Your physical well-being is as crucial as your stable mental health. Unfortunately, only 23% of Americans get enough exercise to meet the requirements of the national physical activity guidelines, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). If you are one of these Americans, you are already on your way to a fit and healthy lifestyle. If not, you should start right away.
However, as the number suggests, adopting a healthy lifestyle is a challenge. Going to the gym isn’t just about putting your headphones on and sporting gym gear. You must try to get the most out of your daily workout routine when you finally hit the gym. A flawless workout routine is based on good pre-workout preparations.
Whether you are a seasoned fitness freak or a newbie, the following four tips will help you in this regard.
1) Fill Your Belly before the Workout
You must never walk into the gym on an empty stomach. You need to provide your body with the necessary nutrition before the exercise. It is as critical as filling your belly after the workout. However, make sure to eat at least an hour before your workout begins to see the best results.
It should be a well-planned and nutritious meal. Most seasoned gym-goers prefer consuming lean proteins such as grilled or boiled chicken with freshly steamed vegetables for carbs. You can also eat a banana as it is a good source of natural sugars, simple carbohydrates, and potassium. Oats, dried fruits, Greek yogurt, and a slice of whole grain bread are also great choices of pre-workout meals.
However, avoid eating instant or canned food of any kind as well as high fiber diets such as leafy greens and legumes such as black beans, and chickpeas. These foods can cause bloating and discomfort during physical activity. You can also pack a post-workout smoothie or protein shake to re-fill your belly.
2) Wear Comfortable Clothing and Minimal Accessories
The clothes you wear to the gym will decide how you feel during and after the workout. You should wear comfortable, loose, stretchable, and breathable clothes. For example, cotton clothing often absorbs sweat and prevents it from evaporating. As a result, these clothes will get wet and become as heavy as you workout.
Many breathable synthetic fabrics wick the sweat away from your body. As the sweat quickly evaporates, maintaining your body temperature in such clothes is relatively easy. Avoid wearing wide-legged or loose pants that may get tangled in the pedals or your feet, causing you to trip.
Also, it is best not to wear any platinum or gold jewelry to the gym, especially wedding bands. Usually, working out on machines and weights can cause significant damage to the rings. A loose necklace can get caught in your hair, causing distraction or worse. However, you can still wear some type of gold jewelry such as stud earrings as they are tarnish-resistant and won’t come in the way of your exercise.
3) Check Your Gym Bag Twice before Leaving
You will be surprised to see how many people skip the gym and rush back to their house because they forgot their towel or a pair of socks. These minor mistakes shouldn’t keep you from doing your workout. So, be sure to double-check your gym bag before you leave the house.
Your bag must have the following:
- A clean towel and washcloth.
- A water bottle.
- Protein bar/protein shake or post-workout meal.
- Workout clothes, fresh underwear, and change of clothes if you are planning to hang out after the gym.
- Shoes (sneakers), socks, headbands, lifting gloves, and napkins.
- Toiletries such as shower bag, razor, body wash, shampoo, soap, face wash, deodorant, hair brush, and makeup.
- Plastic bags for wet and dirty clothes.
- Any other accessories you may find essential.
- Finally, add a lock and key to keep your belongings safe in the gym locker.
4) Plan Your Daily Workout Ahead
Always have a plan before walking into the gym. You don’t want to spend 15-20 minutes wandering around the gym wondering where to begin. It will not only waste your time but also dissuade you from starting your workout right away.
Make sure your plan comprises warm-up, endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility-related exercise. If you are a beginner, you can talk to a trainer to draw up a plan for you, depending on your short- and long-term fitness goals. Also, decide with whom you will work out each day.
Keep your plan simple and flexible though. Sometimes, the floor space or machine you want to use may already be taken. In such a case, you can move on to the next part of your routine. Over time, you will also need to intensify your plan, increase the number of sets, and use heavier weights. However, consult your gym instructor before adding new physical activities to your exercise routine.
When you plan ahead, getting the most out of your exercise routine becomes a lot easier. You need to have a nutritious pre-workout meal ready, choose comfortable, loose, stretchable, and breathable clothes, double-check your gym bag before heading out, and create a daily or weekly workout plan. Hopefully, implementing these four tips will allow you to get the most out of your workout routine. Good luck!