Boston-based personal trainer and group exercise instructor Caroline Earle says that you need to spend more time around the water cooler during the day if you want to get a good workout in later on. “Bring a water bottle to work and keep record of how many times you fill it up," she said. "Each week try to get one more refill than the previous until you reach the recommended daily allowance.”
“We live in a society that fuels themselves on energy drinks and frothy lattes as opposed to simply getting more shut-eye,” said Earle. “Ditch the chemical-laden beverages and opt for more time underneath your sheets. You'll be more refreshed all day long, which means evening workouts won't get neglected.”
The founder and CEO of BuiltLean and a top New York City personal trainer, Marc Perry explains this workout-ruining habit in simple terms. “If you put your workout in your calendar, you will keep it as an appointment. If not, any social event that comes up may derail your workout plans.”
Earle adds, “So many of my clients are bombarded by business meetings and after-work client cocktails. While networking over dinner or drinks is important, so is your health. Treat your workout just as you would an important dinner. Schedule your workouts in you planner or iPhone and don't double book. If you wouldn't do it with co-workers you shouldn't do it to yourself.”
“Sometimes you are just too darn hungry to work out after a long day at work, so you get dinner instead,” said Perry. “An afternoon snack can help stabilize hunger levels for a long break between lunch and dinner, which may be 7 to 8 hours if you eat dinner after your evening workout.”
Here’s another habit that I’m sure most of us are all too familiar with: mindlessly snacking away at our desks. Keeping snacks in or around your desk makes it way too easy to go overboard, even if it’s something healthy like mixed nuts or fruit chips. Not only will this habit add extra calories to your overall intake for the day, but filling up too much over the course of the day and especially right before your workout is never a good idea. “If you consume that large of a meal close to the time of your workout, your digestive system will compete with your muscles for blood,” said Josh Anderson, an AFAA Certified Personal Fitness Trainer and the CEO of Always Active Athletics. He recommends a protein- and carb-rich snack (no more than 200 calories) about 30 to 60 minutes before you hit the gym.
"Too much caffeine in the morning can lead to a crash in the afternoon," said Perry. "Caffeine can lead to a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation and afternoon energy crashes which zaps your energy for working out."
We've all been here before: "A trip home may lead to sitting on the couch and no motivation to workout," said Perry. If you can, prepare and pack your gear the night before and aim to head to your exercise session immediately after work.
I’m not saying that you should never treat yourself to a slice of pizza or a big juicy burger. But I am saying that those foods won’t make for the best workout fuel. Most days, aim to eat a wholesome, nutritious lunch and you’ll feel more energized and awake (instead of weighed-down and sluggish) when it’s time to get in gear for the gym.
Relax, I’m not saying that you need to quit your job. What I mean is that when the work day is done you should disconnect completely (or at least for the duration of your workout). You might feel good about multitasking by catching up on emails via your iPhone while you’re on the elliptical, but if you’re head is out in cyberspace while your body’s at the gym, well then your workout is bound to suffer.