1)Fuel up with carbs and protein
You would think this wouldn’t need to be said, but I can’t tell you how many times clients have come in to workout with me and then struggle through it because they haven’t eaten in hours! It’s important to make sure you eat a meal with protein and carbs an hour or two before a training session to ensure that you have the energy and endurance for your workout, especially for weight training.
Working out on an empty stomach doesn’t work for me, but eating too close to a workout can make me feel nauseous, so experiment with what works best for you. I’ve found that a meal of protein, carbs, and fats about 2 hours pre-workout is perfect for me. Aim for around 20-40 grams of carbs, 20-30 grams of protein, and a small amount of fat for your pre-workout meal. A protein smoothie, protein powder mixed with oats, Greek yogurt with fruit or Ezekiel bread and peanut butter would be great options.
2)Plan your workout
Don’t make the mistake of going to the gym without at least having a plan in mind, if not written down. Sometimes I may go in and “wing it”, but I always have an idea of what muscle groups I’m working that day and how many exercises I’ll do. You’ll get through your workout faster, and you’ll get better results following a more structured plan than just doing something different every day. I highly recommend keeping a notebook or tracking weight/sets/reps on your phone so that you can remember what you did the previous week and try to improve upon that in some way.
If you train in the morning, make sure you start drinking water right away. I like to have 2 full glasses of water before I leave for the gym. If you train later in the day, make sure you aren’t forgetting to drink your water throughout the day. As far as during your workout goes, I’ve found it best to just sip on water rather than chug it down.
4)Make sure your Ipod is charged
Good music during a workout makes all the difference. There is nothing more annoying that your Ipod dying on your during your workout! Make sure to add new songs to your playlist occasionally, so that you won’t get bored of listening to the same ones all the time. I do, however, have a few songs that get me pumped up for a heavy set of squats or deadlifts that never get old!
5)Bring your BCAAs
Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Sipping on them during your workouts can help prevent muscle breakdown, especially when dieting or training fasted.They can also help reduce fatigue and muscle soreness. Plus, they’re just tasty and refreshing to sip on during your workout! Mix 5-10 grams with water to have on hand during your strength training workouts. Taking a pre-workout supplement or simply drinking a cup of coffee for some caffeine before a workout is always a good idea, too!
6)Go through a dynamic warmup
The worst thing you can do is go in and just start lifting, which surprisingly, I see so many people do. Another no-no is starting with static stretching. For one thing, stretching cold muscles is never a good idea, but it can also negatively affect your strength. The best way to start your workout is with a 5-10 minute dynamic warmup, where you get your muscles warm and move them through a range of motion. It’s also a good idea to activate your glutes, especially for a lower body day. After your workout would be the time you would want to do your static stretching.
Here are some dynamic warmup exercises you could do for a full body warmup:
Arm circles/leg swings
Butt kicks/high knees