Here’s list of the 7 most common mistakes you’re making before the gym – and solutions to help you make the most of your next sweat sesh.
Mistake #1: Overeating. Crushing a workout after a heavy meal is nearly impossible. You’re uncomfortable, your stomach is working too hard and you feel too massive for peak performance.
Solution: Give yourself a two-hour window between a big meal and a workout. This will give your body enough time to digest your food, store some energy and prepare for exercise. Plus you’ll feel better so you’ll work harder. Easy win.
Mistake #2: Undereating. Sure, fasted workouts feel great. You’re light, you’re quick, you feel like a jacked gazelle… and then you crash. And overeat when you get home. And feel like a sore, chubby slug.
Solution: Plan a pre-workout snack. Have an apple with nut butter, yogurt with berries, or rice and a protein just long enough before you exercise to digest it, store some glycogen and fuel your workout. You’ll be satiated enough to avoid overeating later and have the energy to bust out your reps.
Mistake #3: Too much or not enough sleep. When you don’t sleep enough, you feel tired. And when you sleep too much, you feel tired! It’s science. Either way, tiredness is one of the primary detriments to a productive workout. You need enough rest to recover but not so much that you get lethargic.
Solution: Turn off the tv, set “Do Not Disturb” hours on your phone and hit the hay. We all need different amounts of sleep to feel our best, and any deviation from your natural sleep rhythm can cause fatigue. Establishing a sleep schedule is a requisite for maximizing your time in the gym.
Mistake #4: Energy drinks. You needed a pre-workout pick-me-up so you slammed an energy drink. You’re flying high on taurine, B vitamins, guarana, ginseng, ginkgo biloba, l-carnitine, sugars, antioxidants and a few other things you can’t pronounce until you’re too in-the-clouds to really focus on your workout.
Solution: Try a cup of coffee instead. It’s cheaper, it’s cleaner, and it contains around 150mg of caffeine to give you a pre-workout boost without the post-workout chemical dump. Or try a scoop of Clearly Caffeine – our naturally-flavored caffeine powder – with no calories, no coloring, no added stimulants, just clean caffeine. Mix it with water and you’re ready to shreddy.
Mistake #5: Dehydration. You bought the gallon jug but quit sippin’ halfway through. You sweat like a faucet and didn’t replenish the well. You threw up during Murph and went straight to bed…again. Maintaining proper hydration can be a chore but it’s essential. Period.
Solution: Drink.more.water. Buy a water bottle you like and keep it full of high-quality H2O. (Tap is good, too.) Set a daily water intake goal, hit it, and do it again the next day. Start your day with a glass of the good stuff and don’t stop till you’ve had enough. The amount of water you need each day depends on a few variables, but try hitting (a minimum of) .5oz per pound of bodyweight in a day and see how you feel. Staying hydrated will help maximize your physical performance, lubricate your joints, boost your immune system -- the list of benefits is endless -- and it’s crucial in powering through any training session.
Mistake #6: Half-ass warm ups. Warming up is the first thing to go when we’re short on time. You snoozed your alarm and now you’re rushed, so you do a couple high knees and get after it. Wrong.
Solution: Prep your mind and muscles. Even if you only have time for a walk around the block and a modified activation circuit, do it. Warming up is imperative to physical exercise. It opens up your blood vessels, increases circulation, lubricates your joints, reminds your brain how to move your body and prevents injury like nothing else.
Mistake #7: Thinking you “have to” workout. You woke up in a funk. You tell yourself you have to work out even though today is the day thrusters might kill you. You slog to the gym with a defeatist attitude, and the workout defeats you. But your mindset won the race before you tied your shoes.
Solution: Change “I have to” into “I get to.” It’s not every day that you wake up as a weightlifting machine, and your athleticism won’t last forever. Take advantage of it! If you woke up this morning, you have the opportunity to get better. Don’t let it go to waste. Envision yourself with your hand raised in victory and show up accordingly. You don’t have to work out. You get to.
Stay positive. Stay humble. Stay hungry. And prepare to kill your next workout.
C&K All Day