So today I decided to change my warm-up routine and I instantly regretted it. I normal do 5 minutes of cardio, but thought I would do a tabata set of push-ups I spent the next 5 five minutes doing 20 seconds of push-ups and then resting for 10 seconds. Not a bad warm-up, if I was doing legs. But today was chest day, which is the reason I chose to do push-ups in the first place.
Today’s warm-up got my heart rate up, and I definitely got warm, however I fatigued the very muscles that I needed to perform my first few exercises. Suddenly I found myself unable to lift the same weight I have been lifting for the past few weeks. The first three exercise on chest and triceps day are Incline Press, Incline Flye and Dumbbell Press. As you can see these three exercises rely on the same muscles I used to do the push-ups. No other exercise was effected, and by the time I was done with these three exercises I was able to move to the other exercises on my list as if it was a normal day. The reason for that is because my first exercise focus on big muscle groups and the next series focuses on small/individual muscles.
Now after beating myself up a little and wondering if I was in need of extra calories, I realized what I had done and I thought it would be a good idea to talk with you all about it. So here are my tips for warming up.
1- Prepare properly for you session. This means eat and drink the appropriate items before going to the gym. I make sure I eat thirty minutes prior to a lifting session. For me this usually means a protein and carbohydrate packed snack bar, with a full drink of Spark. This gives me all natural energy as well as fuel for my muscles and building blocks to prevent loss of muscle.
2- Warm-up properly. Unlike I did today, you should always warm-up properly. My plan typical looks like this- jog on the elliptical for 5 minutes when working chest, when working back and biceps I use the treadmill for 5 minutes, I row on a row machine on leg day, and on shoulder days I ride the bike. Chest is the first day of my workout week and I use the elliptical because it works my arms and my legs, but does not require me to push and use the bench press muscles. Biceps are day two and the treadmill works for this because there is no pulling of the arms like with an elliptical. Leg days i use the row machine because the hard part of the row is with the core and arms, and so my legs are not worked. And lastly I bike on shoulder day to loosen my legs up from the day before and let my upper body rest a little.
3- Hydrate properly. When lifting fill a bottle of water and after each set take a few sips. You should never drink enough to be full or feel the water in your stomach, but just enough keep yourself from getting thirsty. For me I do not like Gatorade. For a lifting session Gatorade has too many grams of carbs and sugar. Advocare has a new Rehydrate drink that has half the calories, half the carbs, half the sugar and more amino acids. I just started taking that and I am liking it so far.
4- Maintain a well balanced supplement and dietary routine. Make sure you are getting enough calories on a daily basis and have a post workout recovery snack or shake that works for you. For me it has always been a protein shake. And lately with the intensity of my workouts I have added a second shake to my day. I am currently about half way through my old protein brand and will order Advocare Post Workout Recovery next month!
5- Get enough sleep. This is easy enough. Be sure to get 7 to 8 hours a day, and do not go lift if you are tired. It is OK to take a day off and wait to lift when your body is ready for it.
Follow these simple steps and you will avoid workout fatigue.