Workout Routine Energy Boosters
Whether you’re an early riser or an after-worker, there will be days that you just don’t have the energy to make it to the gym, particularly if you're a busy parent and find it hard to make the time. More often than not, once you get there and start warming up, your energy will start to creep up and before you know it, you’re working up a sweat and pushing yourself harder than you had planned. But if that doesn’t happen and you’re in need of an extra kick to make it through your workout routine, consider these ways to you motivated and your energy high:
Depending what your goals are for exercise, your pre-workout snack ideas can vary. If you’re looking to build muscle, consider a protein powder that can be mixed into some yogurt or oatmeal. Making your own protein bars is a great option if you have any dietary restrictions and can serve as a great post-workout snack as well. If your goal is to cut some weight or perhaps maintain where you’re at, keep your snack small and eat it at least 1 hour before your workout. Fruit is always a suitable option, as apples, clementines and bananas are often decent sizes to give you a kick, but prevent your stomach from feeling full. In general, timing of foods before your workout routine is equally as important as what you eat. Aim to have your last carbohydrate 2-3 hours before you hit the gym, and save the smaller snacks like raisins and dried fruit to within the last hour.
This one works for much of the population and can have lasting effects on metabolism hours after a workout. The greatest benefit of caffeine is noted after 90 minutes of continuous exercise (i.e. long distance running or cycling), but can definitely help wake you up and get you prepped for the gym. Try drinking 1 cup about 30-60 minutes before you hit the gym. Some people choose to sip their coffee while they workout, and this is okay as long as you also bring water with you. Coffee will dehydrate you, so remember that your requirements for water post-workout are much higher if you choose to make this part of your routine.
Powders and drinks
If you’re strapped for time and prefer a drink as opposed to a snack, there are plenty of options at your local health food store. Vega has a Vegan Pre-Workout Energizer formula that is packed with stimulating herbs like rhodiola and panax ginseng. Natural Force has a paleo-friendly Raw Tea pre-workout blend that is loaded with herbs and superfoods. Alternately, if you enjoy the taste of green tea, try a powdered matcha mixed into hot or cold water and consume about 30-45 minutes before a workout.
I can’t stress enough the power of music on the human body. From helping to calm you down after a stressful event, to focusing on a task at hand, or to pump you up for a high intensity workout, the tunes you pick can really make a difference between a mild workout and a sore-for-days workout. Create playlists for different levels of intensity and throw in a few tracks to listen to on your way to the gym as inspiration for the work you’re about to do. Consider this your pre-warmup warmup. If you exercise first thing in the morning, have your songs ready to go in the car on the way to the gym - or if you exercise after work, play them on your commute from the office. If you are passionate about music and constantly add to your workout playlists, you’ll always have your next favorite song to look forward to!
You already have access to a wide variety of exercise videos by personal trainers and exercise gurus. Watching any of these short videos before a workout routine can create inspiration for adding something new to your routine, motivation for pushing yourself a little harder, and even help warm up your brain-muscle connections just by imagining yourself doing some of the exercises. Some videos are as short as 30 seconds and serve as an introduction to new moves that can build strength in smaller muscle groups. If you commute by public transit, load a couple videos to your phone to watch on your way to the gym!
*Originally published March 23, 2017