Work out regularly? Then here’s a list of pre-workout activities you should avoid in order to maximise the benefits of exercise.
1. Stay away from alcohol
This one goes without saying, as drinking alcohol before a workout is a big no-no. Even one glass can lower your blood sugar levels, cause dehydration, and can be responsible for a plethora of side effects, such as drowsiness, impaired motor function, weakness and shakiness – all of which negativelyaffects your workout,even potentially causing an injury.
2. Go easy on the water
Drinking a lot of water before a workout may seem like a good idea, but your kidneys can only process so much at a time – around one litre per hour. If you drink more than that, you put yourself at risk of a condition called hyponatremia – which is when your sodium levels become dangerously low. Hyponatremia can cause nausea, weakness, loss of energy and muscle cramps, and at the more serious end of things, may even cause seizures and coma. To avoid this, it’s best to stick to two to three cups of water around two to three hours before exercise.
3. Be careful of what you eat
Try not to eat spicy foods prior to exercising, unless you actually want heartburn, reflux or indigestion during your workout. And it’s not just spicy foods that will affect you. When you work out, blood flows to your muscles to give them oxygen and nutrients. So, if you’ve just eaten a meal before exercising, your body has to supply your stomach with blood to help digest your food and, consequently, may not have enough left to look after your muscles.
In this light, stay away from corn, eggs, meat and other heavy foods that take a while to break down in your stomach. If you are hungry before a workout, stick with fruit, because it’s lighter on your stomach and the simple sugars will help you burn through your workout.
4. Skip the pre-workout sex
If exercise is a priority, then it’s best to put of the ‘sexercise’ until later on. Not only will you expend a lot of energy during sex, but a chemical called oxytocin is also released, which makes you calm and can cause your muscles to become sluggish.
5. Stretch it out
Until recently, it was common practice to do some static stretching before exercising, but new studies show that static stretches can actually have a detrimental effect on explosive movements and strength output. Nowadays, sports gurus swear that dynamic stretching, or stretching whilst moving,is far more beneficial for increasingthe range of movement, blood and oxygen flow to soft tissues, and makes for a better pre-workout routine.
Read more at Women’s Health Mag.