I find this article “Four things to keep in mind before, during and after your workout” by Wina Sturgeon helpful. I quote the entire article in the following as a quick reference. The four things to keep in mind during and after exercise are: Breathe constantly when lifting weights; Don’t sit down, doing nothing, during a workout; The most important part of exercising or training for a sport is to always use proper form; and Nutrition and hydration have a big impact both before and after your workout. The entire article is on this web page http://www.thestar.com/life/health_wellness/2015/05/05/four-things-to-keep-in-mind-before-during-and-after-your-workout.html.
By: Wina Sturgeon Adventure Sports Weekly, Published on Tue May 05 2015
If you work out, either to be a better athlete or to get and/or stay in shape, there are guaranteed training methods to maximize results. On the other hand, there are also minor slip-ups that may diminish results. Knowing little details like when to breathe or what to eat can help improve your conditioning. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you hit the gym:
Breathe constantly when lifting weights. Never, ever hold your breath. You may have to work to make this an automatic habit. Each inhale and exhale should be as deep and full as possible. Don’t inhale by “gasping” air in with a quick, forceful breath; that creates shallow breathing that won’t provide sufficient oxygen to power your muscles. At the same time, don’t exhale all your used air in one big blowout. Exhale slowly and thoroughly.
Before starting a set, focus on your breathing by taking in a deep breath and exhaling before picking up the weight.
It takes more energy to inhale than to exhale (this is something you can actually feel), which is why you’ll have more energy for the lift if you exhale during the exertion phase, when the muscles are doing the most work. Inhale during the easier part of the lift, which is the ‘lowering’ part. For example, when doing a squat, inhale deeply as you lower the weight. Exhale as you rise upright again. For a biceps curl, take a deep breath before starting, then exhale as you curl the weight to your shoulder. Exhale when lifting your body weight in a pull-up, inhale as you lower it.
The technique of deep breathing will help build your lifting power, but many folks don’t know how to do this type of breathing. A yoga breathing class may help you develop the technique, which is beneficial in sports as well as in training.
Don’t sit down, doing nothing, during a workout. Keep blood from pooling in your legs by walking around if you need a rest between sets. If you’re doing upper body, walk while gently swinging your arms from the shoulder. Keeping the muscles that you’ve just worked in gentle motion helps get rid of lactic acid and other waste products of muscle exertion. That’s why it’s good to do a brief walkaround through the gym after completing your workout, rather than immediately showering and heading home.
The most important part of exercising or training for a sport is to always use proper form. Even if you were once taught the correct position for each exercise, you may have since strayed from using it. It’s worth paying a personal trainer to watch you go through your program at least once a year to be certain you’re still using proper technique.
It’s the little mistakes that can hurt. A deadlift can put serious strain on the vertebrae and discs of the lower back if you bend over at the spine instead of the hips. Leaning your upper body forward while doing a squat will also stress the lower back. The spine should always be kept erect, never bent over or tilted while lifting weights. A common mistake is leaning to the side while doing one armed biceps curl. Whether seated or standing, always keep your body straight while doing this exercise.
Nutrition and hydration have a big impact both before and after your workout. Take a big drink of water before leaving for your workout. That allows time for the hydration to reach your tissues. Drink during your workout to replace water you lose during your exercise. Don’t stop hydrating once you finish training, your body will still be using water.
Eat a light meal about an hour before starting to train. Consume the kind of food that will give you energy and be easily digested; stay away from fast or fried food or anything greasy. According to WebMD.com, a good pre-workout meal is low in both fat and fibre.
There’s a myth that the after-workout meal should be all protein. That’s wrong. Yes, your recovering body requires protein, but it also needs carbohydrates to replace the energy you used up. In fact, it’s helpful to consume carbs soon after training, within half an hour or so. Remember, carbs get digested quicker than protein. When your body is in post-workout recovery mode, you want to give it all the nutrition it’s ready to absorb.