There’s a natural tendency to jump right into your workout and then head immediately to your car as soon as you’re finished. And who can blame you? Everyone is short on time these days.

But if you practice what should be done before your workout and immediately afterwards, you’ll improve your progress and results. After all, working out isn’t easy, so you need to get the most benefits possible out of it!

Here are ten things that need to be a part of your fitness routine—five before and five immediately following your workout.

Before you work out:

1. Get enough sleep.

One of the most important factors in increasing your fitness is getting enough sleep. Adequate sleep will not only give you the energy you need to do an effective workout, it also keeps your hunger hormones at bay, so you don’t overeat after you leave the gym.

2. Drink!

A lot of us grab our water bottle in the middle or end of our workouts, but it’s just as important to hydrate before you begin. We suggest your daily amount of water be half of your bodyweight in ounces per day. (Example: if you weigh 150 pounds, aim for 75 ounces of water daily.) But remember to start drinking before you begin exercising.

3.  Grab a snack.

This one is not a must—if you’re not feeling like eating before your workout, you don’t need to force yourself to eat. But if you’re even a little hungry, grab a healthy snack so you have the energy to exercise. And if you exercise first thing in the morning, as many of us do, then eat something. It’s likely been almost 12 hours since you’ve eaten! Give yourself some fuel.

4. Make sure your workout clothing and footwear are right for your workout.

This isn’t about style. Make sure you’re wearing workout clothing that allows you to jump, stretch, run, and move every way you need to. Wear athletic shoes that give you the support you need. And make sure it’s all comfortable so you can concentrate on the exercises with no thought to your clothing.

5. Do a dynamic warm-up.

Even if your workout is super short, you still need to warm up. Warming up raises your body temperature, increases your range of motion, and prepares your muscles for what you’re about to do. It also helps decrease your chance of injury.

Recent research shows that the best form of warm up is dynamic mobility. These are full body movements where you hold the stretch for only one to two seconds in each position.

Right after your workout:

1. Stretch.

While dynamic stretching is best for warming up, those regular old stretches you’ve done since middle-school gym class are what you need for cooling down. Stretching muscles that are already warmed up helps your joints stay mobile and improves your range of motion. Hold these stretches for at least 15 seconds each.

2. Use a foam roller.

Using a foam roller is great for your muscles after your workout. Rolling on the foam roller works out any kinks or knots that may have developed. Experts also recommend using a foam roller to help with muscle soreness after exercising since it increases blood flow to the tissues you used in your workout.

3. Drink water

The only thing listed on both our pre- and post-workout lists is drinking water. That’s because it’s so important to stay hydrated! Drink before, drink during, and drink after your workouts.

4. Eat after exercising.

Having a snack after exercising is more important than eating beforehand. Giving your body the fuel it needs after a tough workout is essential. The right kind of snack will help replenish glycogen stores and rebuild muscle—just make sure the snack includes protein. Try to take in at least 20 grams of protein with your post-workout snack.

5. Track your progress.

Tracking your progress is good for motivation and helps you make adjustments in your routine. Right after your workout is the best time to do track it—while you’re still at the gym, before you go home and forget about it. Keeping track of what you did allows you to keep challenging yourself.

Make your workout the best it can be! 

The things we just listed to do pre- and post-workout won’t add much time to your routine, but they will definitely add benefits to your results!

Give us a call today. We can develop a personal workout routine for you to meet your fitness goals and teach you an effective pre- and post-workout program as well.

Next time you’re getting ready to workout, just remind yourself that adding a few minutes before and after your workout will give you quicker and better results!