If you’re starting your fitness journey, it’s important to prepare your body before a workout.
Whether you’re playing a sport or going for a jog, you always want to give 100%. Unfortunately, many are unaware of the disadvantages they have from the get-go.
In the long run (no pun intended), warming up properly will help guarantee the best results.
How do you do this the right way? From my experience playing soccer and hockey, here are 5 things to avoid before your workout.
Mistake #1: Static Stretching
You may have heard it first from your PE instructor, “stretch before you run.”
While much of that is out- of- date, research shows that static stretching should be done after a workout. Stretching for 15- 60 seconds in one position has a diminishing effect on the person’s strength and power.
In fact, one study found that static stretching before a run led to a slower start while exuding more energy and effort.
The muscles are extended, but in doing so, signals between the muscle and brain trigger a protective reflex that prevents the muscle from being overstretched. This results in the muscle not being able to contract as forcefully for a short period of time.
The alternative to this problem is participating in a dynamic warmup, which refers to movement of muscles in a wide range motion. You may see the pros do it before a game; dribbling a soccer ball.
This is a personal favorite of mine as you are able to loosen your joints, while focusing on hand- eye coordination.
Mistake #2: Excessive Eating
This one is a no brainer, but people should still be reminded about it. Timing is vital to performing at the highest level. We’re all familiar with the benefits of carbo-loading, but you must consider your time frame.
While some swear on eating a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs before a big game, save it for the evening before. It won’t feel so good moving around with a full stomach.
As you run, the digestive process slows down and cannot operate as it usually does. You’re also more likely to experience cramps and other distress as the normal blood flow to the gastrointestinal (GI) area is diverted toward working muscles.
For the early bird, food may not even be necessary at all. However, if you plan on exercising later on, have a few small meals throughout the day.
Just give yourself an hour or two to digest before you lace up the boots. In the end, everyone’s GI system runs differently. Find what’s suitable for you and continue the healthy lifestyle.
Mistake #3 Dehydration Or Over-hydration
Being dehydrated isn’t good, but over-hydrating isn’t either. It may not be the best idea downing a gallon of water before a run as there have been cases Hyponatremia, which is low blood sodium.
Sodium is an electrolyte that is crucial in regulating many functions of the body, such as nerve and muscle function, as well keeping the body’s fluid at a normal balance.
The best way to stay hydrated is by sipping 1 to 2 liters of water a day.
Avoid drinks with high caffeine as it may elevate your heart rate. While it may be tempting to obtain that temporary surge of energy, it is inevitable that a crash will follow.
If you’re wondering how to keep tabs on your hydration levels, it’s as simple as noting the color of your urine. If it’s dark, drink up. If it’s clear, hold off on the water for a bit.
Your urine should have a slight yellow color to it.
Mistake #4 Skipping the Bathroom
If you’ve mastered the timing of using the bathroom and exercise, you’re in good hands. To start, avoid drinking coffee in the morning if you plan on going for a run.
Caffeine, the enemy once again, affects your metabolism and hinders your performance. To prevent this, don’t drink any fluids for about 30 minutes and use the bathroom right before you leave the house.
Your diet plays a big role in keeping a consistent bathroom routine. Foods, such as: Dairy, wheat, gluten, caffeine, sugar, and artificial sweeteners contribute to GI problems.
Mistake #5 Ignoring Your Body’s Warnings
As Social Men, we strive to be the best that we can possibly be and during those times, it’s easy to overwork ourselves.
Pay attention to what your body is telling you as it may be necessary to take a break.
Take your time, master your form and find something that works for you.