Essential Exercise & Fitness Tips
For those beginners or even the seasoned veterans who need a refresher. Here are some essential exercise and fitness tips for before, during and after your workout.
Before Your Workout
Listen to Your Body... Any strains, pains or aches from previous training days need to be looked at. It's better to have a lighter workout or rest day than a 4 week injury.
Carb Load... Should your next routine be a vigorous one then fuel up on carbohydrate for the extra energy you'll need.
Let Your Stomach Settle... Make sure any pre-workout meal is eaten at least an hour preferably 2 hours before your workout.
Check Equipment... If you run and your shoes are worn out buy new ones, if you lift weights ensure the weights are secure.
Get a Training Partner... This will make your workout more enjoyable, you've got someone to challenge you and for weight training a spotter.
Warm Up... Prepare the specific muscles you'll be using for the activity ahead. If it's running then jog for 10 mins. If it's weight training then do some light reps.
Stretch... Some fitness routines have specific stretches you can do to prepare your body for the range of motion ahead. Stretching will also help prevent injury.
During Your Workout
Keep Hydrated... Especially in the gym or on a hot day, you'll need far more than the recommended 8 by 8 ounces. Drink often and use your thirst as a gauge.
Use Sports/ Carb Drinks... For workouts longer than 45 minutes your body will need some of it's energy replaced.
Use Good Technique... In whatever you do, this will allow you to get the most out of your fitness efforts.
Listen to Your Body... How you feel is paramount, is your workout easier or harder than normal? Feel free to adapt. Also watch for any aches and pains particularly those in the chest area.
Use a Heart Rate Monitor... For cardiovascular fitness it's the ultimate tool to gauge your intensity and progress and it never lies! For resistance training use it to see that the body is fully rested between sets.
Enjoy It... Whatever activity you do, whether it's your great ability! or the competing, get something out of it.
Vary Your Routine... Vary the intensity, time and location. Explore your potential for the activity.
After Your Workout
Cool Down... Your muscles and cardiovascular system need a gradual slow down. Take 10 minutes at 20% intensity of the activity you've just done.
Massage & Spa... This helps any tired and aching muscles by clearing lactic acid and speeds recovery.
Record Your Progress... Keep track of what you do to train for a competition or just to record your achievements.
Listen to Your Body... Always! Get use to how your body feels post workout so you can distinguish between an ache and something more serious.
Increase Protein Intake... Especially after a hard workout particularly resistance training. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and your body needs lots of it.
Rest at Least One Day a Week... Even elite athletes do so even though current health recommendations advise daily workouts. It's during rest that your body can fully repair itself, then it make's itself stronger. Ready for when you next give it some punishment!