I think we all know the importance of working out – the benefits both physically and mentally, but something that is often overlooked is the importance of an effective pre-workout routine. This routine is something that you must prepare long before you step foot in a gym.
Hydrate and Fuel
Before you start burning calories, you need to properly fuel your body. When it comes to properly fueling your body before you workout, it is typically recommended to eat something about an hour before your workout. This gives your body the energy it needs, when it needs it. A great pre-workout food is a handful of almonds and a piece of toast. This gives you the carbs and protein you need to sustain a great workout. You also need to make sure that you properly hydrate.
Drinking 20-24 ounces of water before your workout is ideal.
Related Article: The True Importance of Water Before Working Out
Stretch and Foam Roll
Stretching is so often overlooked before working out, and yet is a critical to preventing injury and reducing soreness. It is recommended to stretch prior to lifting weights or running. When stretching, be sure to stretch the muscle groups that you will be using during your workout. It doesn’t do any good to stretch out your legs when you are planning on working out your back and biceps. Furthermore, it is important to use a foam roller if you have access to one. Most gyms have foam rollers these days and they are a great tool for loosening up muscle fibers. You will want to spend ample time rolling out those tough areas and kinks in your muscles – especially in the muscles you plan to utilize during your workout.
Aerobic Warm Up
Warming up your body is critical to a successful workout. Going for a quick warm up run allows your muscles to warm up with blood. This optimizes your muscles to be able to work at maximum strength and power during your workout. Your warm up run or bike should get you to the point of sweating but not to the point of being drenched in sweat. This run will also help prevent injury while working out. Since you are warming up your muscles and filling them up with blood, they will be better prepared for strenuous exercise.
Coffee and Working Out
Believe it or not, many people incorporate coffee into their pre-workout routines. In addition to tasting great, coffee is loved for its caffeine content. Most of have experienced how caffeine helps increase energy levels, focus, and concentration. Leveraging these effects during your pre-workout routine can make a very big difference and truly take your workouts to the next level.
I personally drink coffee before my workouts. It gives me the needed energy to go through my reps and sets with more consistency. Some people have asked “Is it better to drink hot coffee or a protein coffee before a workout”. The answer is: it depends on your preferences and goals. Protein intake is very important when working out so if you're short on protein, then drinking a protein coffee before working out may be exactly what you need. If you already get your protein from other sources, then simply going with a cup of hot coffee may be all you need.
Before you start lifting heavy weight, it is important to dial down the movements of each exercise. This is to protect areas like your knees, shoulders, and wrist. When performing dynamic movements, be sure to use very light weight and focus on your form. Be aware of how your body feels and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t add additional weight. Preventing injury should be your number one priority.
Recommended Protein Coffee: Maine Roast Protein Coffee (incredible taste with a solid 15g of protein / serving.
Personally, I'll usually have a protein shake and then a separate hot cup of coffee. I find that in addition to the caffeine, the scorching hot water helps wake me up 🙂
Everyone’s pre-workout routine looks a little bit different– the importance is that you at least have one. Protecting yourself from injury and ensuring you maximize your workout is the goal of a proper pre-workout routine. Make your pre-workout routine a priority and the rest of your workout will fall into place.