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3 Things You Should Never Do Before You Work Out

The “Con” Fitness Plan


There are plenty of articles out there on what you SHOULD do before a workout, like what you should eat and which vitamins or supplements you should take. You may take all of this advice and execute a nutrient diet plan with a great workout schedule and feel on track. But you may not even realize you are doing things you SHOULD NOT do before a workout. Getting moderate exercise in at least 30 minutes a day is necessary in preventing health complications, like arthritis, obesity and incontinence. So absorbing every little tip of workout knowledge can make a big difference.


Avoiding these three things before a workout will enable you to meet your fitness goals and live the healthy lifestyle you desire.


1. Avoid Stretching Before a Workout


Your high school gym teacher may disagree with this concept, but health studies agree that stretching before a workout is not effective. In fact it can be quite counterproductive. Many people believe that stretching is the same thing as warming up. This is a common misconception. When you stretch, your heart rate is still low and your body remains at it’s stagnant temperature. This is called stretching a “cold” muscle. Stretching a “cold” muscle can lead to injuries, like pulls and strains. It can also decrease the strength in the muscles you have stretched when you are exercising.


Instead of stretching before a workout, do a real warm-up. Warm-ups consist of light cardio, like walking before you run the treadmill. Or slowly biking before you hit the cycling class. This actually warms your muscles up, which readies your body for a more intense exercise. Your blood gets moving, your breathing rate is faster and more controlled, and your heart rate increases, providing your body with the nutrients and oxygen it needs to meet your fitness goals. Warm ups lubricate your joints as well.


So stretching before a workout is not the greatest idea. Your not providing the strength and preparation your body needs for a proper exercise. Stretch your exhausted muscles after you exercise, during your cool down. If you want to get the most out of your fitness training, warm-up before you workout.


2. Avoid Stress Before a Workout


This one might be easier said than done. Your life may be filled with stress and it’s impossible to avoid. But if you can avoid a specifically stressful situation before a workout, then you’ll get the best results.


Stress induces hormones and chemicals in your body that have negative impacts on your muscles. When you are stressed out, your body releases heightened levels of cortisol. Cortisol maintains your blood flow, heart rate, immune responses and many other things your body needs to stay healthy. But if you are stressed out too much, your cortisol functions will fatigue and not function properly.


Dysfunctional cortisol levels will break down your muscle tissue which leads to decreased muscle mass. You will feel more fatigued, especially in the morning and mid-afternoon, your thyroid functions will dampen, and it can impair your cognitive performance. Too much stress can also lead to increased abdominal fat.


Again, while avoiding stress may be easier said than done, try to avoid a stressful situation right before a workout. Some people think if they deal with a confrontational situation, they can take out their stress through a good workout. While working out is better than hitting the bottle when dealing with painful situations, significant negative aspects can come from a high stress workout. Try dealing with a stressful situation after your workout if you want to maintain your fitness goals. Your body will be more relaxed, your blood will be flowing from your brain and heart giving you a clear sense of mind, and you will be able to handle things much better.


3. Avoid a Cat Nap before a Workout


Cat naps aren’t like regular naps. Have you ever been around a cat? They can sleep for days on end.


Working all day can be exhausting. After work you may want to come home and just collapse on the couch because you can’t reach the bed. And even though work is tough, you still want to meet your fitness goals. Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. Take your nap! But not for too long.


Studies show that taking a short 20 – 30 minute power nap can increase your energy and focus. You need to relieve your mind and body from the stress of a long day and a short nap can do that. But studies also show that a nap any longer than 30 minutes will have the opposite effect. You will be even more tired than you were before your nap.


So if you want to meet your fitness and career goals without keeling over, go ahead and take a nap. A short nap will recharge your batteries and get you energized for a great workout. Avoid those temptingly warm cat naps and take a strengthening power nap instead!


If you DO NOT implement these three things before your workout, you’re going to see awesome results. So avoid stretching, stress, and catnaps before a workout to have a fitness plan your friends will be jealous of.

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