5 Preworkout Tips for your Best Workout
5 Pre-workout Tips for Your Best Workout:
Optimize Your Pre-Workout
Many of us take pre-workouts to achieve that killer workout. We take pre-workouts for the added energy, focus and endurance. And whether you're ready to hit some new PRs, or you just need a boost after a long day at work, pre-workouts help us grind through barriers.
Perhaps the hardest part about taking a pre-workout is finding the right one...there are a TON of PWOs out in the market. But let's assume we've found our perfect pre-workout, it's as simple as chug and go right? Not quite! There's a few things you'll want to do to "optimize" your pre-workout. By optimizing your pre-workout, you can get the most out of your workout.
Here are 5 tips you should follow to optimize your pre-workout routine and get the most out of your workout:
1. Over-hydrate 2-3 hours before your workout.
You should be drinking 12-16 oz of water 2-3 hours before your workout. Super hydrating your body pumps your cells full of water. This helps give you that skin-tightening muscle pump that we're all chasing. In fact, many pump products work by drawing in water to muscle cells. These muscle cells swell with water, enlarge, and stretch the muscle fibers. This stretching causes long term muscle growth.
By over-hydrating your body, you give your body more water to pull into cells. Short term, this gives you a great pump throughout your workout. Long term, this sustained muscle pump leads to increased muscle growth and definition.
The optimal time to over-hydrate is 2-3 hours before your workout. Any closer to your workout, and you're going to feel bloated and full from all the water. Any longer from your workout, and your body will flush through all the water. If you're working out first thing in the morning, we suggest you set an alarm, chug water, and then go back to sleep. You're not drinking any water those 6-8 hours you're asleep, so your body needs that replenishment.
Drink 12-16 oz of water 2-3 hours before your workout and you'll experience fuller and more consistent pumps.
2. Coordinate with your workout peak
You should be taking your pre-workout 45-60 minutes before the peak of your workout. That means you need to factor in your commute and warm-up to taking your PWO. For example, if your drive to the gym takes 15 minutes and you take 30 minutes to stretch and warm up, you can take your pre-workout right before you leave for the gym. But if your drive takes 5 minutes and you're into the heavy sets 15 mins in, you should be taking your pre-workout 30 minutes before you leave.
The timing of your pre-workout is important because you want it to hit when you're in the hardest part of your workout. You don't want the pre-workout to hit while you're just warming up. Ideally, you want the pre-workout to start peaking just as you start the meat of your workout.
Every pre-workout is slightly different, but most hit their optimum effectiveness 30-60 minutes after ingestion. As a result, you should time your preworkout 45-60 minutes before your workout peak.
3. Eat a small meal or snack before taking your pre-workout
For optimal absorption, you should eat a small meal or snack 60 minutes before you take your pre-workout. Taking a pre-workout on an empty stomach could reduce the duration of pre-workout effects because there's nothing in the stomach to absorb the PWO. This can also cause an upset stomach and discomfort, both of which are not ideal for a killer workout!
You also want some food in your body to give it nutrients and energy before your workout. A small snack an hour before you take your pre-workout would be about 2 hours before your workout peak if you follow our #2 tip.
You should avoid hard to digest foods and foods high in insoluble fiber. These foods take longer to digest and will cause discomfort and bloating during your workout. For a light pre-workout meal you should take foods that are fast digesting and provide good sources of carbs and sugars.
Foods to Avoid
- Leafy Greens
- Legumes (lentils, black beans, chickpeas, etc)
- Whole grain bread
- Dairy products
- Pure fruit juice
Good Foods to Eat
- Yogurt/Greek Yogurt
- Rice Cakes
4. Limit Pre-workout Usage
If you want to get the most out of your pre-workout, you should limit usage to 1-2 times a week. Continued daily usage of any pre-workout will lead to increasingly diminish returns. In order words, the more often you use a pre-workout back to back, the less effective it becomes!
The human body can be extremely good at adapting - with prolonged daily use of pre-workout, the body will become adapted to the different stimulants and energy boosters. As a result, you will start needing more and more for the same effect. Soon, one scoop won't have the same punch as it did when you first started. To avoid this, you should only take a pre-workout for big lift days or days you're really struggling to muster up energy.
We want every workout to be amazing, but in the long run, consistency is more important. If you're looking for your pre-workout to have the same punch every time you use it, you should only take it sparingly and as needed!
5. Change Up Pre-workout ingredients
You can also optimize your pre-workout routine by rotating pre-workout types every 2-4 weeks. Change the composition and type of pre-workout you're using every few weeks so that your body does not become used to any one PWO blend.
There are dozens of different ingredients that go into pre-workouts. Look for brands that have different pre-workout blends that you can mix and match to throw off your body's adaptive abilities. Maybe one week you take a stim-free PWO and the next week you take a high-stim PWO. This rotating of pre-workouts gives your body different ingredients that it use to maximum physical performance.
Optimizing your pre-workout and your workout is about knowing your own body. While not all these tips will work for you, the key is to be smart and strategic about your pre-workout routine. Sports supplements can absolutely help in driving results. A great workout does not just come from slamming back a pre-workout. A great workout is a culmination of consistent hard work, nutrition, supplementation, and rest. Make sure you're getting the most out of your pre-workout by following our 5 tips for optimizing pre-workout performance!