Whether you’re an early riser or an after-worker, there will be days that you just don’t have the energy to make it to the gym. More often than not, once you get to the gym and start warming up, your energy will start to creep up and before you know it, you’re working up a sweat and pushing yourself harder than you had planned. But if that doesn’t happen and you’re in need of an extra kick to make it through your workout, consider adding in some extra supports to your routine:
Depending what your goals are for exercise, your pre-workout snack ideas can vary. If you’re looking to build muscle, consider a protein powder that can be mixed into some yogurt or oatmeal. Making your own protein bars is a great option if you have any dietary restrictions and can serve as a great post-workout snack as well. If your goal is to cut some weight or perhaps maintain where you’re at, keep your snack small and eat it at least 1 hour before your workout. Fruit is always a suitable option, as apples, clementines and bananas are often decent sizes to give you a kick, but prevent your stomach from feeling full. In general, timing of foods before a workout is equally as important as what you eat. Aim to have your last carbohydrate 2-3 hours before you hit the gym, and save the smaller snacks like raisins and dried fruit to within the last hour.
powders and drinks.
If you’re strapped for time and prefer a drink as opposed to a snack, there are plenty of options at your local health food store. Vega has a Vegan Pre-Workout Energizer formula that is packed with stimulating herbs like Rhodiola and Panax Ginseng. Natural Force has a paleo-friendly Raw Tea pre-workout blend that is loaded with herbs and superfoods. Alternately, if you enjoy the taste of green tea, try a powdered matcha mixed into hot or cold water and consume about 30-45 minutes before a workout.
Consider this your pre-warmup warmup. If you exercise first thing in the morning, have your songs ready to go in the car on the way to the gym. Or if you exercise after work, play them on your commute from the office. If you are passionate about music and constantly add to your workout playlists, you’ll always have your next favourite song to look forward to!
YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook…if you have an account with any of these sites, you definitely have access to a wide variety of exercise videos by personal trainers and exercise gurus. Watching any of these short videos before a workout can create inspiration for adding something new to your routine, motivation for pushing yourself a little harder and even help warm up your brain-muscle connections just by imagining yourself doing some of the exercises. Some videos (see BodyRockTV on Facebook) are as short as 30 seconds and serve as an introduction to new moves that can build strength in smaller muscle groups. If you commute by public transit, load a couple videos to your phone to watch on your way to the gym!
This article has been featured in EcoParent magazine and can be found here.
Dr. DeSouza shares new research and discoveries along her journey.