Let’s be honest, nobody likes to stretch. Stretching just isn’t fun! But let’s also be real, unless you’re under the age of 30, the body just doesn’t move like it used to.
Even still, regardless of age, stretching can be key when making sure you are at your optimal level when exercising. So the question is, Should you stretch before or after a workout?
I will breakdown the importance of why you should stretch, when you should stretch and how you should stretch when getting ready to take your body through a workout.
Improve Flexibility and Range of Motion – Stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility and range of motion while conducting a workout. By doing so, you are able to get the maximum benefit with any specific exercise you are doing.
Whether it is strength training, Running, or performing in competition, you are allowing your body to push at full capacity.
Warming up your body – You’re also getting the muscles warmed up and ready to complete a workout.
Especially as you get older, you will start to notice that when the body isn’t warmed up, you will feel a little tight and not able to move as freely as you would if you warmed up properly.
Getting the body warmed up also helps in preventing injury. So stretching can be a great help in making sure the body is good to go before performing a workout.
There are a two main types of stretching techniques you will see people do before or after a workout. Each stretch has its pros and cons, but both try to achieve one main goal, which is to get the body ready to perform. The two types of stretches are Static and Dynamic and I will explain how both are effective in getting the body ready.
Static Stretching – which you will see most people do before or after a workout, either while sitting down or standing up. The purpose of this stretch is to make sure that all tight muscles are stretch out before performing an exercise.
Usually tight muscles within the body are shortened and need to be stretched out. So you will see people stationary in positions that are meant to lengthen the muscle that feels tight.
Dynamic Stretching – this type of stretch involves more movement as you are preparing the body for a particular exercise you are about to perform.
For example, you tend to see track athletes that are getting ready for a sprint race perform high knees while pumping their arms.
Since during the race this will be the actual motion they will be performing, it helps make sure their body is operating at full potential.
Research has also shown that dynamic stretching helps more with getting your body ready for the workout as where static stretching can decrease strength if done before before a workout.
Which gets me to the question, should you stretch before or after a workout?
The recommended amount of time to stretch each muscle, is usually about 30 seconds long. Keep in mind that every person is different so you want to make sure you stretch for as long as it takes for your body to get warmed up for the workout. Depending on the your workout, making sure your body is prepared to do that workout is important to making sure you prevent injury.
So if you are getting ready to do squats, doing dynamic stretching will provide a more efficient workout if performed before. Static stretching done before a workout is known to reduce your strength thus causing you to not perform your exercise at optimal level.
I would recommend doing some static stretches after your workout where the muscles tend to be tight(shortened) to make sure you lengthen them to get them loose.
This is a good time to focus on your breathing and get your mind right after an intense workout. Also, I would highly recommend you invest in a foam roller which can be a great tool for loosening up your muscles before and after a workout
So please comment below and let us know how you prepare for a workout. Whether you stretch before or after a workout and how does your body feel afterwards.
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I know how intimidating it can be to hear the word kickboxing. I’m sure the first thing that enters your mind when you hear it is fighting. Well I am here to tell you that it is possible to get in shape and burn fat with kickboxing, and not have to worry about taking a beating while doing it. If anything, you will be doing most of the beating while looking and feeling great!
Not only is kickboxing a great workout, it can also be fun. There are so many different types of exercises out there, that it can be quite difficult to find one that works for you. So imagine finding something that you can enjoy, but still get all the benefits of an intense workout. Some people wonder and ask the question, can you lose weight with kickboxing?
If so, how fast? I will try and help walk you through some of the ways that kickboxing can be a new and exciting part of your fitness life.
Keep in mind, as I mention kickboxing, I am not talking about Billy Blanks Tae bo air boxing stuff. I’m talking about actually hitting real bags and getting all the stress and aggression going on in your life out on these workouts. Plus all that air boxing is a whole bunch of cardio which is breaking down a lot of muscle, but I will get to that later.
So a good place to start is a private gym. Although they may be tough to find, many kickboxing gyms are opening up all over the place catered to helping people get in shape. A couple that come to mind are Ilovekickboxing and title boxing. I know first hand because I currently am an instructor at a kickboxing studio and trust me, the workout will definitely kick your butt.
If you just google kickboxing in your area, I’m sure you will find something you could join and be apart of an awesome community of people trying to get in shape just like you. Most of them allow you trial classes just to see if it is something you will like before choosing to becoming a member. So it doesn’t hurt to at least try, right?
You can burn anywhere from 500 to 1000 calories in a kickboxing class depending on how much effort you give during the class. Now with anything in life, it takes hard work and commitment. So when making fitness a part of you healthy lifestyle, you must make that commitment to yourself to stick with a routine that could potentially help you get great results.
So once you have found a studio, if you could commit yourself to kickboxing at least 3 days a week along with eating healthy, you will be amazed at how quickly the results will start to show not just on the scale, but in photos. Most kickboxing classes are usually 60 minutes long, but trust it will be the quickest 60 minutes of your life.
Now if you’re thinking that you will only be doing kickboxing for the whole 60 minutes, well guess again. The great thing about these kickboxing classes is that it is very structured so you know exactly what to do and when to do it. The general breakdown of any kickboxing class goes as follows:
Conditioning 15 min – this is considered the warmup part of the workout, but most definitely the most intense part. So if you can get through this part, which I’m sure you can, then you can get through the class no doubt.
So basically you go through a series of body weight exercises where the instructor makes you do a bunch of pushups, squats and everyone’s favorite, BURPEES. Now I know it may seem like a lot of hard work, but the best thing about this part is that you can go at your own pace and not feel like a total failure. If you need to step back and catch your breath, you can do that without feeling bad about it. Regardless if you are a beginner or experienced, you can challenge yourself at a pace you are comfortable with.
Stretching 6 min – I’m sure we all know how important it is to stretch and make sure the muscles are loose and prepared to get into the workout. So this is the time for you to gather yourself after an intense “warmup.”
Heavy Bag Rounds 25 min – Now on to the fun part where you get to be in your own zone and release a lot of tension on the bags.
There are usually six 3 min rounds where you go through a serious of different combos for each round. Now if you’re thinking to yourself, oh man, I have no idea what I’m doing. Don’t worry, you should be given a personal instructor for your first day to go through the basics of the combos while the main instructor will teach more advanced combos to members who have been there longer.
One of the best parts about this part of the class is the fact that you don’t have to worry about people judging you on the bags as everyone is so focused on doing their own thing.
Partner Drills 5 min – This part of the workout is where you get to partner up with someone and get focus on accuracy and coordination. Instead of doing combos on the heavy bag, your target will be the gloves of your partner. This will allow you to really focus on your accuracy and also have fun with you partner a bit.
Partner Conditioning 5 min – In this drill, you will still be partnered up where one partner may do wall sits while the other partner is doing combos on the heavy bag. Then you will be asked to switch and do the other respective exercise. With this part of the workout, there are various routines of different exercises you may be asked to do, so definitely be ready.
Cool Down & Stretch – This is where you get to cool down and relax your muscles for all the hard work you put into class.
For most people, losing weight is the main goal for wanting to join a kickboxing studio since you can burn so many calories during the workout. But what some may not know is that kickboxing is a great way to also Burn Fat!
What separates kickboxing from your normal routine at the gym, which may include a lot of cardio on the treadmill, is that you get the cardio and the resistance training all in one workout. You see, too much cardio can break down muscle, so if one of your goals is to get that nice toned defined look, then you are defeating the purpose by doing so much cardio.
With kickboxing, you get both the cardio and resistance training with all the body movements. From the warmup where you are doing all body weight exercises to the heavy bag rounds where resistance is given with every punch and kick, you are burn a bunch of calories throughout the body.
At the same time, you are getting that heart rate up which helps with the fat burning process. So with all this, you are getting a more efficient workout when it comes to burning fat and building muscle.
Most places will provide you everything you need to participate in the workout, but make sure to ask just in case. You should be given gloves to protect your knuckles when punching the bag. Hand wraps may also be used to to help support the wrist and knuckles, but usually these are worn by more experienced kickboxers.
Be prepared to workout in either barefoot or socks as some studios do not allow sneakers or shoes on the mats. Make sure to wear comfortable clothing as you will sweat a lot during your workout. Other than that, make sure to bring your effort and a great attitude and I’m sure you will get the workout of your life!
The time most people wait to decide to get in shape. You figure it’s a perfect time to start something new, something fresh and make that commitment to focus on you.
So you look for ways on how to get in shape now, but then weeks go by and the feeling of something new and exciting slowly fades away until the next New Year comes rolling along.
As we all know, a new years resolution just isn’t enough anymore to get you started in your fitness journey. You have to find your WHY!
Before you decide to get in shape today. You must first decide what your why is. I say this because, before I decided to get involved in the health and fitness world, I had to find out my reason or passion for wanting to get involved.
It couldn’t be just about oh I like lifting weights. I needed something that was going to get me through the days when motivation can be tough to find.
So when I decided that my why would be to help inspire and motivate others, I knew this was something I could stick with for the long haul.
Some of your why’s could be:
Now once you have located your why, I want you to Imagine how it would feel to accomplish any of the above goals. Sometimes you need to imagine yourself in the moment to help give you the push you need to get in shape.
When it comes to trying to get in shape, it’s easy to start and then quickly fade especially when results are not quickly seen. So it’s important to always remember your why so when you feel like falling off the wagon you say to yourself….NOT TODAY!
Before you decide to get in shape, you first have to find out what type of exerciser you are. What I mean by this is, how do you like to workout? Are you a person who likes to workout by themselves, or in a group?
From my experience with speaking with those trying to get in shape is that most women tend to like working out in a group and men prefer to workout by themselves. So regardless if that is the case or not, first decide that for yourself.
Once you have figured what kind of exerciser you are, it’s time to decide what kind of exercise you want to get involved in. As many of you know, there are many different types of exercises to choose from.
The tough part is choosing the right exercise for you that will not only get you in shape, but is going to provide some excitement and fun for you as you push through this journey of awesomeness.
The reason I bring up finding something you will have fun with is because from speaking with people, getting in shape can be hard for most.
There will be a lot of sweat and soreness, so you want to make sure that whatever you are doing to get in shape is something you will look forward to for at least 3 hours per week.
What also helps is finding a workout buddy. Someone where you could hold each other accountable for days when you feel like sleeping in.
This is can be a crucial part of trying to get in shape because the days where you just don’t feel like doing anything and trust, there will be those days.
Your accountability partner is there to make sure there is no slacking off. So find a friend and make it a priority to workout together.
The Few ways to get started in fitness again depends on what kind of exerciser you are. The few ways are:
Join a Big box gym
Some of the benefits to joining a gym is its affordability. You pay a monthly membership and you have available to you all the amenities the gym has to offer.
If you are person that likes to workout by themselves, the gym is a great place get in the zone and do your thing. Some gyms even offer group training classes for those that like to workout in a group.
But with positives comes negatives and one negative that many people have with gyms is the lack of motivation. Most people join a gym and then months later forget they even have a membership.
Also, a lack of comfort when it comes to working out due to not knowing exactly what to do. Lastly, not feeling a sense of want when they check in.
Front desk workers don’t really know your name and what your goals are so there is no one there to ask you how everything is going.
Hire a Personal Trainer
Although personal trainers can be expensive, hiring a personal trainer is a great way to help get you motivated and show you exercises that can help you reach your goals.
Keep in mind that you can hire a personal trainer at either a big box gym or a private studio.
One concern I have with trainers from big box gyms is that the gym itself is more concerned with selling memberships and products rather than you reaching your fitness goals.
Which makes it difficult for the trainers to really focus on really helping you get in shape.
Private Studio Group Training
The great thing about private studio is that they are not only focused on getting memberships, but YOU! Their focus is making sure you are successful in reaching your goals because if you are successful, then so are they.
What I also like about group training in studios is their per class affordability. The monthly cost may seem high, but if you break it down per class, you are getting a great deal.
Unlike 1 on 1 personal training session where the cost can be pretty high, large groups can be more affordable for the individual.
There are many studios out there that offer all different types of workouts. You have kickboxing studios that focus on fitness and not fighting.
You also have studios where they focus only on weight training. So depending on what your goals are, there are many studios out there to fit what you are looking for.
Who doesn’t like working outdoors! If you love the sun and the fresh air, then this is an awesome way to get in shape.
Running tends to be a great thing to do when outside, but you can also do some group training sessions outdoors.
Of course you have to worry about the weather, but working outdoors is an awesome way to start getting in shape.
Working out at Home
If you like being in your own space and not worrying about the hassle of waiting for machines and costly memberships, then working out at home may be for you.
Depending if you’re into lifting weights, cardio or even a little yoga, working out at home can be a very cost effective method to getting in shape.
Just keep in mind that if you are a person who struggles with motivation, then working out at home can be quite a task as no one is there to push you.
So there you have it. Some of the ways to help you get started on your fitness journey and on your way to getting in shape today.
So please leave your comments below and let us know some of the ways you like to get in shape.
Imagine burning fat while you are sleeping. How about while you are sitting down watching tv. Would you believe me if I said it were possible to burn that stubborn belly fat while doing the things you enjoy most?
Most people think that the only way to burn fat is by being active all throughout the day. Well like most people, life gets in the way and makes it kinda difficult for anyone to focus on their journey to health and fitness.
Let me guess, you work in an office where you sit all day and makes it hard for you to be active. Or maybe you have a job where walk most of the time and you feel that satisfies your fitness needs, but for some reason the belly fat just does not feel the same way.
Well there is, and that way is by building muscle through resistance training. Now resistance training can be done with bodyweight training or weights.
Oh I can here the Ladies saying nooooo, I don’t want to get bulky like a guy. Makes me laugh every time I hear this.
Please understand this, the female body does not produce enough testosterone to make you bulky so no need to worry there. Also, if that ever was the case, you could always dial back with the weights.
Building muscle is one of the most efficient ways to burn fat throughout the body. Muscles requires a lot of energy to maintain itself thus helping increase metabolism.
Increase in metabolism leads to more calories burned and more calories burned leads to weight loss. Plus muscles help in sculpting your body the way you desire.
The three most important parts of the body to build muscle happens to be 3 of the largest muscles in your body:
I know what you are thinking, but I want to burn the fat in my belly. Know this, there is no way to spot reduce fat in any exact part of the body. Once you build muscle in these 3 areas of the body, your body will work that much harder to feed your muscles thus helping you burn fat that much faster.
So Don’t be afraid to build that muscle and burn that unwanted FAT. Your body will thank you for it I’m sure.
So how have your attempts to melt away that fat been going. Please share your experiences and leave your comments below. Can’t wait to hear from you!