6 Essential Preworkout Practices

Doing these six things before exercising can make or break your workout.

Most people schedule their daily workouts ahead of time, and some even have a carefully planned recovery regimen. But not many have a solid preworkout routine. But what you do before your sweat sesh has a definitive impact on your workout. Here is a checklist of pre-exercise to-do’s to consider. Follow these — in order — before you begin your workout and you’ll crush it each and every time.

Sleep

Your body goes into recovery mode when you sleep, repairing and rebuilding itself to be better than before. It is also during deep sleep that your body releases the most growth hormone, helping stimulate muscle growth and repair. If you get enough sleep, you’ll wake energized and focused, and will be more than ready to kill it in your workout both mentally and physically. Shoot for at least seven to eight hours per night every day of the week.

Eat

If you’re someone who needs to eat before you work out, have a meal or snack 60 to 90 minutes before training — or else you run the risk of revisiting it on the gym floor. This nosh should include some quality carbs for energy that will drive your training, as well as some protein to increase strength and lean muscle mass.

Drink 10 to 20 ounces of water before training, spread throughout the day.

Hydrate

Being properly hydrated is imperative to training performance and success. Water is intimately involved in muscular contractions, and research has shown that a fluid loss of just 2 percent of your bodyweight can cause a marked decrease in both physical and mental performance. Drink 10 to 20 ounces of water before training — but make sure you spread it throughout the day. If you slug down a liter of water immediately before, you’ll spend as much time in the bathroom as you do with the barbell.

Supplement

A preworkout supplement that includes ingredients like caffeine and arginine has been shown to heighten focus, boost energy and increase blood flow, helping deliver nutrients and oxygen to your hardworking muscles. Bonus: Research also has shown that caffeine can increase the breakdown of fat for fuel. Take a preworkout supplement 30 minutes before training for optimal benefits.

Visualize

Research has shown that the mental act of visualization actually has a physical effect on your muscles. Five to 10 minutes before you train, sit in a quiet place and visualize your workout: What will you train? Go through each move and imagine yourself doing it correctly and with power. See yourself crushing any HIIT, metcon or other high-intensity workout, or even setting a lifting personal record.

Mobilize

Doing a dynamic warm-up increases your core temperature and facilitates blood flow to your muscles. Perform moves like leg swings, Frankenstein kicks, arm circles and inchworms to prep your body and mind for the workout to come.

Never Waste a (Pre)Workout

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