I want to start this post off by informing you that there is a lot of conflicting science on pre and post workout dogmas, be it stretching, how long you should warm up, the after workout shake, or even the timing of all of this.
That being said, you must understand that the world of fitness science is still relatively new and has been receiving more and more attention as the years go on. What is fact today could possibly be disproven tomorrow! As educated human beings, we must remember to reserve the right to change our mind based on the body of knowledge we currently possess.
So let’s get down to the skinny …
For a long time, it has been thought that stretching pre workout was not only the best way to warm up the muscles and body for activity but also had the benefit of deterring muscle injury during your workout.
Post Workout Stretching
Stretching post workout was thought to be an ideal way to cool the body down after vigorous activity. Allowing the muscle fibers to continue moving and contracting while in a warm state (thus increasing range of motion)
Muscle fibers that had been knotted and compacted could be stretched back out, giving added benefit to our workouts.
As well, post workout stretching was thought to be the best way to ensure extra nutrient delivery to the muscle tissues.
What the facts are:
Stretching is beneficial to any routine in general. It allows us to stretch out any stressed fibers and help the muscle return to a full range of motion while simultaneously helping us increase our range of motion. Stretching warms up muscles tissue through movement and assists the process of blood vessel dilation and nutrient delivery.
Warm and pliable muscle tissue is less likely to be injured.
So, will the timing of your stretching make or break your routine? No. Will not stretching at all absolutely destroy your hopes of having the body you want? No.
It is my recommendation that you find a way to work stretching into your routine, because it does have benefits that will assist you in your journey.
Personally, I am a fan of stretching during my routine. During my rest phases I actively stretch the tissues I am working. I have found from personal experience that this mode of stretching has allowed me to push out 1 or 2 extra reps sometimes, which is always an added bonus for trying to build gains.
As a side note, stretching to warm up is great. Especially if you don’t utilize any other means to warm up, but, regardless, warming the body up by working the active tissue is all that is necessary to avoid injury.
Pre-Workout Supplements and Nutrition
Supplements? The market is absolutely flooded with supplements that scream at you how amazing they are and how you will become superman!
Creatine will make your muscles explode!
This muscle pump will make you pump extra reps!
Rabble Rabble Buy Our Product Rabble Rabble!
Nutrition must be done in a certain window to see the ultimate gains or you may as well throw your workout out the window.
Post Workout Supplements and Nutrition
Supplements! PUT THIS IN YOUR BODY NOW! YOU NEED IT!
This supplement will speed up your post workout recovery and have you feeling like a million bucks!
Ever heard of the anabolic window? You’ve only got 30 – 45 minutes following a workout to pound that protein shake bro! Bro!? You hear me Bro!? If you don’t feed that monster RIGHT NOW you are missing out!
What the facts are:
There is a lot of science and pseudoscience that has long pointed to things such as the anabolic window following a workout. What researchers are starting to agree upon more and more, is that this supposed window, is a lot bigger than originally thought. More like, 3 to 6 hours.
That in mind, and thinking of supplements, you have to understand that many supplements aren’t backed up by hard scientific evidence and the industry itself is barely regulated (Which is why you see the statement: “Has not been tested or approved by the FDA”) and the success of them selling is solely based on creating the notion that you actually need them.
I used to be a proponent of hitting that anabolic window post workout and would religiously chug my protein shake thinking that it was the only way to maximize my gains from my routines.
This just isn’t the case. I can tell you from my own personal experience and other trainers I have worked with, that clean eating and eating the right foods is far superior to relying on a supplement. Not only that, but you actually know where your food came from and what’s in it!
Looking at pre-workout supplements, I must also confess I was a user of several of those as well be it creatine to explode muscle growth or pumps to force those extra reps. From all of this I gained a little. But here’s the kicker … Sans pre-workout and post workout supplements and just eating clean, again, I have surpassed any of my old benchmarks. I won’t knock anyone for conducting their own experiments in pursuit of their goals, but from my own experience, I’ve had better results from a foundation of solid nutrition.
To finish up though, I want to talk about pre and post workout nutrition from a food standpoint. Regardless of how big the anabolic window post workout is for nutrition, it is still important that you feed your body after thrashing it in a fitness routine. Equally, it is important to properly fuel your machine before putting it into the aforementioned gambit. My best advice? If you are really concerned with meal timing and trying to get the most out of it (though the differences are small) eating 2 – 3 hours prior to exercise (protein, carbs, nutrient dense food) will allow it to metabolize and be in your blood during your workout which is when your muscles will start the process of demanding those goodies.
The take away ladies and gentlemen, is that there is no magic pill. There is no perfect regimen or routine (that we have identified yet.) But what we are finding out is that everyone’s body is different, and you will see your best results by listening to your body and responding to it accordingly.
Feed your body well, train hard, and watch it take flight.