Doing an appropriate workout that is in harmony with our abilities, readiness, and preferences is very important – it’s what makes positive results visible and helps our overall health. Still, it’s not the only thing to pay attention to – your pre and post-workout routines are equally important in order to prepare your body for the strenuous exercise and to help it recover properly after the workout is done. So, here’s what you should avoid doing and what you shouldn’t ever skip.

Pre-workout routine

Do’s

1. Have plenty of rest – don’t do exercises if you are exhausted – you’ll increase the risk of getting yourself injured. Have a good night’s sleep because you need both your body rested and your mind sharp for the workout.

2. Eat a light snack – no way you can pull off a complete workout on an empty stomach. Even though you shouldn’t go too far with eating prior to the exercise, a little energy boost is needed to help your muscles. A banana with a bit of peanut butter is a great way to prepare for the strain.

3. Warm-up and stretch – you should spend around 10 minutes on warming up your body. Light jogging and stretching will prepare your muscles for what is to come. It’s the same thing as with a rubber band – you muscles are tight and they could snap easily if you don’t warm them up properly. If you increase the range of your motions during the warm-up, it will make you able to activate more muscles during the workout.

4. Drink up – you need to drink at least a big glass of water before the workout starts. It will increase the hydration, make your performance better and it can even speed up the digestion.

Don’t

1. Overeating – this is the quickest way to cause muscle cramping, nausea, and vomiting. Don’t eat more than your regular meal amount.

2. No proteins and fat – both of them need time to digest, and you don’t want to cause stomach problems during the workout. Avoid them at least two hours before the workout, and you’ll satisfy your need for proteins after the workout.

3. No fibers – fibers slow down gastric emptying and make you feel bloated. If your workout is intensive, you’ll probably have to interrupt it to visit the toilet.

Post-workout routine

Do’s

1. Have a big meal – this meal should consist of proteins and carbs, but try to make it one of your three main meals of the day, depending on when you do your workout routine. If you usually opt for several small meals throughout the day instead of three big ones, then have a blended protein shake or some fruits and vegetables instead.

2. Take carbs – if you have done an intensive cardio, you need glycogen afterward, so help your body replenish them by taking simple carbs that are digested quickly and won’t be stored as fat. Low glycemic carbs are slow to digest and are good for usual activities during the day, but you need a quick absorption, so simple carbs are a better option after the workout.

3. Take protein – whether you did cardio or resistance, you need to help your body replace and repair damaged muscle proteins – this phenomenon is called “microtrauma”, meaning microscopic tears in the muscle tissue. The body reacts to the strain by rebuilding the damaged tissues and making them stronger for the next time, but it needs proteins that have the essential role in muscle tissue building. There are very effective protein sources like whey concentrate that speed up recovery and improves muscle strength, and protein shakes that are easily digested, you just need to decide which one suits you most.

Don’ts

1. Miss stretching – Your body needs some time to cool down, and stretching is the best way to relax your muscles gradually. The worst thing you can do is to abruptly finish the exercise and take a rest – your muscles could start cramping or become sore. Whatever stretching routine you used in your warm-up, used it at the end of the workout, too.

2. Forget to hydrate – You probably sweat a lot during the workout, but even if you didn’t, you need to drink a lot of water – it will replenish fluid you lost through your sweat, prevent soreness and help your brain function better.

All in all

As much as a regular and appropriate workout is important to our bodies and fitness, all the steps before and after it are equally important – making all of them is what makes the difference between successful outcomes and weak results.