A lot of times, a person will expect that since they’re “naturally limber” or young, they can skip a step or two when it comes to being prepared to work out hard. Now, it does not take a colossal level of fitness to go walking – but shin splints can occur, even from that.
So there is never a time when you can assume that “it’ll be okay.” Thoughts like that are why so many injuries occur.
And if you think you are “saving time” by not doing something necessary, ask yourself a very important question. Which one takes longer, a few minutes of something like a meal or some stretching, or a visit to the emergency room?
Here are a few things to do before you workout
1. Eat breakfast. Keep in mind, this is not, “eat a meal right before you work out.” Most likely, that meal would end up in the nearest trash can, once you started to really get moving. Blood, sweat and tears are the only fluids that should be dropped in a gym. The reason breakfast is so important is that it kicks up your metabolism after your nightly fast (get it, “break fast?” It is not a coincidence…).
2. Know your limitations. If you are not especially fit, do not expect to begin working out at the level of an Olympic power lifter or distance runner. These people have trained for years to attain incredible levels of fitness. Just know that if you are only starting out (or have been doing “the bare minimum” for years), you will most likely hurt yourself if you attempt to exercise at an extremely high level.
3. Stretch. Stretching gets your muscles into the framework of, “there is going to be strenuous activity, and I’m going to be engaged in it.” Also, if you expect your muscles to grow stronger, failing to stretch them is going to hurt your efforts. A muscle which is not limber will not grow as strong, or as quickly.
4. Warm up for a good 10 minutes. And do not simply warm up one set of muscles. Starting out on the stationary bike will warm up your heart and legs – but what will it do for your arms, back, chest and abs? Pretty much nothing. So be absolutely prepared (not a stomach pun, but laughter approved) by doing at least 15 minutes of warming up, in movements that will get ample amounts of blood flow to every muscle group you intend to work that day.