It’s easy to fall into a comfortable workout routine where you do the same thing day after day. Sound like you? You’re not alone. But, be careful—because you might develop bad habits that can be harmful over time. It happens when we’re short on time or don’t understand why certain steps are so important. Use checklist to make sure you’re doing everything you should!
Stretch: It’s important to prone your muscles and limbs before you start your workout. Take two or three minutes to properly stretch out your legs, arms, back and neck. Stretching helps lower your chances of pulling a muscle while you’re in the middle of lifting or cardio. It will also reduce post-exercise soreness.
Warm Up and Cool Down: Even if you’re running a bit behind and want to get straight into the core of your workout, it’s important to acclimate your body beforehand. Warm up with a brisk walk or slow jog, or a few cardio exercises before going into your run. Weightlifters should start with a few cardio exercises and lighter weights before moving onto their traditional routines. At the end of your workout, it’s just as important to cool down rather than letting your body crash after high intensity. Ease your heart rate back down to a normal rate by taking a few minutes to stretch or walk it off.
Stay Hydrated: It may seem like common sense, but it often gets overlooked. When you start sweating, your body loses water along with electrolytes and important minerals. Keep yourself replenished with water or a sports drink (not overloaded with sugar or sodium). Staying hydrated keeps your energy level up and taking small water breaks can help regulate your breathing as you continue exercising.
Vary Your Routine: There may be a specific part of your body that you’re working on (stomach, legs, arms), but it’s not wise to overload on exercises that only focus on one area. Create total body workouts instead. Targeting is great for a small portion of your routine, but make sure you aren’t neglecting everything else. This also goes for cardio and weightlifting – there should be a healthy balance of both in your fitness regime. With too much consecutive weightlifting, you risk pulling or over-extending muscles. For cardio-junkies, it’s important that you not only burn fat, but build muscle as well to help tone and make you stronger. If you’re not sure how to balance your workout, a private trainer can help you design a routine that works best for your body.
Eat Before Your Workout (But Not Right Before): When you’re performing intense physical activity, your body’s burning through energy provided by food you ate that day. So make sure there’s fuel available for your body to actually use. Eat a balanced meal with a good source of protein and veggies. This will give you an extra boost of energy when you get to the peak of your workouts. Eat at least 30 minutes to an hour before you begin your workout so your body has time to digest.
If you have any questions on how to break out of bad workout habits or any tips or tricks, please comment below!