Considering health, fitness and training can all be very easily ‘backed up’ by science, it isn’t half confusing sometimes. The main issue is that anybody and everybody can voice their opinion and due to the digital world we live in, we can all see it.
Eat this, wait…don’t eat it. No you can eat it but only at this time whilst you stand on your head with your fingers in your ears. There’s too much noise out there about what you can and can’t do when it comes to getting into shape, working out or just being downright healthy. UP was set up to ‘Beat the BS’ and filter out all of the noise so you only hear what is absolutely necessary.
To start, we’re going to save you the stress of deciding what the real do’s and don’ts are, with 5 things you definitely shouldn’t be doing before you embark on a training session.
Eat Just Before Training
This one is simple, eating right before a hardcore workout isn’t going to end well for anyone.
How close is too close? This can really depend on how your body has been built; some can literally eat just minutes before training and there are others who need a good couple of hours to allow ‘settling’…to be on the safe side, the general rule is at least 60 minutes. So why is eating right before a session a no go?
Scoffing your face before a training session (particularly carbs) can make you feel sluggish – this doesn’t bode well for an awesome, productive workout.
To digest your food properly, you need your blood to be going to the digestive system in order to help break down the food. Once we start training, the blood will head straight towards your muscles, leaving that food you just ate sat right in your gut and of course, not being digested.
If fat loss is your goal, eating carbs before training is not the essential that you may have been told.
Feeding to fuel your workouts is an individual thing, just like all aspects of nutrition. The idea that you “need” carbs for energy is outdated and just plain wrong. Carbohydrates (as glycogen stored in the muscles) do fuel a large part of our workouts but they are not obligatory pre-training as they tend to blunt the optimal fat burning effect by raising insulin levels.
Does this mean that carbs and fat loss don’t go together? No, it isn’t that simple, but it does mean that carbs pre-workout are usually an unwise decision if fat loss is your goal.
You may laugh at this one but in all seriousness, you will be surprised at how often this happens, especially during the summer. It should be common knowledge that training under the influence of alcohol is a big mistake for many reasons, the most important being due to the higher risk of injury.
Being under the influence numbs our senses, making us much more vulnerable to hurting ourselves or worse…someone else. Alcohol is also a toxin to the body, so as soon as you start to train with alcohol in your system, your blood will start moving around your body, simply helping the alcohol get to other areas of the body quicker.
To stretch or not stretch? That is the question that seems to be a controversial one in the fitness industry.
The answer all depends on the type of stretching. Static stretching before a heavy session has actually been proven to decrease performance and tends to stretch your muscles much further than you actually need them to be stretched.
To prepare your body for a physically demanding training session, dynamic stretching such as lunges and squats has much more of a positive influence on power and muscle strength than traditional touching of your toes.
Too Much Sleep
If you’re looking to have a training session worth doing, watch out for having too much sleep. Too much resting can cause problems when working out, especially if you wake up feeling groggy and in a rather ‘relaxed’ state of mind.
If you are training in the early morning, ensure your mind and body are ready for it as not only will you not be hugely productive but you also run the risk of injury if you’re half asleep whilst hitting heavy squats and deadlifts. If you really have to hit the ground running as soon as you wake, spend a little time getting warmed up before you get into the heavy stuff.
Steven Chambers, UP Manchester Personal Trainer