It’s that time! You’ve been thinking about it, preparing for it,
getting excited for it…
You get inside your vehicle, the musics playing,
and you visualize your near future…
You take the short trip and adrenaline is flowing,
you see your destination and realize the next hour is going to be brutal.
It’s time… Gym time.
You may have been going to the gym for a few days, weeks, months, or even years… yet for some reason you have hit a wall. Whats going on?
Let me share with you some advice, these are things that you must do every time you workout for it to be effective and efficient. If you use these good habits, your strength, endurance, and overall health will shoot through the roof.
So let’s get started! My 5 Mandatory Habits That You Must Do In The Gym
1. Pre-Workout Meal
Why is taking some sort of a pre-workout crucial to muscle growth?
It’s simple, in order to grow, you must tear the muscle apart more than the previous workout. If your workout is less intense than previous ones, it makes sense as to why we don’t get stronger, have more endurance, or our health may not be up to par.
My recommendations for a pre-workout are below.
(Consume 45-90 minutes before working out)
A slice of toast with some fruit. These carbs are light on the stomach,
and give you a natural boost for your workout.
Smoothies are a popular choice as well. Mix your favorite fruit with some yogurt and some granola for a “kick” you wouldn’t believe!
Oatmeal with Fresh Fruit is the god of all pre-workout meals, because it sticks with you throughout your exercise.
Some people like to take some caffeine to wake them up, or a pre-workout drink is fine. (These foods will work just as well)
2. 5-10 minute warm up
This is important for the safety of your muscles. I won’t ever touch a dumbbell if I don’t do a 5-10 minute warm up on a bike or treadmill. This doesn’t mean walk in and turn into Lance Armstrong, just warm the muscles up. (ESPECIALLY important if the weather is cold out)
3. Dynamic Stretching, When and Why?
I love bringing up this topic, due to the fact that people are so uneducated on what to really do when it comes to stretching. So you’ve got your pre-workout meal down, your muscles are warmed up from the bike/treadmill so its time to go pick up some heavy weights right? NO…
Now its time to perform some dynamic stretching. This is when you look like a real athlete, so get comfortable jumping around a bit and don’t hold any stretch for longer than 3 seconds!
Arm circles are awesome. Lift your arms up at the height of your shoulders, and make a circular motion with them. Do 10 circles one way, then repeat in the opposite direction. Reach down to your toes and come back up slowly, do this 5 times but never stop moving.
This gets your blood flowing before you start lifting! Jumping jack or using a jump rope are perfect!
4) Proper Form- Focusing on the muscle
Gosh this is a touchy subject for some lifters. (I’m referring to the egotistic ones) Note: Just because you can lift heavy weight does not mean you are properly working out.
Form to Weight
So what is proper form? Well you want each rep to be challenging, and you must focus on the muscle at hand. For example Squats – You should count to three in your head while doing a rep, and then burst up with force. You want to be focusing all that weight on your quads, hamstrings, and calves. Try your hardest not to engage any other muscles in the exercise, so you can really get the job done the right way.
5. Post-Workout Meal
Did you know if you don’t consume 20-30 grams of protein at least an hour after your workout its POINTLESS? That’s right, your muscles were just torn apart and are practically begging you to help put them back together. They want to repair and grow stronger!
Here are some good choices to do after your sweat session.
Whole Wheat Tuna Fish, with lettuce and hummus. Low calorie, high in carbs, protein, and fiber! (Thank me later)
Chocolate Milk- Simple right? Well the protein and water will help replace any fluids lost, and you will recover faster and regain energy quick!
Salmon with Sweet Potato-Yum, gets me hungry just writing about it! Of course you’ve got your great source of protein, and in this form helps reduce inflammation. That means more joint support and regular insulin levels.
Don’t skip one of these steps! Apply them all and watch what happens to your performance in and out of the gym. Have fun!