If you’re just starting to work out for the first time, there are probably dozens of questions swirling around your mind. You want to make sure that you’re doing it properly and not risking injury while also getting the results you’re after.
Even if you have been exercising regularly for a while, it can’t hurt to remind yourself of some of the vital routines for preparing your body for a workout. Here they are, in no particular order:
Make Sure to Get Enough Sleep
While you are sleeping, your body is hard at work repairing the damage you have caused during your last workout. If you don’t get enough sleep, these micro-tears in your muscles won’t have time to heal properly, and your next workout will be more difficult.
Prioritize getting quality sleep between workouts to both prevent injury and stay on the right track. If you work out a lot and eat well but don’t get enough sleep, you won’t see the results you were hoping for.
Eat the Right Meal
In order to get the most out of a workout, you will need to fuel your body for it. This means eating a pre-workout meal at the right time.
You want to eat a meal that has carbs, fat, and protein around 2-3 hours before you exercise. Carbs should be the main focus, as they will maximize your glycogen stores and help you push harder. You need protein to prevent muscle breakdown and fats for even more energy.
You can also consider having a cup of coffee before a workout. The caffeine will help you stay awake and give you a burst of energy when you need it most.
Make sure to tailor your pre-workout routine to your own body and exercise routine. Try a couple of different options until you figure out what works best for you.
Drink Lots of Water
In order to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances, make sure to drink plenty of water before a workout, especially if it’s going to be a strenuous one.
You can also drink something other than water, as long as it’s not alcohol and as long as it’s not too high in sugar. A sports drink can also work very well, especially if it’s high in electrolytes.
Remind yourself to drink even if you aren’t particularly thirsty before a workout. When you start to sweat, your performance can quickly drop if you were already near dehydration at the beginning of your workout.
Choose the Right Gear
It is incredibly important to choose the right attire for your workout, depending on its nature. If you are going running, a looser top will do just fine. But if you are going to be lifting, try to wear something tighter, as you don’t want your shirt to hinder your movements and cause a mishap.
Pay special attention to your shoes. Running and lifting again require very different soles (the former something light and insulating, the latter something flat and sturdy), but so do all kinds of sports.
Wear something you feel comfortable in. It will help with the workout if you feel confident and energized.
Never Skip a Warmup
Warming up is probably the most essential way to prepare your body for a workout. If you skip this step, you’re much more likely to get injured or, at the least, to be painfully sore the next day.
Warming up does not have to take long. You can do some light cardio, like running, to get your heart rate up and signal to your body that it’s time to get going. More importantly, do some dynamic warmups of the muscles and joints that will be doing the exercise. Ideally, you want to do a full-body dynamic warmup to get the blood flowing and to ensure your body is ready for the challenge.
Map out the Workout
Before you start working out, you want to know what you will be doing. Don’t improvise on the spot: have a plan at the ready.
Ideally, you want to follow a specific plan that tells you how many exercises you are doing, in what order, with what weights, and how many reps. If you are running or swimming, you want to set yourself times to beat or distances to cover.
This will ensure you are progressively overloading properly and staying on track with your goals.
Even if you don’t have a plan to follow, at least take a couple of minutes to decide what you want to do. This will help you go from one exercise to another with ease, and you won’t have to spend any time thinking about what to do next.
Choose Your Playlist
Finally, don’t forget to choose a playlist that will match the workout. Don’t have just one workout playlist: it may not suit every mood, and you will get tired of it at one point.
Instead, create several playlists that you can use for working out. Choose tracks that you know will motivate you. You can even set up a specific order so that the best track comes on when you know you’ll need a little push.
If music is not your thing while exercising, choose a podcast to listen to in advance. If you work out at home and like to watch TV, choose a show that you won’t get too immersed in and that won’t distract you too much from the movement.
By applying these simple steps, you can prepare your body for your next workout and ensure you are achieving your goals while preventing injury and staying safe. Don’t skip them even if you are in a rush or don’t feel like drinking a glass of water. It’s the small things that can often make the biggest difference.
About The Author
Sarah is a life enjoyer, a positivity seeker, and a curiosity enthusiast. She is passionate about an eco-friendly lifestyle and adores her cats. She is an avid reader who loves to travel when time allows.