You've got the enthusiasm, the time, and the cute workout gear, and now you're ready to hit the gym. Don't ruin your workout by doing these big preworkout no-nos.
Cold stretching: Yes, you're supposed to warm up before you work out, but stretching muscles when they're cold can lead to injuries and poor performance. Instead, warm up with five minutes of light cardio or start off slow for the first 10 minutes of your run, bike ride, or swim. Another option is dynamic stretching, which raises your heartbeat while loosening the muscles. Here are six dynamic warm-up moves to replace your usual preworkout hamstring stretches.
Keep reading for two more big preworkout don'ts after the break.
Eating too much: You're starving, you can feel your energy draining, but your workout is imminent; all can lead you to overeat right before a workout. Eating too much (or the wrong kinds of foods) before exercising can lead to cramping, feeling sluggish, and an overall poor-quality workout. The same goes for drinking water: even though it's important to stay hydrated during your workout, don't down so much that you can feel it sloshing in your stomach. Instead, follow our primer of what to eat and when to eat before working out.
Not planning ahead: Make sure to you have a strategy for an effective workout regimen before actually heading into the gym. Come up with a schedule of the types of workouts you want to do for the week, and prep everything you need ahead of time — from the right gear to the the right clothing — to keep you from scrambling at the last minute. All will ensure you maximize your time and avoid falling into the trap of a mindless workout.