5 Things You Should Never Do Before Working Out

A man working out

No matter why you work out, your success depends on what you do after your workout and before. So the next time you reach for a snack before you start exercising, think about whether it’s really a good idea. 

Keep reading to find out what you should think about before a workout to get the most out of it. 

1. Don’t eat a lot right before working out 

First of all, a small snack up to a half hour before your workout is a good way to get fueled up. It also helps to stimulate your system early in the morning and gives your body the energy it needs to kick into gear. What matters, though, is what you eat.  Have some fruit, a slice of whole-grain bread with honey, or Greek yogurt with dried fruit to get you going. 

Nutrition tip:

Stay away from high-fiber foods before your workout. They’ll keep you full for longer but are digested slower. Your body can’t access the energy fast enough to take advantage of it. Plus, fiber stimulates the digestive system when you drink a lot of fluids with it.

A woman is drinking a green smoothie while looking on her phone

In general, when you eat too much, it makes you feel heavy, because your digestive system is hard at work and your body can’t put the energy into the workout. This is also true for protein drinks. The high protein content benefits muscle growth much more after the workout. 

2. Don’t start exercising without a goal 

Every time you work out, think about what you want to achieve today or use a training plan from the adidas Training app to help you get some structure. If you have a clear goal, you are more likely to actually follow through with your workout. You’ll be more energized and avoid random exercises that don’t do anything for you. Use your time wisely. 

Think about recovery:

You made it to the gym, but you’re unmotivated or lacking a plan? Do your body a favor and use the time for recovery and stretching. You can also use a foam roller to loosen up knots and deep tissue or fascia. You’ll prepare your body for the next workout, when you can feel strong and effective again.

3. Skip static stretching before your workout 

Everyone has advice on how to stretch. The two main types are static and dynamic stretching. Many studies have shown that stretching not only increases your flexibility, it also prevents injuries. (1)

Two women stretching

What kind of stretching is best and when:

  • Static stretching is most effective after a workout. After exercising, your muscles start to tighten up. Stretching them will help keep you flexible. Don’t forget, you can stretch on rest days, as well. 
  • Before your workout you should warm up your muscles and tendons with dynamic stretching, where you bounce lightly in the final position. Be careful to move smoothly into the stretch. The goal is to activate the connective tissue and prepare for your exercises.  

4. Don’t drink alcoholic beverages

The negative effects are obvious: even just a small amount of alcohol is enough to reduce the amount of control you have over your body. It also affects your coordination and concentration, which means that you won’t be able to do the exercises correctly or you may misjudge the intensity. You’ll feel it the next day, when your body tells you that you’ve overdone it with sore or strained muscles and tendons. 

A woman stretching

5. Don’t drink too much water

It’s important to keep your body hydrated, but don’t guzzle a bottle of water before working out. Drink small amounts during your workout instead. Too much water will fill up your stomach and can lead to nausea and cramps. 

Get some pep in your step

If you’re feeling wiped out, try downing an espresso before your workout. Studies have shown that coffee can have a positive effect on your performance.(2) The caffeine stimulates our nervous system and our neurotransmitters. You can even take a 20-minute power nap, because that’s about how long it takes for the caffeine to kick in.

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Tom Koscher As a personal trainer and running coach, Tom loves to inspire and challenge others with creative workout ideas. He simply cannot resist fitness challenges. Tom's motto is: why walk when you can run? View all posts by Tom Koscher »