To me, the training session I do each day is one of the most important parts of my day, which means that I will do everything possible to make sure I complete it effectively and efficiently. This means I have to do quite a few things before I start the very first set of my workout, but the following three things I would say are the most crucial and lead to optimal performance. Try adding these in into your pre-workout routine:
1. Consume A Meal or Snack:
If I do not do this before my training session, my performance suffers quite a bit. I would highly recommend consuming some type of protein and a mixture and simple/complex carbohydrates an hour or so before you begin your workout. You can also consume some fat, however, fat does take the longest to break down, so people may find it harder on their stomach to train while fats are still being broken down. My favorite is about 8 ounces of ground beef with some brown rice, and a half of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. By consuming some protein and carbohydrates before you begin resistance training, you will supply your body with readily accessible glucose to be used for energy because of the carbohydrates, and the protein you just consumed will still be being broken down into amino acids, and some of those amino acids can be turned into glucose as well to be used for energy. Overall, this will help increase your energy and minimize the chances of your body breaking down muscle tissue for energy.
2. Have A Game Plan:
This goes back to the first article I wrote pertaining to why you should start keeping track of your workouts. By simply writing down what exercises you are going to do before you get to the gym will give you a solid game plan for when you get in there in terms of what to do; this will minimize the amount of thinking you’ll have to do and leave you with more training time. I also write down the number of sets and reps I am going to do, along with the rest periods in between sets, but writing down the exercises is a great start.
3. Warm Up:
I am OCD now when it comes to this. My workout ALWAYS begins with a 25-30 minute dynamic warm-up which gets me all prepared for the performance about to come. Truly, I would rather do this part than my actual workout because I know it is preventing injury down the road and will help keep my muscles, joints, and connective tissue functioning optimally. I see so many people just walk right into the gym and begin with their first set, or will do a couple stretches for about a minute or two then go right into their main exercises. By neglecting a sound warm up, you are not allowing your joints to become properly lubricated for movement, your nervous system is not properly stimulated for the work that is about to come, your working muscles will not have the necessary blood and nutrients it will need before hand, and just to name one more- your risk of injury will go up(because of these things)! Try to incorporate at least 10 to 15 minutes of a dynamic warm up into your routine. Let me ask you, don’t you turn on the stove and let your pan heat for a while before cooking something on it? Same thing goes with your body!