How many times do you rush through your warmup and head straight for the weights at the gym? Most of us see the warm-up as just the intro to the workout, but slow down! Before you start your workout, here are a few things you MUST do:
Have a Snack
About 30 to 60 minutes before you start your workout, have a light snack. Make sure it’s carb-heavy, with a bit of protein and fat thrown in to provide a steady burn of energy. If you’re working out on an empty stomach, you’ll find that you run out of energy far too quickly. A light snack will fuel you up for that high-intensity workout!
Take Your Supplements
If you are serious about burning fat and building muscle, you may want to consider a protein supplement before working out. You can also look into pre-workout supplements that contain amino acids and caffeine, as the combo will help you get through the workout more effectively. 30 minutes before workout is the best time to take those supplements.
Make sure to drink at least 20 ounces of water in the hour leading up to your workout. This will stave off dehydration, and will get your body in a fat-burning state. The closer you get to your workout, the less water you should drink.
Check Your Workout
What’s on the menu for today? Is it Chest and Shoulders day, or are you hitting the legs hard? Is there an HIIT workout on the books, or will you do a more leisurely cardio session post-strength training? Check your workout schedule and see what you have planned. It will help you to prepare mentally for the workout to come.
Get Your Music Rolling
When you hit the gym to work out, the last thing you want is to feel slow and dull. Get your playlist pumping in your ears, and that will inspire you to work out. Scientific studies have proven that the right playlist can help to distract you from the exercise you are doing, helping you to work harder and get through that workout more easily!
Get Your Cardio Warm-Up
The warm-up is actually one of the most important parts of your workout! A good warm-up will get the blood flowing through your veins, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the muscles that you are about to work out. Make sure to spend at least 5 to 10 minutes warming up your body first, doing some light cardio to “prime the pump” for your workout. NEVER skip your cardio warm-up, as it’s going to reduce your risk of muscle injury drastically.
Stretch and Limber Up
If your muscles are tight, use a foam roller and some light stretches to loosen them up and get in a good stretch. You should spend at least another few minutes stretching out the muscles you are going to work out, along with any secondary muscles that will be engaged during the movements. The more you stretch the muscles, the more room they have to grow–yielding better results for your workout!
Do Light Strength Training for Warm Up
Before you touch those weights, use kettlebells, medicine balls, and bodyweight exercises to warm up your muscles. You don’t want to use up the energy stored in your muscles, so make sure to keep the exercise as light as possible. Stick with basic movements that don’t tire you out, but which move your muscles through the same range of motion they will experience in your workout. This will prepare both your muscles and joints for the intense workout to come!