When it comes to your fitness routine, the workout itself often gets all of the credit. However, what you do before and after a workout is just as important! Your workout makes up only 1-2 hours of your day, so make the other 23-24 hours count! To get the most out of your exercise, you should establish a strong pre and post workout routine to ensure you’re energizing your body, recovering properly, and crushing each and every workout. Here are 11 tips to help you develop a strong routine and get the most out of your workouts!
Before Your Workout
1) Get a Good Quality Sleep
One of the most important parts of any fitness routine is to ensure you’re getting enough, good quality sleep. We recommend getting around 7-9 hours of sleep every night, as well as setting boundaries with your electronics before bed. Doing so will ensure that the light from your screens doesn’t keep you awake at night or prevent you from falling asleep. As sleep plays a key role in energizing your body, helping you stay focused, and boosting your overall stamina, it ensures that you’re energized for your exercises and that you get the best results out of your workouts. It also helps keep your hormones in check, so that you aren’t overeating and reversing the efforts made during your workouts. Not to mention, exercise can also help you sleep better, in which sleep and exercise have a mutually beneficial relationship.
2) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
As you know, water is essential for your overall health and wellness, but did you know that it plays an especially important role in your fitness routine? As water keeps you hydrated, regulates your body temperate, and lubricates your joints, it helps your body perform its best during your exercises. You also need to make sure you are properly hydrated as your body will be losing water while you sweat throughout your workouts. Just like a car can’t run without oil, your body can’t run without water. You should be drinking plenty of water before, during, and after your workouts. We recommend drinking:
- 15 – 20 ounces of water one to two hours before our workout
- 8 – 10 ounces 15 to 20 minutes before you begin
- 8 ounces every 10 to 20 minutes during your workout
- 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after your workout
3) Grab a Snack
Depending on how you’re feeling, it can be a good idea to have a healthy snack before you exercise. There’s no need to force food down if you’re not feeling it, but if you need an extra boost to fuel your body, a piece of toast with peanut butter can do the trick. You don’t want to be starving, but you also don’t want to be feeling full during your workouts. Just make sure to stay away from foods that are high in protein or fat levels as they often take longer to digest and can cause stomach cramps while you’re exercising.
4) Make a Plan
Although many people tend to just show up at the gym and figure out what exercises to do as they go, making a plan beforehand will ensure you get the most out of your dedicated exercise time. A planned workout will also help to hold yourself accountable in executing all of your intended exercises. If you’re feeling tired after your second set of burpees, having a plan in place will help you push yourself to reach your workout goals. So, if you work out at a gym, create your workout plan in advance, and if you prefer to attend workout classes, sign up for your classes early and add them to your calendar – you will be much more motivated to follow through with your workout plans.
We can’t stress enough how important it is to always warm up before each and every workout. Warm-ups help raise your body temperature, increase your range of motion, and prepare your body for exercise. Work dynamic warm-ups into your routine, which consist of moving stretches that target the muscles and areas that will be focused on throughout your workout. The purpose is to warm up your muscles, ensure they have enough oxygen, and increase flexibility to prevent strain or injury. We recommend fitting in at least 5 to 10 minutes of warming up, which can include dynamic stretching or light cardio such as walking on a treadmill.
After Your Workout
6) Stretch It Out
Just like warming up, it’s important to always stretch after a workout. Use static stretches to cool down and bring your body back to a resting state. Integrate stretches that target the muscles you used during your workout. The key is to hold each stretch for 20 to 30 seconds to ensure injury prevention and improved recovery.
7) Use a Foam Roller
When it comes to recovering from your workouts and minimizing post-workout soreness, foam rollers can go a long way. By releasing tension from your body and increasing blood flow to the tissues that were used, foam rollers are a great way to reduce soreness and speed up recovery.
8) Refuel Your Body
Although a pre-workout snack may be optional, a post-workout snack is definitely essential to give your body the fuel it needs to recover after a workout. After sweating it out, your body needs carbohydrates and protein to replenish glycogen stores and rebuild your muscles. Therefore, it’s important to always refuel your body with the nutrition it needs after a workout. Some great options for a post-workout snack include: a smoothie or shake, fresh fruit, energy bars, raw nuts and trail mix, hummus, veggie wraps, and simple sandwiches.
9) Track Your Workouts
Tracking your workouts and the progress you make provides several benefits to your overall workout routine. It’s a great way to keep you committed to your workout plans, hold yourself accountable for reaching and surpassing your goals, allow you to be more efficient with your time, and provide you the opportunity to make any modifications. It also helps to drive motivation and track your progress towards your goals. Each week, you can look back at the workouts your performed and determine whether you need to go harder or slow it down to meet both your goals and the needs of your body. You can also look back at the progress you made and give yourself a high five for being so consistent with your routine.
10) Indulge in Self-Care
Last but not least, always be sure to prioritize your self-care. Both your mind and body need time to rest, repair, and rebuild in order to continue being successful with your workouts and overall fitness routine. What you do to take care of yourself after a workout is just as important as how hard you push yourself while exercising. So, whether you’re taking a warm bath to soothe your muscles, going on a walk to get some fresh air, or simply taking a break to destress, self-care works to replenish and nourish your body, so you come back more motivated and energized for your next workout. Prioritizing yourself and your needs will go a long way in having a strong, healthy, and balanced lifestyle.
11) Get Extra Support From LiveWell
Do you need extra support with establishing a workout plan and wellness routine that will have you crushing all of your workouts? What about strategies to ensure a well-balanced lifestyle in terms of exercise, physical therapy, and wellbeing? Here at LiveWell, we have the experience, tools, and techniques to bring your health, body, and mind to where it needs to be. Head to our website to learn more about our services or contact us today to get started on your fitness journey!
The health and safety of our patients are always our top priority. So, if you need extra support in enhancing your health and wellness, our team of professionals can help bring your physical and mental health to its full potential. Contact us today to book an appointment at our Lancaster, Waterloo, Driftwood, or Baden locations.
Want more lifestyle advice on how to improve your health and wellness? Contact our LiveWell Health and Physiotherapy Kitchener (Lancaster and Driftwood), Baden, or Waterloo teams for more information and to book your next appointment. You can also reach out to us by email or social media, and one of our team members will be more than happy to answer any of your questions! All of our practitioners have tips and expert guidance to help improve your health and overall quality of your life.