The benefits of physical activity are now proven: reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, breast and colon cancer, diabetes and metabolic diseases; better weight control but also improved mental health and self-esteem.
On the other hand, the effects of a sedentary lifestyle are reflected in both public health expenditure and production losses, due to the illnesses and premature deaths that it causes.
Working out daily is an amazing habit. However, there are some pre-workout habits that can ruin your workout. Here are the most common ones, and how to avoid them.
1. Don’t start working out on an empty stomach.
Exercising in the morning on an empty stomach, also known as “fasted cardio” seems to be – surprisingly – very trendy in the fitness world right now. However, this practice is debated among many athletes and even scientists.
Fasted cardio lovers claim the practice maximizes your fat-burning potential.
However, not only it may lead your body may use the protein that makes up your muscle tissue as fuel, but fasted cardio can also cause hypoglycemia manifested by sudden fatigue and an intense sensation of loss of energy which results from the depletion of your glycogen stores, especially after strenuous physical activity.
So, it is possible to strength train on an empty stomach. You can do just about anything in a fasted state, including lifting weights. However, to some extent the quality of your workouts can be compromised, depending on when you do them and what you ate the night before
2. Don’t drink too much water before working out.
It is necessary to stay hydrated during your workout. But beware; drinking too much also affects performance.
Indeed, you can decrease your athletic performance by up to 10% by being in a situation of dehydration. Moreover, it can also cause tendonitis, cramps and digestive problems … so it is essential to drink water regularly. However, it is important not to overdo it. First of all, you have to take into account that we are all different in terms of size, perspiration, type and amount of exercises performed, but also the climate in which we exercise. All of these factors affect how you hydrate.
Thus, it is a good idea to take small sips of 10 to 20 ml regularly at least two hours before physical activity. Then, it is advisable to drink during the exercise because the body heats up and is cooled with water, through perspiration
3. Don’t nap for too long.
It is always a good idea to supplement your sleep cycle with a nap of no more than 35 minutes during the day.
The nap is part of sleep regulation and also allows you to sleep well at night.
Taking a 10 to 20 minute nap even a 5 minute “power nap” can help recover and reduce accumulated fatigue. A lot of athletes who exercise in the morning and evening have a habit of taking a nap to recover before and after their working out routine. However, napping for too long before exercising might give you sluggishness and dizziness which reduces your performance.
It is important to wear breathable and flexible clothing for sports. Remember that your top priority is getting back in shape safely. If you wear the wrong clothes, you risk itching or more serious health problems.
4. Don’t over or underdress.
In winter, we tend to cover ourselves with warm, waterproof materials. Be careful, however, not to exaggerate the number of layers. Do not add a too thick coat on top of it otherwise you will overheat. It is best to wear something light, which protects against wind and rain. Opt for a windbreaker, with a hood if necessary.
Wear a smooth fabric such as a synthetic compression shirt that wicks away sweat. Avoid cotton t-shirts because they retain perspiration, which quickly becomes cold.
In summer, always wear a sweatshirt with breathable material, offering good flexibility of movement.
5. Don’t do static stretches.
Gentle gymnastics, stretching consists of active stretching leading to the relaxation of the body. It is an excellent warm-up before an intense sport activity. It prepares muscles, tendons and ligaments for the effort, thus avoiding injuries such as stiffness or tendonitis. Also recommended after muscular effort, it allows better recovery and avoids muscle stiffness the next day. However, overdoing it might reduce your performance.
6. Don’t start working out without properly resting first.
Recovery is the key to our successful performance. This is the phase during which our body will recover from its efforts and possibly heal certain injuries or soothe any pain.
This phase is absolutely essential in order to feel fit again and perform well in your next workout. And the faster your body recovers, the sooner you can start exercising again. A body that is given enough recovery time will be less prone to injury and better able to put in intense effort.
7. Don’t drink coffee.
Caffeine has long been recognized for its stimulating properties, especially on the nervous system. In the right dose, caffeine is beneficial in the athlete for several reasons. Although some studies provide evidence that drinking coffee sensibly can improve our athletic performance, it should not be consumed excessively. Indeed, from 3 cups per day, coffee, associated with sport, can cause heartburn, diarrhea and painful contractures of the gallbladder. It also causes nervousness, insomnia, and heart palpitations. This is the reason why it is not recommended for people with heart disease.
The dose not to be exceeded is about 400 mg for an adult, or 4 cups of filter coffee or 5-6 espressos per day (and 200 mg only for pregnant women). Be especially careful not to combine coffee and energy drinks which also contain high levels of caffeine (from 60 to 80 mg per can).