Some days make for really good workouts, some days not so much, and that’s completely normal. There are however a few things we have implemented over time that we’ve found have really helped us get great workouts in most of the time, and improve the not-so-great workouts.
When we think great workout, we usually think that we need to have energy so we drink a bunch of caffeine in hopes that it will help us, but we get disappointed when we find little to nothing improves our workout.
Well, there are a lot of elements to a great workout. RECOVERY is the hugest, and then hydration and nutrition follow closely behind.
This is usually our routine for preparing for a workout:
1. GOOD SLEEP & RECOVERY
This is NUMBER 1. With poor sleep, and an inadequate amount of recovery, your workouts will be miserable.
You won’t have energy. You will feel weaker for your lifts. Your cardio and endurance will be poorer. Focus poorer. And most scary of them all, your risk of injury will be higher.
We make sure we get our 6-8 hours of sleep. But not just the hours, but not just the hours, but quality sleep. We want to wake up feeling rested, not still tired.
If you are waking up tired, the following could be happening:
-not enough hours of sleep
-exposure to blue light before sleep (TV, iPad, computer, phone)
-working too close to bedtime
-eating too much, too late
-working out too close to bedtime
-drinking caffeine within 10 hours of bedtime
-leaving the phone outside the bedroom
These are all the habits we’ve slowly implemented and worked on over time and found that we get a deeper sleep, and wake up now feeling more energized rather than feeling like we got hit by a train.
Next to sleep, recovery also includes nourishing your body enough after a workout so that your body is replenished. It means stretching, self-massaging, and managing stress.
All these will add up to a better recovery, which means a stronger and more ready body, which means a better workout.
The next key factor we make sure we don’t forget is to keep our bodies hydrated. Hydration is key for all body functions. The main things worth highlighting include:
A simple way we ensure we stay on top of our water is we ensure we have a full glass of water upon waking up, before a meal, after a meal, and before going to bed.
Next to drinking enough water, it’s important to make sure your body has enough electrolytes. This means potassium, sodium, and magnesium. These minerals are HIGHLY responsible for your energy (without them you would not survive) but they are also connected to:
-brain function (clarity and focus) and,
We love throwing in the Ener-C Electrolytes or the Ener-D into our water and drinking it before our workout or during. We even drink it on days we don’t do a workout. You can find them HERE and use the code NORIATHLETICS to save 20% at the checkout!
The electrolytes not only help your body function properly, but they also help you drink your water if you don’t like the taste of plain water.
And if you are macho like Novette, then you can just do a pinch of salt in a glass of water and you will be good electrolyte-wise for the whole day.
3. HAVING A SNACK OR MEAL
Another key factor to having a great workout is making sure you are nourishing your body enough. Not only is this important for your body to recover post a workout, but it is also very important for providing you energy.
Making sure you’ve had a well balanced MEAL 2-3 hours before your workout is a great. This will ensure you’re not feeling too full during the workout and at the same time make sure that you have energy, and good blood flow throughout your workout.
If you can’t get in a meal 2-3 hours before then have a snack 15-30 mins before your workout that consists of fast processed carbohydrates like toast and jam, rice crackers, fruit, will ensure you have good blood flow and enough energy to get through the workout feeling good.
Remember food is SUPER important whether you want to build muscle or lose body fat. If you’re under-eating, you will not be able to lose body fat. Make sure you’re getting enough calories in throughout the day (meaning above 1500 calories), hitting your protein goal, and ensuring you’re also not avoiding carbohydrates, as CARBOHYDRATES ARE NOT BAD.
4. ADDING COFFEE OR PRE-WORKOUT
Now unless you’re doing all the above, you shouldn’t be doing this one. Reason being is we have these glands called the Adrenal Glands.
In simple terms, Adrenal Glands are responsible for your energy via hormones. Now they are very much affected by stress (both mental and physical). So when we are stressed because of life or work, lack sleep, under eat, do rigorous workouts, and consume caffeine, they all stress the Adrenals. IF you are not praciticng good habits, you stress them more and only cause more fatigue and this results in a poor quality workout.
For the most part, if we practice good recovery with good nutrition, and good sleep habits, manage our stress then they can tolerate the workouts, and they can tolerate caffeine consumption.
Caffeine can up your energy level for the workout and help you get focused for a workout.
Michelle prefers her cup of coffee before a workout, and Novette prefers a pre-workout with less caffeine/stimulants and more minerals and vitamins.
5. GOOD WARM-UP
Lastly, this is super important if you want a good lifting session during the colder seasons.
Before a workout, our body is generally more stiff. Muscle are tighter, and joints lack mobility.
A quick 5-15 minute warm up on a cardio machine, be it walking or cycling can get muscles more flexible and ready, wake your mind up and get it ready for focus, and lubricate your joints for the lifts.
On top of that, it stimulates your heart and increases your blood flow. The better the blood flow, the more oxygen flows through your body, allowing your muscles to properly contract and feel good throughout the movements.
This acts as a great preventative next to some quick mobility exercises, ESPECIALLY if you’re lifting heavy weights or feeling particularly stiff.
Now these are methods we have implemented through years of lifting and trying out different things.
Some of these might work better for you than others, and it’s just about trying them out and seeing what works best. For the most part though, these are considered more as PILLARS to your program, and will help support all your efforts at the gym and ensure that you are able to bring your A-Game to most of your workouts. We know the worst feeling is getting to the gym and not being satisfied with a workout because energy wasn’t optimal.
Try these out and let us know how it goes.