30 minutes of cardio, 15 minutes of stretching, 15 minutes of brisk walking! You might have your workout schedule in place but do you know what should be done before and after the workout? This is where most of us go wrong. If you want to see tangible results, knowing about the things to do before and after workout is a necessity.
Often, the main exercise part of the workout takes away all the credits. But, what you do before and after the workout matters just as much, if not more.
If you are wondering what to do before and after workout, don’t worry, we have sorted them out for you.
What to do before and after workout?
Lifting weights and running on the treadmill won’t just give you the results if you don’t even know how to amplify the results with the before and after workout rituals.
Experts say that the workout part of the whole regime is actually the easiest of them all. How you prepare your body before a workout and how you compensate for the energy after a workout is what matters in the end.
To help you do just that, we have listed out some of the things you should do before and after workout.
Take a look!
1. Focus on getting quality sleep
Your night’s sleep is important for your next day’s workout results.
If you are waking up groggy and tired and pulling yourself to the gym, chances are that you wouldn’t be able to do half of what you decided.
Proper and optimal quality of sleep (R) ensures to keep your body functioning at its prime. Not only is your body well rested and more energized, you can also keep those hunger hormones in check.
Try and get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep the night before. This might seem like a far fetched dream nowadays with the stressful life we lead, but if you want your workout to go smoothly, it is a necessity.
Not just before the workout, the impacts of a good night’s sleep helps with the post workout recovery as well.
Read: Lack Of Sleep In Women Enhance Risks Of Obesity And Heart Disease, New Study Finds
2. Eat 1-2 hours before working out
Much like your sleep, food is also a fuel that you need before a workout session. If you don’t want your body to breakdown in the middle of your cardio, it is important that you eat something 1-2 hours before your session.
The body needs optimal amounts of sugar or carbs (R) to fuel through the workout session. When you are working on an empty stomach (which people do), your body doesn’t have enough fuel to burn for energy.
In turn, what happens is that the body ends up burning the muscle mass to produce energy.
Many people in their hindsight believe that it helps with weight loss. That is not necessarily the case. Even when you are trying to lose weight, you want to build mass to support a healthy weight loss curve.
Burning of the muscle mass instead causes your body to feel very weak during the workout.
If you are wondering what is a good thing to eat, oatmeal works amazingly.
Read: 12 Ways To Spring Clean Your Diet – Time To Switch Things Up
3. Don’t drink a lot of water
Many people have a very wrong misconception when it comes to pre-workout hydration.
It is true that you lose a lot of fluid and electrolytes while working out and it is completely normal to do, which is why you supplement that with water and sports drink during the workout. But, just because you are likely going to lose water during the workout, doesn’t mean that you will have to compensate for it before the workout.
Overcompensating for something that has not even happened can do you worse. Overhydration is not something to take lightly.
If you think it’s just “too much water”, it is not. Over hydration before a workout (R) can result in contributing to the condition of hyponatremia(R).
This condition can affect your kidney function (R) in the time being as well. You are more likely going to feel weak, have lesser energy and experiencing abdominal cramping.
Instead of chugging down water uncontrollably, stick to drinking in small amounts before, during and after the workout.
4. Review the things to do
When you are hitting the gym, it is important that you are prepared with the things that need to get done. For that, it is best to maintain a workout journal or have a schedule with your trainer.
Being prepared with the list of exercise and the schedule helps you get things done with efficiency.
You can be an old school and write things down on a piece of paper or be in the moment and use a smartphone to keep notes of things.
Knowing the entire workout schedule helps prevent any last minute guesses of how many reps you have to do or how much break you need.
Planning makes execution a lot easier.
Read: Diet Vs. Exercise For Weight Loss – What Works Best?
5. Indulge in some stretching
Whatever kind of exercise you are doing or even if you exercise daily, one of the most common things to do before the workout is stretching.
It helps charge up your muscles and prevents the possible risks of injury.
Stretching (R) is the step that helps warm up your muscles so you don’t complain about muscle soreness once you are done with the workout.
Irrespective of how old you are, stretching is a necessity that you can’t brush aside. Don’t rush through the process; instead take your time to involve all the muscles in the body.
It is always best that you learn the best stretching exercises from a certified trainer so you know that you doing things the right way.
Read: Best Stretches To Do Before Bedtime
6. Wear the right clothes
If you are indulging in a heavy workout, your attire matters a lot.
You want to wear something that will accentuate your athletic prowess and let you move around without any constriction.
It is always best that you wear materials or fabrics that are flexible and allow the maximum mobility. If you are indulging in a heavy jumping or running induced workout, you want to invest in a good and high impact sports bra.
It is likely that the fitness experts will ask you to wear something loose and comfortable if you are doing yoga but the same won’t be the case when you are running a mile, especially for a woman.
Neither you want to be uncomfortable nor do you want to wear something inappropriate. If you don’t have an idea, ask your trainer.
Aside from the clothes, the shoes matter just as much. So, make sure that you have that sorted out as well before your workout.
7. Include a pre workout supplement
The concept of supplements is pretty daunting for some. But, they also do have positive impacts on your health, especially before a workout session.
Even a few studies (R) have found that consuming a pre workout supplement can help boost the energy levels and endurance to get through the workout session easily.
That being said, it is important that you consult with a fitness expert or trainer first before you end up taking these supplements.
The last thing you want is to experience the complete opposite of what you envisioned.
Whey protein supplements are often considered beneficial before a workout.
Make sure that you are not expecting overnight results just because you are consuming supplements. That is not how things work in real life.
Read: 14 Best Pre-Workout Foods For Better Results – Boost Your Stamina
8. Stretch again
When we are talking about the things to do before and after workout, including stretching in the post workout routine is a necessity.
Static stretching is often considered the best way to recharge your body to promote better muscle recovery.
This helps in restoring the body functions and helps your body to cool off, so you don’t experience the wrath of the workout later.
Stretching also promotes better mobility and joint function without any issues. Much like the pre workout stretching, you need to be very slow and steady with the post workout stretches as well.
9. Post workout nutrition
Much like how your body needs fuel for the workout, you need to replenish the nutrition of the body following a workout as well.
Post workout nutrition is just as important as the pre workout one.
It is necessary for your body to be replenished with the optimal levels of carbs and protein after a workout.
Eating after a workout helps in keeping your hunger hormones in check, preventing unnecessary hunger pangs.
This also prevents you from eating unhealthy, which is pretty standard otherwise.
Try and include foods with potassium because even that electrolyte needs replenishing. Potassium is a quintessential compound necessary for re-feeding your muscular activity and energy.
This is why trainers and fitness experts suggest including bananas in the post workout meal or smoothies.
Read: 20 Homemade Energy Drinks for Gym for an Effective Workout – Pre and Post Workout Energy Drinks
10. Take anti-inflammatory or analgesic drugs
If you are just starting out with your exercise, it is likely that you are going to experience pain and discomfort.
And, as much as you would want to reach out for an over the outer pain relief medication, don’t do that.
In a conducted study (R), it was found that consuming such a medication after the workout further causes injuries to the small intestine and can alter the gut microbiome function as well.
The pain is temporary and will eventually get better once you get a hang of things.
Just ensure to not miss out on the workout sessions because of the pain, and you are good to go actually.
If you have been wondering about the things to do before and after workout, these are the top instances and tasks. Focus on the positive ways that would help in improving your workout outputs. It is what you do before and after a workout that impacts your health more, so keep powering through!