Sometimes, finding pre-workout energy to hit the gym can be tough, even when you want to work out. You might feel tired and unmotivated before a workout for lots of reasons. But there’s also a way to get through.
So if you promised yourself you’d work out and know you’ll have a good time once you start, you might want to look for ways to put a little pep in your step.
Here’s how to get energy before a workout, according to experts:
1. Eat two or three hours before you work out
One of the most frequently asked questions is, “should I eat before the gym?” Well, the best way to get out of a rut is to eat two to three hours before you go.
Ideally, this meal should include carbs and protein, such as rice noodles with shrimp or scrambled eggs with veggies and potatoes. Your muscles will be fuelled by protein, and the carbs will boost your energy.
Good breakfast options include
- Whole-grain cereals or bread
- Low-fat milk
- A banana
2. Top up your fluids
Keeping hydrated throughout the day, not just when you’re exercising, will help you feel more energetic. Aim for 2 litres throughout the day to maintain energy levels.
A sports drink with electrolytes is also a good idea. Hydration will eliminate that tired, sluggish feeling.
Make a pre-workout shake if you have time before a big workout. Mix protein powder or reduced-fat Greek yoghurt with water, unsweetened almond milk, bananas, or other frozen fruit for a healthy combo of protein, carbs, and fluids. For extra electrolytes, add a dash of sea salt.
BCAAs, or branch-chain amino acids, boost muscle protein production and energise cells before exercise. You can add BCAA powder to your pre-workout shake. It also contains caffeine, which increases strength, endurance, and power.
3. Have a pre-workout snack
If you’re wondering what to have before a workout, pre-exercise snacks like bananas with peanut butter are great because they contain easy-to-digest carbohydrates and protein. Grab a snack like this 30-45 minutes before your workout.
Choosing quick carbs that cause a rapid increase in blood glucose can help you stay motivated during workouts.
Good snack options include:
- An energy bar
- A banana, an apple or other fresh fruit
- A fruit smoothie
- A whole-grain bagel or crackers
- A low-fat granola bar
- A peanut butter sandwich
- Sports drink or diluted juice
A healthy snack is essential if you plan a workout several hours after a meal.
4. Get a caffeine boost
Sometimes, it’s best to keep things simple.
Coffee works just as well as pre-workouts and energy drinks. When you exercise in the morning, drinking caffeine 45-60 minutes before your workout can boost your pre-workout energy.
Caffeine can improve your athletic endurance and power, as well as buffering your perception of effort, pain and fatigue, which can help you perform better.
Remember to get enough food and sleep if you go down this route – you’ll need more than caffeine alone to give you enough energy. Also, avoid caffeine after 3 p.m. since it can disrupt your sleep, making you more tired the next day.
5. Use workout energy supplements
Muscle building requires extra workouts and strength training. The good news is that selective androgen receptor modulators (SARMs) can provide energy and stamina.
Creatine is a great supplement to energise your workouts. Despite its reputation as a substance for bodybuilders and weightlifters, creatine actually supports pretty much every performance goal. Both men and women use creatine pre-workout to increase lean body mass, boost submaximal and maximal strength, and improve motor function.
Although some of us like to turn off our brains and vibe with music when we exercise, brain function is crucial to a workout, especially if you’re at risk for an injury. Creatine can support your brain during exercise, whether you’re making choices about plays, counting reps, calculating paces, or just staying positive.
Initially developed for treating osteoporosis and other musculoskeletal disorders, Ostarine, also known as MK-2866, is the best SARM for energy. The main benefit of Ostarine is muscle growth and fat loss, but it also increases stamina.
You can use Ostarine or Creatine in several supplement stacks to boost performance.
6. Reschedule your workout
Switch things up if you’re always too tired to exercise after work. Your workout should be when you can give your best effort.
People often find that they have more energy in the morning rather than after work, which helps them stay motivated for the rest of the day.
Try a mid-day workout at lunchtime if you can’t face a morning workout.
7. Have a power nap
Sleep deprivation can also affect your pre-workout energy level. You should prioritise getting good rest every night, but a quick power nap will do in a pinch.
Power naps help you perform better during your workout. You’ll retain more memory, have greater heart health, and gain the motivation to achieve your fitness goals! You can maximise your workouts by napping, and 25-30 minutes a day is what to have before a workout.
8. Plan shorter workouts
Just 20 minutes of exercise can boost your mood (and give you exercise health benefits too). If you’re feeling tired, consider some shorter workouts.
A HIIT workout improves cardiovascular fitness, burns calories, and pumps blood. Another option is to do a low-intensity bodyweight workout.
9. Do a warm-up
Energy still low? It’s time to get up and shake it off.
You might think exercising would drain your energy, but it does the opposite. Fatigue after a workout is often an indication that something isn’t right. A warm-up routine boosts energy short-term for two main reasons:
- Increased blood flow
Doing a warm-up will produce endorphins, which are nature’s mood boosters. It can help boost your energy levels by reducing stress and discomfort and improving mood and pleasure.
Inactivity may contribute to low energy, explaining why you feel too tired to exercise after sitting at a desk all day. Make sure you get up every hour, especially if you plan to work out later.
Before your workout, do torso twists, dynamic stretches, or jumping jacks. Three minutes will do; it doesn’t have to be extensive.
The first few minutes of movement are always the hardest. If you push through, chances are you’ll be raring to go.
10. Fix your sleep schedule
One in three people is sleep deprived, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To maintain good health and have enough energy, sleep is crucial. Your body desperately needs rest when you lead an active lifestyle. You perform at your best when you are well-rested. It means less fatigue and more intense gym sessions/workouts.
We all know the feeling when you are so tired mid-workout that you want to give up. Almost everyone has had a time when they chose sleep over exercise.
To achieve a balance between sleep and physical activity, plan your day to get 7-8 hours of sleep and enough time to work out. You may need more than 8 hours for decent muscle recovery following intense workouts.
We need sleep to repair and recover from stress, exercise, and more – without enough sleep, we can’t recover. Stick to a routine that allows you to get enough sleep, and your energy in the gym will improve.
- Stick to a consistent schedule, even on weekends and holidays.
- Establish a bedtime ritual or routine to help you wind down
- Don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed
- You may sleep better if the air is cool
- A high-quality sleep is usually achieved before midnight
- Ensure that the room is dark and quiet
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