One of the most daunting parts of exercising can be what to do before and after you start your exercise class. Do you stretch before or after? When is the best time to eat? What should you eat? We’ve pieced together a quick guide that you can follow and eventually adapt it to suit your own needs. Here are our tips for pre and post workout routines.
Before your workout:
- Get a good quality sleep.
A good sleep is vital for a good workout; this is when your muscles really get time to recover! Getting a good sleep not only makes sure you’ve enough energy for your workout, but also keeps your hunger hormones in check, so the work done during our fitness classes aren’t undone by snacking excessively all day! A good sleep is important for all aspects of life, not just exercise, and it is recommended that you get between 6-8 hours a night. A great tip here is to try to make your bedroom a no phone zone! How many of us are guilty of scrolling social media instead of getting some much needed zzz’s? Place your phone out of reach at bedtime.
This is a given when it comes to exercise but it can be an easy one to forget! It’s important not to just fill up on water before and during your exercise- but also to hydrate frequently throughout the day! When you are doing an intense workout, you need to make sure you stay properly hydrated. Replenishing your fluid levels improves muscle flexibility and also prevents muscle soreness. Water not only helps when it comes to exercise, but is great for your skin, your hair, and overall well-being.
- Pre-Workout Snack
If you find exercising on an empty stomach tough it can help to have a quick snack before you work out! Your body is going to need plenty of replenishment after your workout and having a quick snack, like a banana, can sustain you until after you finish your session. It’s important to note that you should not overeat before a training session as the meal will not have time to be digested and may cause some uncomfortable nausea.
- Make Sure You’re Geared Up
The best way to have a good workout session, is to ensure you’re comfortable! Being able to move, jump, stretch, squat etc. means being in gear that supports you. I’d recommend a high impact sports bra, supportive sports trainers, and comfortable leggings or shorts. Keep in mind, you don’t have to break the bank to get the right gear; it is just about finding clothes you are comfortable and provide the proper support!
Not getting a warm-up in before you exercise is a definite NO! The last thing you want is to shock your muscles by not warming them up and stretching them out before using them. It will help you ease into the work-out more, and decreases your chance of injury.
After Your Work-out:
- Cool Down
It is important to give your body a chance to get back normality and give your muscles a chance to ease and cool down. It allows your heart rate to gradually return to it’s normal rate and also stops you from feeling lightheaded or dizzy. A proper cool down can also relieve stress, prevent soreness and injury. A cool down should last around 5-10 minutes and it can be done by doing some yoga poses, stretching or even a light walk.
- Use a Foam Roller
Foam rollers are so beneficial for rolling out soreness and pain. They boost circulation, stimulate the lymphatic system to help eradicate toxins, and makes your muscles recover faster. While they can seem a little intimidating, afterwards the feeling of tension will melt away. Foam Rollers increases blood flow to the tissues and is a great way to speed up recovery.
- Refuel with post-workout nutrition
Giving your body the fuel it needs to recover after a tough sweat is essential! After a tough workout, your body looks for carbohydrates and protein to help replenish glycogen stores and rebuild muscle, so getting your body the nutrition it needs to recover in a timely manner is important.
- Do Light Exercises on Rest Days
When your body needs time to recover after an intense workout, it can be beneficial to still stretch out your muscles on your days off and can speed up recovery. It also helps boost circulation and keeps you in the mind set of getting fit! Some gentle exercise – a walk, a swim or some yoga can help stretch out your sore muscles and get you set for your next workout!