GUEST POST BY LUKE DOUGLAS OF RIPPEDME
Once you have your fitness battle plan taken care of (aka your workout routine), it seems that everything is downhill from there. However, a single misstep in your workout preparation, and you’ll quickly find out what it feels like to fail miserably and miss a perfect opportunity to advance towards your fitness goals.
From one fitness enthusiast to another, here’s a checklist of your must-have prerequisites for a successful day at the gym and a perfect way to build a solid habit out of every segment of your fitness lifestyle.
Make sure you get plenty of zzz’s
Healthy sleep, or a lack thereof, is an essential factor in your athletic performance on a day-to-day basis, and sleep deprivation can have a whole slew of negative effects on your long-term wellbeing. As your average Joe needs a solid 8-hour-long sleep each night for optimal functioning, you can imagine that prolonged effort will require extra downtime for your body to replenish its energy levels and recover.
That is why the first and foremost step in your prepping procedure should be quality, uninterrupted sleep prior to your workout, and at least two or three rest days per week for proper muscle and CNS recovery.
Fuel up on healthy foods
No matter what your goals are, burning fat, building muscle, growing strength, or any combination of the listed, your body needs adequate quantity and quality of your every meal, including your pre-workout dish. However, depending on your dietary requirements and the aforementioned goals, you can tailor your menu to best suit your needs.
For instance, munching on complex carbs about an hour before your weightlifting session can help your body regulate your blood sugar levels properly and provide you with just enough energy to storm through your session with best results possible. Check out these 99 pre-workout snacks for inspiration.
Pack the right gear
As tempting as it may be to choose your training shorts and tees based only on their coolness levels, professional athletes might have a thing or two to say about how the right pair of lifting shoes and a comfortable tank top can make or break your PR for the day.
So, before you set your mind on that cool nylon tracksuit, make sure that your fitness clothing is actually designed to serve its purpose and make your workout comfortable, effective and healthy for your skin. No amount of non-breathable, yet fashionable fabrics can make up for the chafing and unpleasant odours that will ensue quickly after you step foot on the treadmill.
Workout Preparation: Stay hydrated
Gulping on a gallon of water just before your workout won’t make up for days without proper hydration, so if you want to prep, then prep well, which means you’ll need a solid hydrating routine, just like with maintaining a sleeping schedule.
For your body to be fully prepared for an intense workout, you will need to drink plenty of water before and during your workout, to avoid dehydration and all the potential health issues that can follow, and of course, just like a healthy meal is a must after an intense training session, you’ll need to fill up on plain water as well as electrolytes.
Warm up your mind muscle
In addition to your standard warm-up routine which should already be established as a part of your workout split, experiments with some of the world’s most successful athletes have shown that using mental imagery can enhance your ability to perform well. But even if you’re a novice, there’s no reason to skip on this incredible mental technique to improve your physical abilities.
All it takes is flexing your mind muscle properly – use your imagination to activate all of your senses and walk yourself through the motion of your perfect conventional deadlift or your swift mawashi-geri spin kick, and you will slowly forge a stronger mind-muscle connection, boost your confidence and help your body react much faster and better to the expected stimulus. Can’t you just feel your grip tighten around cold iron, the smell of chalk, and your heartbeat racing towards a deep belly breath?
As much as your workout depends on a carefully-chosen split and dedication, pro athletes and versed fitness enthusiasts know the value of all the work they invest into their lifestyle, including these commonly overlooked habits that often include a learning curve and plenty of ongoing adjustments. Build your performance on a foundation of long-term healthy choices, and you can expect a soaring, lifelong gym career.
Luke is a fitness and health blogger at Ripped.me and a great fan of the gym and a healthy diet. He follows the trends in fitness, gym and healthy life and loves to share his knowledge through useful and informative articles.