Things to Keep in Mind Before and After a Workout

For any task to be well done, planning and preparation are the keys to success. It is similar with workouts as well. Be it yoga, cardio, weights, muscle training, running, Zumba, Bolly dance, Tabata, a relevant warm-up is necessary. And all warm ups may not be the same. The reason why the before and after of a workout is necessary is, so that the body gets into motion and gets back into rest gradually. Here are four necessary requisites for a pre workout:

  1. Fuel Up:

fuel up

While there is no hard and fast rule of the timing of food intake before a workout, an hour seems a good distance between food ingestion and exercise so the necessary digestion can take place. Carbs and proteins are a must on your menu. A light meal without oil laden food but with sufficient variety and nutrition is required. Examples would be oats, egg whites, nuts, toast with peanut butter, bananas, apples, oranges which have complex carbohydrates, or a protein bar or protein shake.


2.Sufficient Hydration:

Man drinking water while exercising in gym

Drink water throughout the day. Just drinking before the workout will make you run for pee breaks. As a guideline, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that active people drink 20 ounces of water prior to exercise, although the water intake depends on variables like age, gender, weight, height and intensity of the workout. Proper hydration alleviates muscle cramps and dizziness. Adequate hydration can even help with better performance while breaking those muscles.


3.Well Designed Warm Up:

Group Of Runners Warming Up Before Run

Getting a slow boost to muscle temperature, core tempo, heart rate and blood flow allows your tendons to get warm, so muscles act at optimum capacity while in the actual fat burnout state. So make sure your warm up takes care of all muscle groups and the overall body flexibility.


Female resting and listening to music at the gym

Glancing through your rep chart and maintaining a record of your workout helps in setting expectations and rest periods for each day. This way guesswork is eliminated and your focus are accurate. Planning your music for each day is also a good boost to the workout, so you can keep the interest flowing.

So now your workout is done. Your endorphins are singing out aloud, and you’re sweaty and fresh. Is there any need for post workout care? The answer is YES. You’ve just pushed your body to spend a hell of a lot of energy. Agreed, rushing home to take care of other stuff is necessary, but so is good post workout care. Here are four things to keep in mind post your workout:

    1.Cool Down:

cool down

The proverbial cool down is a must to bring the heart rate back gradually to its normal rate. So do a slow cardio gig akin to few minutes of walking, so you can breathe normally again.

2.Stretch Once More:

stretch 2

Post workout, muscles tend to contract and a good stretch will prevent them from shrinking. It is important to retain the elasticity of muscles so they don’t cramp and are well functioning before the next workout. Sometimes we overdo the wear and tear; hence, DOMS or Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness sets in. Stretching helps blood flow to the sore parts to repair and heal.

3.Fluid Replenishment:

fluid replenishment

All the calories and fat is ‘sweated’ out, hence water replenishment is crucial. Try not to drink too much too soon or else stomach might cramp up. Eating watermelons and drinking tender coconut water raises the level of natural electrolytes while eating bananas or dates are known to provide a high level of electrolyte potassium for fluid replenishment after highly aerobic activities.

4.Breathing and Relaxation:


Lying down on the floor in Shavasana or Corpse Pose and focusing on inward-outward breathing is a fitting end to your daily workout. Not only does it relax the body, but it also soothes the mind. That pause between a workout and catching up with your daily routine is vital, and never ever to be skipped. It is nice to lie down and feel like sinking into the earth/floor. On a psychological level, one feels supported and rested.

While it is not possible to be mindful of every action or activity, following some basic rules everyday convert it into a habit, and these are good habits to inculcate for optimising your exercise activity. An inspiring quote by Australian tennis player, Samantha Stosur is a sum up of a good fitness routine:

Flexibility is crucial to my fitness. Incorporating a good warm-up and cool-down into every session decreases my chances of injury. I use both dynamic and static stretching in my training. I’ve starting doing a few yoga sessions which incorporate muscle strength and flexibility.

Authored by

Richa Rihani