Everybody loves a part 2, right?
Good! Because this time, I’m flipping the script with more things not to do BEFORE your workout in preparation for an all-out war against yourself.
Oh, and if you missed part 1, here’s a link to the first 6 things you should look to avoid AFTER your workout https://darkhorserowing.com/six-things-not-to-do-after-a-workout/
It’s the little things that count, right?
Now I’m clearly not advocating putting things off that really should be done, however, if you’re like me and the last thing you read and didn’t respond to is going to sit on your mind when you head out the door, well guess what I’m thinking of for the next 45-90 minutes!
One of the best tips I ever got from my swimming coach was to spend the time behind the start line visualising the race and what each length is going to look like.
Take that to training and that 10-minute car journey to the gym is the perfect place to do exactly this – just make sure you keep your eyes on the traffic!
2. Eating too close to go time.
Okay, this one is a little obvious, but I can guarantee we’ve all done it at some point!
We can all be guilty of this in an age where constraints on our time are plentiful; however, it’s important to remember that one hour rule is there for a reason.
Physiologically you have that time to allow your body to do what it needs with the food you are putting in because as soon as you start exercising, your body will divert blood from the digestive system to the muscles you are using.
Top tip: if you are pushed for time and have to eat, reduce the amount you are putting in, do the workout, and then resume eating once you have your breath back!
3. Drinking too much.
Wait a minute. I thought I was meant to be hydrated prior to exercise.
Well, if you’ve ever had the sloshing sensation or if you’ve ever heard that liquid moving around, I can promise you, you’ve prob cut it a little too fine.
Drinking a huge amount immediately before you start a workout isn’t going to help hydrate you, and it’s too late (for the reasons in point 2 around blood redirection) for your body to do anything other than make you need a restroom break as soon as you move.
Top tip: if you know your training time, try and set an alarm for 30 minutes prior to embarking so this becomes the final point you take on fluids and give your body a chance to do what it needs.
4. Static stretching.
Another oldie but still one of those things you see when you’re at competitions or scrolling social media.
Good old static stretches before you work out are seen across the sporting world as contributors to slower starts and a higher perceived effort.
If you need to do some range of movement activities as part of your warm-up, make sure they are dynamic, and you gently allow your body to increase that muscle’s pliability before you hit go gradually.
5. Forgetting the restroom.
We’ve all been there; you’ve dialed in your nutrition and hydration strategies, got your race plan all memorised, and even put together the perfect playlist, but then it hits you that moment of panic you really don’t need as you’re hitting full stride.
I know it sounds silly, and having someone remind you to go to the restroom is something we all feel like we’ve grown out of; however, it can happen to us all, so make sure you address it before it becomes an issue.
Top tips: Learn to listen to your body and the time of day you need a bathroom break. If you can learn to do this, then you can schedule your training accordingly and hopefully avoid any unnecessary “issues” as you go.
6. Certain food types.
We’re certainly not here to tell you what foods to or not to have prior to training, but from experience, there are certain foods that are best avoided. These include:
This isn’t an exhaustive list, and we hope that most of you are aware of the pitfalls associated with the consumption of these foods prior to working out.
Needless to say, just like point three, learning to listen to your body and what it likes/dislikes prior to training is a really powerful tool to have in your back pocket as you start to take things more seriously with your overall health.
Top tip: If you are starting a new routine or just curious about the effects things have, start creating a food diary, noting not only the food type but also the quantity and timings of the foods consumed as well as the feeling it has on you at the beginning, middle, and end of a workout.
There you have it!
How to set yourself a winning strategy for any workout and the perfect way of being ready to go not ready to blow as that workout progresses!
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