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5 Ways to Improve Your Workouts
5 Things to Avoid Before Exercise

5 Things to Avoid Before Exercise

What you do BEFORE exercising, can determine if your workout is good, bad or only OK. For the best results, you don't want to just show up. Prepare yourself by knowing what to do and what to avoid. Here are five things you should definitely avoid.

Don't workout on an empty stomach, if possible. When people who exercised on an empty stomach were compared to those who ate a small meal first, there were no differences in what either of them used for energy. Contrary to what may fitness writers claim, you will not burn more fat on an empty stomach.

People who ate breakfast before they exercised were the fittest. Here's why. Eating breakfast gives you energy. You need energy to get through a workout. Eating a small breakfast, 30 minutes to an hour and a half before exercise gives you the energy to push harder and get through a more intense workout.

Don't do High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) or "Intervals" before lifting weights. If you're trying to warm up, a five or ten minute session of traditional "steady state" cardio is fine to prepare the muscles. But HIIT cardio can seriously deplete your strength and actually interfere with the anabolic or muscle building process.

If you really need to do cardio and strength training workouts together on the same day, split them up. Do one type of exercise (cardio or weights) first thing in the morning. Then, after your body has had time to recover, (8 hours or more) go back and do the other type of exercise.

Don't stop for alcohol before you visit the gym. Besides the obvious risk of you showing up drunk, alcohol can impair your judgment. Alcohol can also hurt hydration levels, screw up your balance and cause you to feel sluggish.

Caffeine drinks before cardio are a problem as well. When subjects took in just 200 mg. of caffeine, blood flow to the heart DECREASED by 39% during exercise. Since the purpose of cardio exercise is to INCREASE blood flow to the heart, taking caffeine before a cardio routine may actually be detrimental to a good workout.

Other drinks to avoid include regular (full sugar) soda and fruit juice. The sugars can cause your insulin to spike, and then crash during a workout. Dairy drinks can be problematic for those with lactose intolerance. Water before a workout is the safest bet.

Don't do static stretches before a workout. Studies show it can reduce both your strength and power. There is also no evidence to suggest that athletes who do static stretches will reduce the risk of injury.

Consider dynamic stretches or using a foam roller to engage in fascia stretching. Dynamic stretches increase blood flow so your muscles are better able to work. Fascia stretching has been shown to reduce pain in 94% of patients who suffered from chronic plantar fasciitis and it helps people who have Iliotibial band syndrome. Fascia stretching has also been shown to help alleviate pain in connecting muscles and joints. When pain is decreased, workouts tend to be more effective.

Don't keep doing the same workout you've always done. It's boring, it increases your risk of repetitive stress injuries and after awhile, it'll stop producing results.

If you don't know how to build a program that keeps your body challenged, hire a professional to do it for you. Good personal trainers will conduct an interview to learn your goals while performing some basic tests to evaluate your strengths and weaknesses. Then they can take that information to build a routine that's appropriate for you.

Don't settle for a program written on paper with nothing more than the names of exercises. Look for trainers that can push workouts to your smartphone, tablet or computer. You should be able to track what you're doing and watch videos on proper form and technique when you don't understand something. Revisit the trainer once every few weeks to keep refreshing your program.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.

10/25/2015