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The 4 Best and Worst Things You Can Do Before a Workout Session

Data shows that in 2019, 19.3% of the US population was engaged in some sort of physical activity on a daily basis. Many of these people attended the gym or did some other form of high-energy exercise. But not everyone is aware that some habits are harming your endurance and performance during your workout sessions. We are here to help you learn about these harmful things and inform you of other beneficial practices.

Bright Side would like to advise you on what things would make you more productive during your workouts in addition to what things can make them less successful.

1. DO: Consume baking soda.

Bicarbonate of soda isn’t only good for cooking, but scientists have proven for 80 years now that it can boost physical activity. It helps the muscles have more endurance, especially during high-intensity exercises that last anywhere between 1 and 7 minutes. It can be extremely beneficial for those who run, cycle, sprint, swim, and do other team sports.

You can consume a small amount of baking soda 60-180 minutes before your workout. If it creates stomach problems for you, you might need to decrease the dose. You can find baking soda in capsule or tablet form or simply take the usual powder.

2. DO: Take Beta-alanine.

This amino acid is responsible for increasing your endurance during short and high-intensity exercises. At the same time, it reduces fatigue, making you train a lot harder for longer. Scientists recommend people to consume 2-5 grams per day and take at least 0.5 grams of it before physical activity.

However, you won’t start seeing a huge difference in your endurance immediately. You will need to stick to your beta-alanine supplements for 4 weeks in order to start seeing a change. After 12 weeks, the effects of the amino acid reach their peak.

3. DO: Drink a nice cup of black coffee.

Caffeine has been proven to increase strength and improve performance, taking fatigue away and stimulating fat burning. It can be found in many forms, but before a workout, it’s best to have a cup of black coffee or at least a cup of caffeinated tea. Its great effects will be noticeable 90 minutes before starting your workout, but you can have some coffee even 15-20 minutes before hitting the gym. Of course, there are supplements you can take, but going with the most natural option might be best.

4. DO: Take a brief nap.

Naps are very important for professional athletes and those who train on a daily basis. During workout days, it’s best to schedule 20-minute naps, and during off days, you can enjoy a 90-minute nap. The shorter naps will energize you as needed and won’t make you feel groggy like a long nap would. The best time slot for taking a nap is between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. since it’s in the middle of the day and doesn’t interfere with your night’s sleep.

5. DON’T: Do some cardio before lifting weights.

Now, this depends on what your end goal is and whether you want to lose weight or increase your strength and endurance. But in most cases, doing cardio after strength training is better and more beneficial. Whether you want to increase your strength, burn fat, or work on your upper and lower body, cardio should always come second. Starting with cardio before weights is ideal only when your goal is to increase your endurance.

6. DON’T: Drink energy drinks.

Many people use supplements and energy drinks in their workout routine, and that’s absolutely wonderful. However, if it’s the first time you’re trying something out, take a small dose and see how your stomach receives it. It’s best to try it not before your workout, but at another time during the day when you won’t fear potential stomach issues. If they make you feel all right, then you can start taking them before working out for better results.

7. DON’T: Apply body lotion.

This one might sound odd to many of you, but it’s important to skip body and hand lotion before you go to the gym. First, your hands and body would be terribly slippery, so lifting weights will be very uncomfortable. Second, you will be leaving lotion residue on the equipment, something that the person after you will have to deal with. If you need to apply lotion, just do it after your workout is over.

8. DON’T: Eat high-fiber, high-sugar, or fatty foods.

There are some foods you should avoid before working out due to them being high in fiber or high in fats and sugar:

  • Granola and protein bars, smoothies, and yogurt might be healthy, but they are high in sugar and should be avoided before a workout.
  • Vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, are high in fiber and, therefore, are hard to digest, something that could make working out harder.
  • Red meat, fast food, flaxseed, and carbonated drinks are either high in fatty acids or high in sugar and should definitely be avoided.

However, you shouldn’t let yourself go hungry at the gym. There are other foods that can help you boost your energy and maximize your workout duration.

  • Choose a snack that combines a good amount of carbs and protein. A slice of whole-grain bread with peanut butter and bananas is ideal.
  • A small handful of nuts or raisins would also be a great source of energy.
  • A hardboiled egg on its own or on a slice of toasted bread can be good.

What have you found to be very beneficial for your workouts, and what has harmed your duration that led you to stop doing it?

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