Okay, the time for talking is over. We’re now in the New Year, we’ve stuffed our faces with junk, we’ve had a few well earned weeks off from the gym, we’ve drank enough alcohol to put our livers into a coma, and we’re now ready to get serious for the year ahead. A summer body is built during the winter, and unless you’re reading from the southern hemisphere, you will be well aware of the fact that we are in the midst of winter. If you want to hit the beaches in the summer with a body that would make a Greek God jealous, you need to get your head down and start putting in the work now. Have you ever found yourself looking forward to a workout, only to find your energy and motivational levels at rock bottom when the time comes to train, and you can’t understand why? If so, your pre-workout game could use a little tweaking. You need to take your pre-workout training schedule and routine just as serious as any other aspect of your training, otherwise you will pay the price. To ensure you get things right before you train, here are a few common pre-workout predicaments to avoid.
Not having a routine
Even if you’re not attacking your workouts with military precision and you don’t want to take things too seriously, you should still always have an adequate training routine in place before you train. It’s no good just heading to the gym and deciding what you feel like training on the day, as not only will this prevent you from getting your head in the game, but it will also affect your training for the rest of the week. You see, if you decide to train chest and shoulders on a certain day, you then need to plan the rest of your weekly training routines around the body parts that you have already trained, and this could cause problems. By having a routine in place, you know exactly what you are training, when you are training, and what you are doing, so you can plan accordingly.
Eating junk before you train
If you’re not too concerned with cutting fat just yet, there’s a good chance that your winter bulking diet may consist of foods and drinks that just would not fit into any healthy eating regime. Whilst a little of what you love is fine, if you consume too much junk too frequently, you pay the price in all kinds of different ways. Not only will your health suffer, but so too will your workouts. If you plan on training heavy, do not think that loading up on junk food the previous day is going to help you, because it won’t. High calorie intakes will increase energy levels and power outputs slightly, but you will feel sluggish, you will feel bloated, and you just will not feel yourself. If you think of your body like a luxury engine, rather than putting cheap, nasty, and sludgy fuel into it, you should instead put clean, natural, and good quality fuel into it instead, as that will help you to perform much better. If you need a lot of calories for a heavy lifting session, get them from healthy and natural sources.
Taking a pre-workout supplement in the evening
A lot of people, due to work and/or family reasons, will only really be able to hit the gym in the evening, which is perfectly fine if you put the work in. However, after a long day of work, many people find their energy levels crashing, which affects their workouts. To counter this, a lot of people will drink energy drinks, or consume a pre-workout supplement. The problem with taking a pre-workout supplement in the evening however, is that due to the fact that they contain such large quantities of stimulants such as caffeine, although your energy levels in the gym will increase, you may actually find yourself struggling to sleep at night. After a bad night’s sleep, you will feel awful the next day, and training will be the last thing you want to do. If you use a pre-workout supplement, ideally you should use it if you are able to train early in the day, and the earlier the better. This is because you want it all out of your system in the evening, otherwise it will keep you up. The good news is that there are a number of stimulant free pre-workout formulas now available, which can be used in the evening, which will not cause insomnia and trouble sleeping.
Not warming up
It doesn’t matter how hard up for time you are, or how careful you plan on being whilst training, before you begin working out, you should always, always take the time to warm up first. A basic warm up will only take 5 minutes or so, and it is so important. By warming up you are able to increase your core body temperature, you boost your circulation and get your blood flowing, plus you stretch your muscle fibres and get them warmed up, which means you are less likely to suffer from an injury. If you don’t have time to warm up before you exercise, you MAKE time to warm up before training.
Skipping your pre-workout meal
Before you begin training, you obviously need fuel in your body as you are about to physically exert yourself for the next hour or so. Because of this, you must ensure that your energy levels are fully topped up, which is why pre-workout nutrition is so important. Whether you train early, late, or somewhere in between, before you train, try to eat a healthy and nutritious meal around one hour before training. If you are struggling for time, a protein shake will be sufficient as it will digest quicker and won’t bog you down and leave you feeling full whilst training. If you haven’t taken in enough calories and nutrients before you train, you will instantly know about it as you will be weak and lacking energy.