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11 Pre and Post Workout Habits to Maximise Gym Results

11 Pre and Post Workout Habits to Maximise Gym Results

One of the best ways to maintain regular exercise is to train smart and not hard. Targeting your workout to meet your fitness goals is important, and by partnering your workouts with some healthy habits on either side, you’ll enjoy maximum results. 

Love it or hate it, you’ll agree that if you’re going to exercise, it should be as beneficial and effective as it possibly can be. This means maximising results before you start breaking into a sweat and after the workout has ended. 


Preparing yourself both physically and mentally for a workout will help you to get the best from it. A good pre-workout routine will help you to maintain your stamina and motivation and will allow you to push yourself harder and harder with each session. 

A pre-workout routine prepares your body and puts you in the right state of mind for exercise. It doesn’t have to be complicated or overly ritual, but what you do before a workout does matter. Top trainers suggest:

Get enough sleep

When setting off on a 200km road trip, you’ll need fuel in the car. Without fuel, your car won’t work. When it comes to exercise, sleep is the fuel that manages your muscular system, allowing your body to work hard. Not getting enough sleep means you're weighed down by sleep deprivation. Not only will you struggle to workout, you’re at increased risk of injury because your reaction time will be slower. 

Plan your workout out

A planned workout saves you time in the gym and ensures you make the most of your designated workout time. A planned workout can also keep you accountable and help you to track your fitness goals. Consulting a fitness app can be useful, reminding you of what exercises to do, how many reps to complete, and the amount of weight you should be achieving in order to progress. 

Create a playlist

Getting in the right mindset is just as important as choosing the right location for your workout. An easy way to do this is with the music you choose to listen to. When prepping and planning for a workout, pick a list of songs you know will keep you motivated. 

Get hydrated

Recommendations for hydration vary depending on your level of activity but generally speaking, you should aim for about 20 ounces of water 2-3 hours before exercise and then another 20 ounces of water 30 minutes before your workout. Limit caffeine and other diuretics and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink. Thirst is a late sign of dehydration. 


Depending on your digestive system, aim to eat about two hours before your workout. This should give you a burst of energy just when you need it most. Include a mix of carbohydrates and protein so that you have the right type of fuel - wholewheat toast with peanut butter and banana, for example, is a great choice. If you wake up at 5 am and hit the gym straight away, try to put something in your body if you can, even if it’s just a banana, some dates, or a granola bar. 

Warm up 

A good warm up will raise your body temperature, making oxygen more available to your muscles. This helps them to contract and relax more easily and increases elasticity to reduce your risk of injury. A good warm up also increases blood flow to your muscles, which helps with flexibility and the loosening of joints. Stretching, jogging, or cycling make for great warm ups. 

Post workout

Rest is physically necessary for muscles to repair following a workout but there are other things you can do besides rest to maximise your workout results. Top trainers suggest:


Muscles stretch and lengthen best when they are warm so before you cool down, decrease soreness and accelerate the recovery process by giving the muscles you worked on a good 20-30 second stretch. This will also help you to build your range of motion, ready for your next workout. 


It’s important to replace fluid lost during exercise. As a general rule, you should try to drink 1.5 times the fluid you lost during your workout. Don’t do this all in one go - instead, drink water regularly for two to six hours post-exercise.  


Refueling post-workout with a combination of protein, carbs, and healthy fats will push you closer to your fitness goals and will help to protect your muscles. Working out uses up the glycogen in your muscles and eating the right nutrients will help rebuild glycogen stores faster. 

Get a massage

Massage increases the percentage of regenerating muscle fibres, especially when applied soon after a workout. Massage can also help prevent injury by relaxing muscles and taking tension and tightness away. Massage allows for more blood flow to an area of focus and over time, this can allow muscles to stretch further and work harder. Your future workouts become more fluid, with greater range of motion. 


Sleep allows time for anabolic hormones to perform the function of tissue repair. The longer your sleep period, the more time for muscle tissues to regenerate and grow. Sleep also allows your body to digest carbohydrates from your diet and metabolize them into glycogen, which is then stored in muscle cells to fuel muscle contractions. This helps to increase muscle size. 

Achieving peak performance 

Achieving peak performance isn’t just about what you put into your workout. Pre and post workout routines are just as important. What you do during these pre and post times can dramatically impact your workout performance and the results you get from your exercising efforts. An hour in the gym is great, but a healthy fitness routine that incorporates pre, main and post-workout sessions will support an overall healthy lifestyle and ramp up your gym efforts. 

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