I find our fitness routines are so personal. Just getting to the gym can be hard, so we need to choose something we like or the chances of actually going become less and less. Finding my own regime took a lot of trial and error. I forced myself through group fitness classes I thought I would love because of everyone else’s feedback. I tried yoga at the studio, which I loved but was too far from my house. I did CrossFit until it became too intense on my joints. I fell in love with weight training, but then got too caught up in aesthetic goals which took me off course from why I started my journey in the first place.
Finally, I found SoulCycle and have never cried so many times during a sweat sesh (not from the physical challenge itself, but from the emotional release I find in many of the classes).
It’s been a journey, to say the least.
Once we finally find movement we love, it can still be hard to stay motivated. But it’s the little steps leading up to the workout that set us up for success. I think of this as the ‘pre-work’ before the workout. I’m talking about fuel, hydration and mindset. Let’s dive in.
We all know that staying hydrated is super important! No matter what, you need to be getting those 8+ cups of fluid per day just to keep your bodies running smoothly. This water supports digestion, joint health, organ health and skin rejuvenation (just to mention a few).
Even if I start my day with movement (a 6 AM workout, for example), I still drink at least 16 ounces of water beforehand to avoid muscle cramps and dehydration.
Have you ever eaten a fast food meal right before working out? No fun, right? When I know I have a workout scheduled for later in the day I’m motivated to eat more nourishing foods throughout the day in anticipation of the workout. Unless you are a professional athlete, you don’t have to stress too much about what you are consuming before your workout regarding carbs, protein and fat. Aim to eat something nourishing about an hour before. But listen to your body! Maybe 30 minutes before is okay for you, maybe you need 2 hours. High-fat meals tend to hang around in our stomach for a while and may make you feel full or lethargic while working out.
Since I usually work out first thing in the morning, I like to eat something small and quick like a banana with almond butter, a matcha latte with collagen or a ONE protein bar.
I always keep the Almond Bliss and Cookie Dough Chocolate Chunk flavors on hand. I can easily enjoy one while I’m getting ready in the morning or on my way to the gym. Pro tip: they are GREAT for after working out too! Alternatively, I might opt for the banana first then follow up my workout with a ONE bar (which are also gluten free if that’s something you need!).
For me, the pre-workout mindset begins when I set my fitness goals. It’s just not realistic for me as a mom of two who runs her own business to work out 6 days a week. It’s not going to happen! So I stopped setting that goal because it only made me feel disappointed and inadequate when I couldn’t hit it 3 out of the 4 weeks in a month. Now I set specific, realistic and detailed goals for my workouts. I decide how many workouts I want to include per week, what style of workouts I’m going to do, and when I’m going to do them.
The night before, prepare what you need for your AM workout. Fill your water bottle, lay out gym clothes and pre-prep your morning meal or have your ONE bar on the counter ready to grab.
The day-of or hours leading up to a workout can become a mind game. We’re tired, we’re busy, we’re sore. Don’t talk yourself out of this! You’re going into a workout you genuinely enjoy, you know the endorphins are going to make you feel great and ultimately this is time for yourself and your body so don’t sell yourself short by missing it!
Whew! Who knew there was so much to be done before we even step foot in the gym. It’s not complicated though.
Keep it simple and keep it routine. Prepare your gym stuff ahead of time, hydrate, fuel and give yourself permission to enjoy this hour which you deserve to set aside for yourself and your health.
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