Getting ready to hit the gym for an intense, fast paced workout session? Or, maybe you have an easy day planned – you’re doing arms and are looking forward to the relaxed nature that comes with this day’s session.
Whatever the case happens to be, preparing for the gym is always a must. Those who take the time to complete a few steps will almost always see better results than those who don’t.
The pre-workout period is a time to prepare the body for the exercise that’s about to go down and when done right, it’ll not only help you enjoy your session more, but also maximize the progress you make.
Too many people in their busy fast-paced life just head straight for the gym without giving it much thought; a practice that will surely lead to mediocre results over time.
So let’s dive in and go over five things you must be doing pre-workout in order to see optimal progress.
Get Your Gym Gear Lined Up
The first step is making sure that your gym gear is lined up and ready to go. You may have one bag that you keep all your gym necessities in and just haul that to the gym each and every day or perhaps you take whatever it is you need that day.
Take five minutes and make sure that you have all the tools and resources you’re going to need to complete all the exercises you have planned.
How many times have you found yourself in the gym without your headphones for instance? While this may seem like a minor nuisance, do not discount the effect your favorite music can have on your workout performance.
For many people, music is what helps push them through. That max set you planned to go for may be out of the question without your music keeping you focused, motivated, and ready to give it your all.
One study published in the Journal of Sport Behavior noted that when subjects were exposed to preferred music selection during exercise, they were not only able to increase their total maximum effort, but their level of perceived exertion also decreased1. Basically, you can go harder without feeling like you’re doing as much work.
Likewise, if it’s leg day and you happen to forget your squat shoes, this may call for you to do a different body part that day entirely, totally throwing off your entire split.
It’s easy to skip this thinking you have exactly what you need, but it’s worth the extra effort to be 100% sure.
Mix A Pre-Workout Drink
Next, you’ll want to mix yourself a pre-workout drink. Having a good pre-workout supplement on hand is one of the most critical steps you must take to ensure that you are continually making progress.
What will the best pre workout supplement help out with?
First, look forward to greater energy. Many pre-workout supplements contain caffeine, which is a natural energy booster that will allow you to go harder for longer2. Not into stimulants? No problem. You can also find a wide array of non-stimulant pre workouts that contain a combination of herbs and vitamins designed to give your energy a boost.
Many of the top pre workout supplements also contain nitric oxide or another vasodilator, which dilates the blood vessels and allows for a greater passage of oxygen, blood, and nutrients to the muscle cells.
Not only will the increased muscle pump help you stay more motivated with your workout sessions, but this can also boost strength and endurance, along with eliminating lactic acid development, preventing that burning sensation from setting in.
This in return may allow you to complete more reps per set, thus increasing your progress and muscle gains.
In addition to that, you’ll also notice less muscle soreness and enhanced recovery thanks to the increased flow of oxygen and nutrients to the muscle tissues. They’ll have everything they need to begin the repair and recovery process as you’re stepping foot outside of the gym.
Many pre workout energy drinks also contain ingredients that assist with the fat loss process as well. They may help raise your resting metabolic rate, allowing you to burn more calories all day long, improve the rate in which your body releases fatty acids from the fat cells, as well as improve the ability of your body to utilize fatty acids as fuel.
If you are seeking enhanced body composition results, know that the top pre workout powder can help.
For optimal results, you’ll generally want to take your pre workout supplement about 30 minutes or so prior to hitting the gym.
Watch A Motivational Video
To help get your mind in the zone, consider watching a motivational video. This could be a video of someone who inspires you doing his or her own workout or talking about exercise in general.
Or, you may watch previous videos of yourself hitting your personal bests and re-experience the feeling that goes along with it. This will get you ‘hungry’ to achieve that level again.
You might think that if you’re naturally motivated and don’t really ever have a problem sticking to your workout routine that you can bypass this step. However, even those people can still use a motivational boost now and then.
The point of this is to get your brain turned off of all your day-to-day activities and onto gym activities instead. When you hit the gym ready to focus on your task at hand, rather than distracted with everything else that’s going on, you are naturally going to see better results.
Go Over Your Goals For That Workout
The fourth step to take is to go over your goals for that workout session. Don’t ever hit the gym before you have set up what you want to achieve. These ‘mini goals’ keep you focused and driven and when you reach them, you’ll leave feeling accomplished.
It only takes a minute to do in the pre workout period, but it’s perhaps the most important minute of all.
You want this goal to be something that you can reasonably accomplish and something that’s very measurable.
Think adding one extra rep over last workout’s set on the bench press or adding five more pounds to your squat for three reps.
Small but attainable goals will add up and that’s what helps you make great progress.
Do A Quick Warm-Up
Finally, don’t forget to do a brief warm-up. This portion of the pre workout routine will typically happen while you’re at the gym and should last five to ten minutes.
It’s tempting to just rush right into it, heading straight for your first exercise without much thought to the warm-up. This may be fine some days, but eventually you’ll wind up injured. There’s also a very good chance that you won’t feel as strong doing this as you would if you were loosening up the joints, getting blood flowing to the muscles, and elevating your energy level.
So keep these pre workout tasks in mind. When you have mind, body and pre workout supplements covered, you know you are headed into what will become a fantastic workout session.
- Karageorghis, Costas I., and Peter C. Terry. “The psychophysical effects of music in sport and exercise: A review.” Journal of Sport Behavior 20.1 (1997): 54
- Del Coso, Juan, et al. “Effects of a caffeine-containing energy drink on simulated soccer performance.” PloS one 7.2 (2012): e31380