficiently. You put them in a relaxed state, which is the opposite of what your body needs. Focus on dynamic stretches before you workout, such as trunk twists, walking lunges, or leg swings against a wall. These movements will get your body moving before any type of exercise.
10. Excessive Amounts of Caffeine
Although caffeine has its benefits, it’s also a natural laxative, which creates contractions in the colon. This triggers bile production, which can increase the frequency of your bowel movements. So consuming too much caffeine before a training session is a no go. Excessive consumption of caffeine can also lead to palpitations, heartburn, high blood pressure, insomnia, and anxiety. All of which can affect your performance during training sessions, as well as your rest and recovery.
Be sure to avoid these pre workout mistakes to reap the most from your training sessions and reach your fitness goals.
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