5 tips to get you excited for your workout:
There are days when the sun is shining, the air is warm and the road is perfectly paved awaiting your treaded sneakers to hit it with full force. And then there are the more realistic days that are cold, rainy, grey and make you want to work from bed for the rest of the day. Since sunny days are never guaranteed, we’re going to help you build a bulletproof plan to get you primed and pumped full of energy for your workout. Ready, set, run!
Tip #1: Get A Good Night’s Sleep
- If you want energy, you need to allow your body a chance to rest and recover. While we’re dozing off to dreamland, our bodies release a hormone called HGH, Human Growth Hormone. This hormone helps to regulate our body composition, fluid levels, muscle and bone growth, regulate our metabolism and helps to repair and build healthy brain tissue. It does all of that? Yes. And it helps us burn body fat and improve the appearance of our skin! *insert mic drop here.* Ideally, you should be obtaining an optimal 8-hours of sleep every night to ensure that your body has a chance to reset itself for the day ahead. Studies have found that chronic sleep deprivation decreases the time before an athlete reaches exhaustion. In other words, the less sleep that you obtain, the faster you are going to call it quits on your run or shorten the distance of it all together. We know that sleep impairs our mental performance and reduces our ability to think clearly, just think back to the last time you sat in one of your University lectures after pulling an all-nighter. Did you remember anything? Probably not. Most people overlook the fact that running is both a mental and physical sport. Our bodies are capable of running longer distances before fatiguing than we can fathom, it's our minds we have to convince. Before you turn to a scoop of pre-workout, a cup of coffee or a sugary gel to pump you up for your next run, try looking at your sleeping habits. Can you get an extra hour of sleep tonight? Can you take a power nap? How can you improve your bedtime routine so you can fall asleep faster? Optimize your sleep and you’ll optimize your run!
Tip #2: Music
- You could be in the worst mood on planet earth, but the moment Single Ladies by Beyonnce plays in the car, on your iPhone or at the club, you can’t help but start to dance. Music has the power to evoke emotion, generate energy and the ability to help bring people together. When you’re feeling tired and your mind is wandering down the path of trying to convince you to skip your run, turn to your Triple Threat Playlist. The TTP is a playlist that you will create of songs composed by your favourite artist or genre. These songs need to be transitional, meaning they help you transition into the mindset of a runner. They should pump you up, energize and motivate you and send a sliver of electricity through your body that leaves you feeling ready and primed for your run ahead. Hit the music, your feet are about to run all over this town!
Tip #3: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate
- Fatigue is one of the most common signs of dehydration. It's also the easiest and cheapest problem to solve! If you’re thirsty, it means that you are already dehydrated, so it's important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Hydration for runners is another story. When we are dehydrated, our fluid levels cause a drop in blood volume which forces our hearts to work harder to circulate oxygen and nutrients through the bloodstream to our brain, skin and nails. We’re already exerting so much energy during our run, why make our bodies work even harder? Keep your body, skin and brain hydrated with Ener-C Sport Electrolyte Mixture. Watch your energy levels increase, your fatigue disappear and your running distances and times improve!
Tip # 4: Pre-Workout Meal
- Low energy and fatigue can be a sign of hunger and low blood sugar. Give your body the nutrition it needs to get you through your challenging run! The size and caloric density vary based on the time of your run. If you are 30 minutes out from your run, you’ll want to consume strictly fast digesting carbs like applesauce, a banana or an orange. If you’re 60 minutes out, try consuming a simple carbohydrate and a small amount of fat such as a banana and almond butter or an apple with a handful of nuts/seeds. Anything longer than 90 minutes out, try eating a small meal that contains all three macronutrients; protein, carbohydrates and fat. This can be a smoothie made with protein powder, fruit and peanut butter or a piece of avocado toast with an egg on top. You have the freedom to get as creative with your pre-workout meals as you like!
Tip #5: Caffeine
- We saved this one for last because most people will turn to this option first. Caffeine is an incredible supplement when used properly to increase energy, focus, mental alertness, memory, exercise performance and our metabolism. Woah. It does all of that? So why aren’t we drinking coffee by the pitcher? Because caffeine is a dehydrant and diuretic. This means that not only would we have to live within 10 feet of a bathroom, we would also need to drink water like it's our part time job. Caffeine is a powerful exercise enhancer when used correctly - be sure to consume it far enough away from your bedtime to not interfere with sleep. Ideally, aim to finish your last source of caffeine within 6-8 hours before bed. This greatly reduces the amount of caffeine in your system when you’re trying to drift off to sleep and will improve the quality of rest and recovery your body goes through as a result. If you’re looking for a natural pre-workout source, turn to a natural pre-workout or a cup of coffee. These two options will have your body ready to run in no time!
Phew, you made it to the end without falling asleep. That likely means you have a touch more energy - yahoo! Now it's time to get to work. Implement one or all five tips listed above and get your run on. Remember, half the battle is just starting. Put one foot in front of the other and you’ll generate the momentum to keep you going! Ready, set, run!
-By Lindsay Mustard. Lindsay is a Holistic Nutritionist, firefighter-in-training and recipe-wizard with a burning passion for health and fitness. In her nutrition practice, Lindsay works with clients to craft a unique plan that is tailored to their specific health goals using a natural, whole food and supplement approach.