You stroll into the gym, earbuds in, world tuned out, and you launch straight into your HIIT routine.
Not even five minutes into your workout, you start to feel drained, starved, and for some reason, your mouth feels like you just swallowed an entire package of cotton balls.
As much as you may want to hit the mat or the treadmill as soon as you step foot into the gym, you’re likely setting your body up for failure by doing so.
Here are six small, but easily fixable blunders you’re probably making before your workout.
1. You’re Not Drinking Enough Water
Drinking water before a workout is absolutely essential.
According to WebMD, you should drink 15 to 20 ounces of water about one or two hours before your workout, and then another eight to 10 ounces 15 minutes before you start exercising.
Of course, this depends on the person, as everyone’s hydration needs vary, and some people sweat more than others.
The key is to listen to your body. If you notice that your mouth consistently feels like the Sahara Desert whenever you’re at the gym, consider that your cue to bring an extra water bottle in your bag next time.
2. Or Maybe You’re Drinking Too Much Water (Or, You Know, Other Stuff)
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much water, and you’ll know it when you feel it.
If you’re doing any kind of high intensity training, or any exercise that requires you to move around a lot, you’ll definitely notice that uncomfortable feeling of liquid sloshing all around in your stomach.
Even more importantly, you’re also going to have to say no to happy hour if you plan on going straight to the gym afterward.
According to a 2014 study published in Sports Medicine, any type of alcoholic beverage can negatively affect your muscles’ ability to recover after an injury.
Repeat after me: Cabernet comes after cardio.
3. You’re Neglecting A Pre-Workout Snack
Eating after a workout comes naturally to most people, as you’re bound to be pretty hungry after breaking a good sweat.
But a solid pre-workout snack is equally important to make sure you can sustain your energy levels throughout your entire gym sesh.
If you’ve ever felt like you’ve hit a wall during your time at the gym, it’s probably because you didn’t fuel with the proper carbs. Glycogen depends on your carbohydrate intake, and if your body doesn’t have enough glycogen to sustain you, you’ll inevitably be slowed down.
Pass that peanut butter banana sandwich, please.
4. No Matter How Much You Love It, You Have To Put Down The Sriracha
Listen, I’m the girl who carries around hot sauce packets in my bag, so this one breaks my heart, too.
According to Health.com, spicy food can lead to indigestion or heartburn, which will definitely put an unwanted pause on a workout.
Don’t worry, you can save the Indian take-out for a post-workout treat.
5. You’re Not Taking Time To Warm Up
Yes, it’s annoying, and yes, no one wants to take the time to warm up when they’re already in the zone.
But taking that extra five to 10 minutes to prepare your body for your workout is key to preventing injuries.
Think of your body like a car during the winter months. It’s always best to allow the car to warm up a little bit before you start driving, and that’s exactly what your body needs, too.
Try going for a light walk or jog before you move onto the more intense exercises in your routine.
6. You’re Doing The Wrong Type Of Stretching
Stretching before a workout is important, but there’s a, shall we say, art form to it.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research showed that static stretching (for example, a forward fold) reduced lower-body strength during a workout by about eight percent, and lower-body stability by nearly 23 percent.
Dynamic stretches, such as knee highs, or lunges with a twist, will lengthen your muscles without weakening them.