Whether you have committed to a membership or you are on a gym day pass, going to the gym to train is a rewarding experience, not only for your body but for your mind too.
Strengthening your muscles as well as enjoying the sociability aspect of the gym are just two of the benefits you can indulge in. Many people train hard, and they train regularly but not many avid gym goers know how to get the best out of their sessions. What you do before your workouts, during and after can have a profound effect on your performance and recovery.
Want to know how to get the full benefits out of your training? Here’s how…
Make sure you have a good meal at least an hour before you train. You should make sure you include some slow digesting carbohydrates such as oats or sweet potatoes and a protein source to fuel your muscles. Slow digesting carbs will keep you fuller for longer as well as delivering a sustained release of energy – just what you need!
Warming up is something so many people neglect or can’t be bothered to do. Take the time to do 5 minutes steady state cardio before you embark on any gym session. This will warm up your muscles pre-conditioning them for training. Always perform a warm up set of any resistance exercise with little to no weight to stretch your muscles.
Ensuring you stay well hydrated throughout your workout is a must or you can run the risk of becoming dehydrated and lethargic. Supplement with branch chain amino acids (BCAAS) these usually come in powder form so you can simply add a scoop to your water. BCAAs are the building blocks of the body and will help to protect your muscles while you train, aid in repair as well as helping to combat muscle soreness.
After you have trained, your muscles will be aching from the microscopic tears caused by the resistance training. In order for these muscle fibres to heal and grow back stronger, they need an ample supply of protein. Protein is vital for building and repairing muscle.
Your bodies preferred source of energy is glycogen and the majority of this comes from the carbohydrates you consume.
After you have trained your body is craving more glycogen to replenish its stores, this is why sometimes you may feel light headed after a hard workout. Give your body some clean, fast acting carbohydrates such as dextrose.
Next time you go to the gym to train, adopt the above methods to optimise your workouts and you will soon notice the difference!
I must admit I am guilty of skimping on warm ups. I just do a few dynamic stretches for 1 minute, then I'm off. I will spend at least 5 minutes on the cool down though. That's the nice bit!