Written by Jordan Brown
We can always raise questions as to why our performance in the gym is weaker one day than the next, but how can we really be sure of what should be considered as no-goes before a workout?
Online articles in one place can support one thing, but elsewhere you can see that this is proven wrong. This article will give you five things never to do prior to a workout to ensure you maximise those gains.
It goes without saying, surely? Predominately, your favourite tipple followed by a session on the bench won’t mix. Despite research suggesting alcohol can benefit you for short-term burst, the negatives certainly outweigh the positives. As you probably already know, alcohol has a huge effect on the liver. Firstly, it can cause a shortage of oxygen as it interferes with the body’s adenosine triphosphate production (ATP), which is the energy provided for the muscles.
The main issue that alcohol causes, whether you’re working out or not, is your judgement, reaction and co-ordination. After a couple of pints, you’re over the limit to drive, so how can you expect your body to function well enough to complete a workout? You don’t want to be that person stumbling into people in the free weights area or drop a dumbbell on your gym buddy’s foot.
Furthermore, the protein synthesis in your body decreases, therefore alcohol effects the muscle growth and recovery in the body. Want to maintain and increase those gains? Lay off the alcohol, particularly a day either side of working out.
Keep the alcohol behind the bar, while you’re lifting the bar.
#2 Sleep (for too long)
The temptation for a quick nap after work prior to going to the gym can be all too real for most of us, but we don’t realise how much it can effect the workout as a whole. Research has proven that sleeping for any longer than half an hour directly before a workout can have a negative effect on performance.
Feeling drowsy before a workout, especially without the aid of MYPRE, is sure to prevent you from improving performance in the gym. So, save that nap for post workout, and continue to improve.
#3 Don’t Eat (directly before)
There’s nothing worse than feeling bloated during a workout, especially when cardio is involved. Your diet is crucial in order to get the best out of your workout, and your improvements over time.
By eating under an hour before an intensive workout, your body can struggle to digest the food and it can have a negative effect on performance. If you’re eating something light, such as a piece of fruit or an energy bar to provide you with sufficient energy for the workout, you should give your body at least half an hour for your body to break the food down to be used as energy.
However, if you’re consuming a larger meal, you should certainly be looking at giving your body at least a couple of hours. This will ensure that the body has enough time to break the nutrients down. Fast foods in particular are a no-go, as these foods take much longer to digest. They can make you feel sluggish by making your stomach feel heavy. Just make sure that your body has time to digest your food, and you shouldn’t have any issues with your workout in this sense.
#4 Don’t Static Stretch
This is one of the workout’s biggest myths. From a young age, your told to static stretch prior to working the body, but for weightlifting in particular, this isn’t correct. Static stretching increases flexibility, but this doesn’t balance out by increasing stability, so if you increase one but not the other, injuries can be more likely. Imagine yourself performing a barbell back squat, and being able to squat deeper due to the static stretching, but you can’t hold that position. You’re certainly more likely to cause injury.
Static stretching also doesn’t prevent the delayed onset of muscle soreness (DOMS), but the best way to prevent this is by working the sore area again. So, if you’re suffering from DOMS in your hamstrings, give yourself a short workout on an exercise bike the following day, don’t static stretch. As we all know, warm muscles are harder to injure than cold ones, but static stretching doesn’t warm the muscles up, so it certainly doesn’t benefit you in that sense.
#5 Don’t Take Painkillers
Suffering with back pain or headaches? Well don’t take anti-inflammatory’s prior to working out. Scientific evidence has proven that taking pain-relief tablets prior to working out doesn’t enhance performance when suffering muscle soreness. Further research has shown that some anti-inflammatory’s can have a negative effect on your stomach lining and the intestines due to the blockage of enzymes caused by the anti-inflammatory’s.
Also, painkillers have been proven to reduce kidney function during long-distance running. So, avoid the anti-inflammatory’s on days of exercising.
Take Home Message
The majority of these ‘don’t does’ may feel like they can actually help you in the short-term, but research has proven that they have a negative effect on performance. Ensure you’re eating the right foods at the right time, and that you’re alert too, and that does mean steer clear from alcohol at all costs. Take these points on board, and you’ll avoid any plateaus, or declines in performance.