Things You Should Do Before Every Workout

Knowledge is power—these simple steps will help further your progress

Your alarm goes off and, still in a sleepy state, you put on your workout clothes, grab you gear and head to the gym. Short on time, you get right into your workout, skipping a warm-up entirely. [slideshow:79677]

With a routine like that, though, you could actually be wasting time and opening yourself up to injury. There are a few things you should be doing before every workout to ensure you get the best results, efficiently and without injury.

Sure, we all know we should be warming up and drinking plenty of water, but we don’t normally make it a priority. Would you make the time for a dynamic workout if it could help prepare your body for intense exercise? Would you make it a priority to drink more water if you knew that it benefited just about every function in your body?

Knowledge is power—read on for the 10 things you should do before every workout to help further your progress.

Sleep Well the Night Before

If you’ve ever spent a night tossing and turning, it won’t surprise you that a poor night of sleep has been shown to affect focus and memory. So when you don’t get a good night’s sleep, not only will your workout likely be less productive, but you’re also more likely to skip the gym altogether. Conversely, a night of quality sleep can ensure you’re at your best. “Good sleep improves stamina—both mental and physical—stabilizes hormones, improves endurance and speed, and also aids in muscle memory,” said Dr. Rebecca Q. Scott, a sleep specialist at the New York Sleep Institute.

Plan It Out

Walking into the gym and then deciding what you’ll do for the day is a lot like walking into a grocery store without a list and then deciding what you might need—there’s a good chance you’ll wind up wasting time and you probably won’t get what you need. It’s a good idea to formulate a plan based on your goals before you head to the gym. Thinking about the plan will help get you in the mindset to work out and it’ll help you save time.

8 other Things You Should Do Before Every Workout

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Is It Better to Stretch Before or After a Workout?
Fitness Fuel: 5 Energy-Boosting Pre-Workout Snacks
Energy-Boosting Superfoods: What to Eat Before and After Exercise