Modern Athlete Magazine Issue 166 March 2024 | Page 73

Gym Training

10 Tips Before You Gym By Candice De Mendonca

We all love a top 10 list , so let ’ s look at 10 great ways to get the most out of your training sessions in the gym . What you put in is what you get out !
Images : Pexels
1 Pre-workout nutrition : Consuming a snack 30 minutes to an hour before training provides your body with the necessary fuel for optimal performance . A balanced snack , like a piece of fruit , e . g . a nartjie , paired with black coffee can provide a quick energy boost without causing digestive discomfort during exercise . Note , however , that a banana takes longer to digest , so is not ideal just before a workout – you would need to time this properly , or you may get an upset stomach , and potentially feel nauseous or vomit . ( On the other hand , banana and two boiled eggs makes a great post-workout recovery meal , due to the nutritional composition of these foods .)
2 Hydration is key : Hydrating adequately before your workout session is crucial , as you lose water and electrolytes through sweat during physical activity . Aim to drink at least 500ml of water prior to training to stay hydrated and maintain proper electrolyte balance .
3 Plan workouts long-term : Planning your workouts in 12-week increments allows for progressive overload and goalsetting . It provides structure and helps you track your progress over time , making adjustments as needed to keep challenging yourself , in order to achieve your goals .
4 Research-based approach : Be discerning of gym myths and “ bro science .” Conduct your own factual research and rely on evidence-based information when making decisions about your workout routines , nutrition , and supplementation .
5 Functional warm-up : Before diving into your workout routine , it ’ s crucial to engage in a functional warm-up . This helps increase blood flow to your muscles and joints , and prepares your body for the upcoming physical activity . Dynamic movements like arm circles , leg swings and lunges can be great components of a warm-up routine .
Candice De Mendonca is a personal trainer and sports nutritionist from Johannesburg . At school she earned SA colours for cross country , as well as provincial colours for athletics , hockey and swimming , then completed a degree in sports development , qualified as a personal trainer and sports masseuse , and went on to study sports nutrition as well . Today she has her own meal prep brand called GI Jane ( low-GI food , hence the name ). More info at https :// thefitnesshybrid . com .
6 Controlled movements : Focus on executing movements with a slow and controlled approach , rather than relying on momentum . This ensures that you target the intended muscle groups effectively with TUT ( time under tension ) as well as isometric holds , and reduces the risk of injury by avoiding jerky or uncontrolled movements . I see momentum and swinging all over the gym . This is such an eyesore and heartbreak for me ... injuries just waiting to happen !
7 Focus on form and alignment : Proper form and alignment during exercises are paramount to prevent injuries and maximise effectiveness . Utilise mirrors and seek guidance from fitness professionals to ensure you maintain correct posture and angles throughout your workout routines .
8 Static stretching : Incorporate static stretching into your post-workout routine to help cool down muscles and improve flexibility . This can aid in reducing muscle soreness and enhancing recovery post-exercise .
9 Post-workout nutrition : After exercising , prioritise consuming a quick-absorbing meal containing both protein and carbohydrates , or a protein shake ( preferably whey isolate , as low-fat dairy is still considered the best sports nutritional recovery aid ), but based on your dietary requirements , you can still reap benefits from other protein and protein shake sources . This aids in muscle recovery , replenishes glycogen stores , and supports overall post-exercise recovery .
10 Variety and enjoyment : Keep your exercise routine engaging and fun by incorporating variety and creativity . Explore different forms of exercise , classes or outdoor activities , to prevent boredom and maintain motivation in your fitness journey .

Bonus Tip : Strength for Runners

Strength training is a crucial component for runners . It not only helps prevent injuries , but also enhances your running performance . Here are some gym tips specifically for runners :
• Lift weights : Focus on a moderate number of repetitions of relatively heavy weights , allowing for full recovery . This will help you build strength and power without bulking up .
• Compound exercises : Emphasise movements that involve multiple joints and muscle groups , such as lunges , squats , rows and deadlifts , which enhance coordination , stride efficiency and overall body awareness .
• Single-leg exercises : Since running involves one-legged movements , include exercises like single-leg deadlifts and lunges . These will help to address any strength imbalances between your legs .
• Full-body approach : Work your entire body , not just specific muscle groups , because strengthening your core , back and upper body contributes to overall stability and balance .