Going to the gym is second nature to most modern people. If we don’t go to the gym, we take part in some form of physical exercise by swimming, skipping rope, or running in the local park.
However, if you are a man of the 21st century who loves working out, or is trying to get back in shape, there are a few points you must keep in mind.
Going to the gym is not sufficient to build muscle and feel refreshed overall. If you go to the gym on an empty stomach you will suffer from low blood-sugar during the exercise session, making you feel fatigued and leaving you unable to complete a great workout. Putting the right foods into your body before a workout will help you work out harder overall.
This doesn’t mean gorging on empty calories found in junk food, but instead you need to pick the right foods which will help increase your energy levels. Some of the best pre-workout foods are:
- Yogurt and Fruit: This is a powerful pre-work out combination. Fruit is packed with carbohydrates, while Greek yogurt is rich in protein. The fast-release carbohydrates in fruit energize you throughout your workout and the protein comes in handy after your workout to help prevent your muscles from getting damaged.
- Oats: Rich in fiber, they keep your energy levels high, thanks to the steady release of carbohydrates. Oats don’t make you gassy and contain plenty of vitamin B to help convert carbohydrates into energy for your workout. Have a small helping of oats at least half-an-hour before you start your work out.
- Bananas: They are high in Potassium, which helps maintain nerve and muscle function. Eat a medium-sized banana before your workout to keep yourself energized. Bananas are also full of the right type of carbohydrates, which don’t remain stored in your body for too long. Overall, this is a complete food by itself, making it the perfect pre-workout snack.
Remember that all these foods are to be eaten as snacks and not as meals. If you eat too much it will lead to indigestion, nausea and can even cause vomiting during your work out. On the other hand, some of the worst pre-work out foods, which must be avoided at all costs, are:
- The Wrong Carbohydrates: Avoid any carbohydrates that you find in raw sugar or junk food. These types of carbohydrates will give you a sugar rush and during your workout, you will feel a crash.
- Fatty foods: Not only does fat leave the stomach extremely slowly, it also makes you feel lethargic, while increasing the chances of getting cramps during any form of exercise.
During the Workout
The modern man doesn’t look at exercise as a chore, but as a chance to improve his fitness levels and release stress. According to the American Psychological Association, Americans are more stressed than ever. The APA, in its annual ‘Stress In America’ found that 49% of Americans are stressed over the results of the election, 66% are stressed about the nation’s future, and 57% are stressed about the political climate in general.
Interestingly, the APA has been running the survey for the last decade and 2017 is the first time that stress levels have been found to have increased suddenly. We lead hectic lives and stress levels will only be lowered by leading better lives mentally and physically. Exercise goes a long way to tackle stress and is something that any modern man must incorporate into his life.
This makes your workout time extra precious, and you must focus on the present. Concentrate on the exercises you are doing and let all your worries slip away. A great way to stay focused and enjoy the moment is to listen to your favorite music when sweating it out. It’s worth investing in a great set of head phones to keep your blood pumping. If you don’t like its wires, you can opt for Bluetooth earphones.
Gym Bag Essentials
Most gyms today are equipped with the latest machines and technology, so there’s no reason your gym bag can’t be as modern as possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to invest in over-priced gimmickry, but it means you need to be armed with the correct tools that will help you get the most out of your workout. Whether you are an avid runner or prefer lifting plenty of weights, or both, here’s what you need to carry in your gym bag:
- Clean Water Bottle: This is a must if you want to stay hydrated during and after a workout. Get one which has a leak-proof top. Clean the bottle regularly to avoid any mold forming at the bottom. For best results try a bottle with a bottom that unscrews for easy cleaning.
- Laundry Bag: An odour-absorbing laundry bag will make sure your post-workout gym bag smells fresh and clean. This is an essential item for the modern man who loves a good gym session in the middle of the work day.
- Earphones: Now you have the option of sweat-proof earphones as well as regular in-ear ones. In addition to this, there are a million different varieties to choose from, so there is absolutely no reason for you to suffer a potentially terrible playlist curated by the gym staff.
- Gloves: If you lift weights, you must wear gloves. They help you get a better grip and to keep nasty calluses and blisters at bay.
- Flip-Flops: Did you know gym showers and changing rooms are a breeding ground for some of the nastiest bacteria and germs around? Save yourself some medical headaches and wear your own pair of flip-flops during the post-workout shower, steam or sauna.
- Other Essentials: There are some items no gym bag is complete without, and these include a spare pair of socks, shower gel, shampoo and deodorant. Most gyms today provide fresh towels so you can skip packing those.
Keep these points in mind to have a great workout that will give you optimal results and help you focus on being the best version of yourself. For the modern man, exercising means relieving stress, clearing your head and improving fitness levels. With the right nutrition and tools, you can radically improve the time spent sweating in the gym.
Korie Cantor is a writer who writes about living and lifestyle. She possesses a great sense of style and loves to share her thoughts about fashion and it’s latest trends. Follow her @koriecantor