Before jumping straight into exercise there’s a few things to tick off the list – not doing so can hinder your results or even cause injury in the long run. From mental and physical preparation, right down to your outfit, here are a few tips to make sure you make the most out of your next workout.
1. Fuel up
The human body can’t run to its maximum potential without proper fuel. Many people believe that training on an empty stomach burns more fat, when in fact, without energy, the muscles used to burn fat won’t operate at all!
Eating between 60 to 90 minutes before a workout provides enough sustenance to get you going. Meals that are lean in protein such as brown rice, oatmeal and sweet potatoes are great options before exercise.
2. Looking good and feeling fine
The appropriate attire can make a world of difference when you’re working out! Make sure what you’re wearing is comfortable, breathable and sensitive to your body’s needs. Stretchy materials allow your body to move more freely, letting your muscles extend.
Fabric wise, opt for moisture wicking clothes, which rapidly cools down the body, as opposed to cotton, which traps sweat. Choosing the right footwear is also essential. Wearing shoes that are not suited to handling the rigours of the exercise you are undertaking, or shoes that have not been fitted correctly to the profile of your feet, can do you more harm than good.
We all know that you should stretch before and after a workout, but the type of stretching you do can influence your results. A good warm-up is key to any fitness routine, so it’s important to be limber and agile with the help of good stretching.
When it comes to your fitness warm-up, dynamic stretching is your best bet. A dynamic stretch is when you continuously perform a motion that isn’t deep enough to create a lengthening of the muscles. These stretches get the blood flowing around the body, elevate the heart rate and mentally prepare you for the physical activity ahead. Post exercise, static stretching is said to be a good starting point in delaying the onset of muscle soreness (DOMS). E.g. slow stretches that have you hold a single motion for ten seconds or more.
4. Knowledge about the exercise
Whether it’s filling in for a friend’s touch football team, a run or hike around some great trails, or your first yoga or Pilates class, before you perform any exercise it is important that you familiarise yourself with its origins.
This may be learning the rules of the sport or gaining tips and advice on performing the exercise. By doing so, you can significantly increase your potential decrease the chances of injury.