You’re following your exercise plan to the tee and putting your best foot forward with nutrition, but you just don’t feel like you’re getting the results you’re after. Sound familiar?
Working out is only one link in the chain when it comes to getting into shape. There are many extra factors that play a part in achieving your ultimate health and fitness goals.
Before you start claiming that “it’s just NOT working!”, read our checklist of what you must do pre and post workout to get the best results from your training.
Before a workout
Without a workout session plan, how can you consider a workout successful? Plan out each of your training sessions so you know exactly what you need to do.
List out exercises, how many reps/sets, what equipment you’ll need and the timings.
Aim to review these exercise the night before you train so they are familiar on the day. When you have a plan, you can follow a structure, check each activity off as you go and there’ll be no excuses for wasting time thinking about your next exercise!
Your body needs energy (food) to perform at its best. Fuel up within an hour of your workout with a high protein + carb snack.
If you workout first thing in the morning and feel OK exercising with any empty tummy, go for it! If you need a bit of sustenance, snack on a banana and a small glass of milk.
As a general rule, drink at least 1 glass of water 30 mins before every workout to keep your muscles hydrated and performing at their best throughout the session.
Using a foam roller before you train can be a game-changer for your results. Rolling out different muscle areas releases the fascia surrounding the muscles, increasing mobility.
It also increases blood flow to the area, reducing tension and allowing more effective muscle activation. Better muscle activation = greater results!
Mobilise + active warm up
Warming up effectively is super important to allow your body to perform at its best. Include dynamic warm up exercises like easy walking lunges, slow squats, leg swings, back twists, shoulder and hip circles. Spend 10 mins before a workout gently performing these exercises to ease your body into the workout.
After a workout:
Write down how you went after each workout. For cardio sessions, track your time, distance and HR. For strength training, write down your weights, sets and reps.
Keeping a close eye on your progress will help you identify any problem areas and is a fantastic tool for motivation. Seeing progress in your key metrics will help spur you on!
Spend at least 10 mins after each session stretching. It’s useful to start from your head and work your way down the body releasing each of the major muscle groups (see these great stretch sequences).
This allows your body a chance to cool down gradually, whilst allowing blood to continue to flow to your exerted muscles, minimising muscle soreness. It’s also the perfect chance to reflect on your session, mentally noting what you did well and where you could improve.
If you’ve had a sweaty cardio session, aim to drink at least 1L of water for every hour of exercise. If you’ve done a lower intensity strength session, re-hydrate your muscles with at least two glasses of water post workout.
Eating a nutrient-dense meal within two hours after exercise will optimise your training results and make a huge difference to how you feel and recover.
Better still, having a protein based snack within 20 mins of strength training will ensure optimal uptake for muscle repair and a carb based snack after cardio training to replenish muscle glycogen.
Check out these post workout ideas to refuel after cardio and strength sessions.
This one is often overlooked, but allowing your body enough time to restore and rejuvenate after each training session is crucial for achieving your desired outcome; be it weight loss, improved fitness and strength or muscle building.
Getting enough sleep will also help to fend off those little sweet food cravings that can often pop up when you’re tired!