7 Ways To Take The Headache Out Of Hitting The Gym Before Work

What to eat before a workout:

I counsel my patients to eat before exercise because I think it will give them the best chance to get the most out of their workouts. Not eating enough before a workout can make you dizzy, lightheaded, nauseated, or lethargic. It can also make you more likely to injure yourself. And even if none of these things happen, skipping food can negatively impact your performance and reduce your gains.

But I know that realistically you won't always have the time (or desire) to eat before a workout. On nights when you're scrambling to get from the office to your favorite studio for that 6:00 p.m. class it might feel impossible to squeeze in a snack on the way. And what do you do if you're a morning workout person who doesn't like to eat breakfast? (Psst: It's fine not to eat breakfast despite all that most-important-meal-of-the-day talk.)

The truth is that for most people it's OK to work out on an empty stomach (though I would not recommend doing so if you have blood sugar issues). So if you can't even grab a protein bar or the idea of forcing down a bite makes you want to gag, that's all right. But ideally you should fuel up before you work up a sweat—and definitely, definitely drink water before, during, and after. Here's how and what to eat before a workout.


Beginner gym workout for males

This workout is designed to help men gain strength and lean mass. This is a full body beginner workout with an extra focus on the arms and core. You’ll find by the end of this plan that all your numbers (reps or amount of weight lifted) on the exercises should increase nearly every week and you will have noticed changes in your body shape.Read this guide to help you get started.

  • Seated chest press (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Seated rows (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Wide grip lat pulldown (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Seated leg press (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Dumbbell seated shoulder press (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Dumbbell bicep curls (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Close grip tricep press ups (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Cable rotations/twists (10 reps x 4 sets)
  • Reverse crunches (10 reps x 4 sets) 

How can I improve my knowledge and skills at work?

5 Ways To Develop Your Skills On The Job

  1. Get A Mentor & Be A Mentor. Having a mentor at work is crucial to attaining new skills and knowledge.
  2. Raise Your Hand For New Challenges.
  3. Read, Read, Read & Look For Problems To Solve.
  4. Make Friends (Network) In Other Departments.
  5. Find The Learning Opportunities Internally.

4. Make sure your pre-workout snack has protein

In addition to carbs it's a good idea to consume a little bit of protein before your workout—especially if you are doing weight training. When we do strength-training exercises such as lifting weights, we create small tears in our muscle fibers. When you rest, your body repairs those micro-tears, building up your muscles bigger and stronger than they were before—and it needs protein to do it.

Go for sources of protein that are easy to digest like nuts, Greek yogurt, a slice of turkey, a hard-boiled egg, or a glass of regular or soy milk. And be sure not to eat too much so you don't get an upset stomach halfway through your workout.

How can I go to the gym if I work full time?

Here are tips to help make exercise a habit, no matter how busy your work schedule.

  1. Track it. Seeing progress is a great way to stay motivated.
  2. Take it step by step. No matter your level of exercise, it’s important that you don’t do too much, too soon.
  3. Bring a buddy.
  4. Do it for you.
  5. Celebrate.
  6. Mix it up.
  7. Stay at home.

Preparing for your first visit

The best time to go to the gym

One question every new-starter asks is “what’s the best time to go to the gym?”

Morning is often hailed as the best time to fit in a workout, as it can reduce stress levels and leave you energized for the rest of the day. However, it all depends on your ‘circadian rhythm.’

A circadian rhythm is your internal clock, the one that causes you to fluctuate between alert and sluggish throughout the day. If you consider yourself a morning person, it should be easy to motivate yourself for an hour in the gym before work. But, if you can’t get anything done before your 9 am coffee, don’t beat yourself up about it — hit the gym on your way home instead.

There really is no ‘best time’ to exercise, it all depends on your body, so listen to it and hit the gym when it’s most convenient for you.

Working to your schedule

If your schedule is getting in the way of your circadian rhythm, it can help to get an extra hour of sleep every night. You feel the pressure of your circadian rhythm more when you’re tired, so getting to bed earlier might be the push you need to crush those 7am laps in the pool!

Dodging peak times

The other factor to consider when scheduling your session is when the gym is likely to be busy. If you’re looking for space when working on your strength, it is worth considering avoiding peak times. This is usually just before or after the working day, although on-site staff will be able to advise you further.

What to wear and take with you

If you’re truly looking to power through your session and achieve your peak performance, you’ll want to come prepared.

Here’s a list of gym bag essentials:

    • Gym-appropriate training gear (avoid denim or replica shirts)
    • Gym shoes (sturdy trainers work best; avoid weak canvas shoes)
    • Sweat towel (for wiping down equipment after you use it)
    • Towel and shampoo (for a post-workout shower)
    • Post-workout snack
    • Water bottle

Warming up

If you’re feeling self-conscious on your first gym visit, your initial instinct might be to skip straight to the treadmill or weight machine and ‘prove your worth,’ but this is a rookie mistake. One of the most important parts of a good workout is to properly warm up.

Warm-ups are crucial as they prepare your body for the demands of exercise, loosening up the muscles and reducing the risk of injury. This also means you’re less likely to pull a muscle during your workout and minimizes the chances of lactic acid building-up, which can lead to cramping.

Here’s an example of a simple warm-up that’s ideal for beginners:

Example warm-up for beginners

For more on how to effectively warm up, check out our in-depth guide on warming up from exercise, with sports psychotherapist Paul Martin.

Beginner gym workout for cardio equipment

This mix of steady and interval cardio session with different pieces of equipment will help mix up your workout and stop you getting bored. Applying intervals to your training can really push that cardiovascular fitness and make your heart stronger and efficient. It’s a good way to prep yourself for a HIIT class from a breathing point of view. Read this guide to help you get started.

  • 5 min treadmill brisk walk (optional incline)
  • 5 min rower (steady)
  • 1 min run/1 min walk treadmill x 10(easy)/15(medium)/20(hard)
  • 10 min stair master (steady)
  • Cross trainer (maintain one pace) – 1 min low effort level/1 min high effort level x 10(easy)/15(medium)/20(hard)

Rent a gym locker, if you can

Some gyms provide extra services for a fee. Two that are useful here: Locker rental, and towel service.


With towel service, you can use the gym’s towels and let them do the laundry rather than bringing your own each time. “Pay the 50 cents for the towel rental,” says Pigeonofthesea8. Some gyms rent towels for free, some for a fee (either per towel or for a few bucks a month), and some don’t offer it at all. If you’re scouting out gyms near your workplace, ask about this and consider it as a factor in your decision.

Similarly, some gyms require lockers to be emptied overnight, but others allow long-term storage, usually for a fee. Rent a locker and you can keep items like toiletries there. Willowintheev writes: “You can also put your chalk and other non-sweaty gym items in in there, plus you can keep your gym shoes in the locker instead of lugging them around.”


Have a system for your workout clothes

Aaantoniaaa_ is full of good ideas, and I love their approach to the laundry cycle. “On Monday (or a day of your choosing), bring a week’s worth of workout clothes to work and leave them in your desk or locker there. I used to change at work (because if I didn’t I wouldn’t go to the gym lol) and bring all my work clothes home on Fridays.”


They also recommend wearing your gym shoes while you commute (if your gym allows street shoes), and asking your coworkers for tips on how they manage things if they work out early.

Finally, they had this excellent advice: “Have a backup outfit + shoes that live at work. Never rely on this outfit as one that you’ll be using. It’s for emergencies and accidents only or “oops I forgot” scenarios.”


How Do I Work On My Goals When Life Gets in the Way?

Today I want to answer another question that I just received about my goals. Question: “How do I work on my goals and focus on my vision when life keeps getting in the way?” This question was submitted by a mom who has been trying to grow her business, but she’s…

The workout

Now that you’ve hopped out of bed, had your breakfast, and are somewhat awake, it’s time for you to actually hit the gym and get a worthwhile workout. All you need to do is figure out what works for you. Many people stick solely to either weightlifting or cardio, while others do a combination of the two. The hardest part here is to find the perfect exercise regimen to motivate you while giving you the results you want.

If you’re just starting to work out, don’t feel like you have to go crazy when you hit the gym. Do something that’s challenging, yet not exhausting. This will keep you from crashing after the workout and keep you more alert throughout the day.

Another way to get you out of bed and on a good workout program is to do the job with someone else. When you’re supposed to meet someone at the gym, you won’t skip out. Plus, a seasoned workout veteran can help you with a workout program that works for you. This includes maintaining proper form when weightlifting, as well as routines that help burn fat, increase fitness, or whatever else you’re wanting.

Become a gym pro

So there you have it: the gym is no longer a mystery. 

In time, it’ll all become second-nature to you. As you build confidence, you’ll begin achieving the goals you set out for yourself and establish a routine that keeps you fit, happy and energised.

Whatever level of fitness you’re at, always remember that if you’re unsure about anything during your exercise experience, staff members and PT’s are always happy to lend a hand. 

Check out the latest updates from Inside Track for more tips for gym-goers.


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