Whether you’re a casual gym-goer or a competitive athlete, it’s important to be properly prepared before your next workout. A solid pre-workout routine will help improve your performance and reduce your risk of injury. Before you start your next workout, take a few minutes to go through this pre-workout checklist.
Staying properly hydrated is essential for athletes of all levels. Dehydration can impair your performance, and, in severe cases, it can be dangerous. This step in the checklist is particularly important if you are exercising outdoors in hot weather.
Water is an effective option for most people, but if you are exercising intensely or for a long period of time, you may need a sports drink to replace electrolytes. If you are an avid athlete, you can avoid the hassle of carrying around bottles of pre-mixed sports drinks by opting for an electrolyte powder. Many trusted brands offer travel-friendly options like electrolyte travel packets and hydration capsules. Just pop one into your reusable water bottle with some fresh water, give it a quick shake, and you’re all set!
You should start drinking fluids a few hours before your workout to make sure your body has had time to absorb the nutrients. Drink small amounts of water or sports drinks regularly throughout the day leading up to your workout. During your workout, drink small sips of water or sports drink every 15-20 minutes to stay hydrated.
Food is fuel for your body, and you must ensure you’re properly fueled before a workout. Depending on the time of day and the intensity of your workout, you may need a light snack or a full meal. In either case, be sure to choose high-quality protein sources.
In most cases, eating a light meal or snack one to two hours before exercise will give you the energy you need to perform your best. Avoid eating large meals right before working out because this can lead to indigestion and cramping.
If you’re working out first thing in the morning, you’ll probably want to stick to a light, protein-rich snack like a boiled egg, some nuts, or a protein shake. If you’re working out later in the day, you’ll need to make sure you have enough time to digest a full meal.
A chicken and rice dish is a great option for a pre-workout meal. These food items are known for their gentle impact on the digestive system, which can help your body conserve vital energy for your workout.
Nutrient-dense food and adequate hydration are all that most bodies need to perform well. However, taking supplements is an excellent way to improve performance if you are recovering from an injury or simply looking for an extra boost.
There are a few key supplements you may want to consider taking before working out. Creatine, whey, caffeine, and beta-alanine are all effective pre-workout supplements that can help increase energy levels and delay fatigue. Additionally, BCAA supplements can help reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery. You may also want to consider adding fish oil or a multivitamin to your daily regimen.
If you’re new to taking supplements, start with small doses, and see how your body reacts. It’s also important to talk to your doctor or a certified nutritionist before taking any new supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions. Some supplements can interact with medications or have other side effects, so it’s important to get the green light from a professional before taking anything new.
Wearing the proper attire during your workout is crucial for both comfort and safety. For instance, you will want to make sure you’re wearing shoes that are appropriate for the type of activity you’re doing. Running shoes, for example, have different features than walking shoes or cross-training shoes.
Additionally, be sure to dress for the weather. If you’re exercising outdoors, wear layers that you can remove if you get too warm. If it’s cold out, dress in warm, breathable fabrics to avoid getting chilled.
Comfort is also key. Choose clothing that won’t rub or chafe your skin, and make sure your shoes aren’t too tight. Wearing ill-fitting shoes can lead to blisters, and tight clothing can restrict your range of motion and cause discomfort.
And finally, don’t forget to wear sunscreen! Even if it’s cloudy, UV rays can cause skin damage. Apply a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 to all exposed skin before heading outdoors.
One final pre-workout necessity is a foam roller. Foam rolling is a type of self-massage that can help improve flexibility and range of motion, ultimately making your workout more effective. By targeting muscle knots and improving blood flow to affected areas in the muscle, this practice can also reduce muscle soreness and promote recovery.
To use a foam roller, simply roll the device over any tight or sore muscles. Start slowly, and apply as much pressure as you can tolerate.
If you don’t have a foam roller, you can also use a tennis ball or lacrosse ball to massage your muscles. Simply place the ball under a muscle group, and apply pressure as tolerated.
Once you have everything you need, it’s time to start your workout with a proper warmup. A good warmup will help increase your heart rate, loosen up your muscles, and prepare your body for the physical activity to come.
There are a few different ways to warm up. A general warm up might involve light walking or jogging followed by some dynamic stretching. Alternatively, you might do a specific warmup that’s targeting the muscles you’ll be using during your workout. For example, if you’re going for a run, you might do some light jogging and then add in some butt kicks and high knees to loosen up your legs.
Pre-workout routines are vital for both comfort and safety. By choosing the right clothing, supplements, and warmup for your specific workout, you will be able to enjoy your exercise with more efficiency and lower odds of injury.
Most importantly, don’t forget to stay hydrated! Choose a high-quality keto electrolyte powder to keep your electrolyte levels up and avoid cramps during your workout. For more ways to boost your fitness regimen, check out the full product lineup offered by Key Nutrients.