It’s important to be focused and consistent during your workouts in order to achieve the best results. Building muscle, increasing stamina, losing weight or strengthening all take time and a clear set of goals to achieve the results you are looking for. But what if you’re doing everything right during your workouts and you’re still not getting the results you’d hoped for? It’s time to take a look at what you’re doing when you’re not working out to see if you’re self-sabotaging without even knowing it.
That “Because I Worked Out” treat gets out of hand. Having a reward for a job well done (you completed the 5K, met your target weight, or completed an advanced class) is one thing, but working out for the reward can do you in quickly. A planned treat here and there can be a great motivator, but when that’s all you’re using for an incentive, especially if the treat is food or drink, you may be cancelling out many of the benefits of working out.
No Pre-Workout or Post-Workout Snack. It may seem backwards, but eating before and after a workout will make for a better sweat session than if you haven’t eaten anything. The key here is to pick the right snack, for your body, for your particular workout and for your goals. Someone eating before a training session for a marathon is going to eat something very different than someone who is bodybuilding. The key is to make sure you’re eating before to give your body the right amount of fuel, and to eat after to help rebuild muscles with a combo of healthy carbs and protein. Also, don’t make the mistake of quelling your thirst with sports drinks. They have empty calories and most have a lot of unnecessary sugar.
You Stretch Before But Don’t Warm Up. Stretching your cold muscles will likely result in a painful pulled muscle. Instead of unnecessary stretching before your workout (but not after – it’s important to stretch when you’re done) make sure you give yourself a proper warmup. Walking before running, or doing an easier set of movements from your real workout will get those muscles warmed up and provide a mental transition from life to workout.
What you do during your time away from the gym is just as important for your fitness as the time you spend working out. Pay attention to your “off the court” habits to help you along your path to better health, and work on getting rid of any bad habits to help optimize the time you do spend completing your workout.