Lt. Col. Stephen Miko, 25th Infantry Division G-39, makes his first attempt at the three repetition maximum deadlift event during a diagnostic Army Combat Fitness Test on the morning of Feb. 25, 2020 on Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. The ACFT will become the new test of record for all Soldiers across the U.S. Army beginning Oct. 1, 2020. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Alan Brutus)
It’s 0600, and you’ve had a long week at work. Your body is sore, you are low on energy, and the idea of driving into PT or completing a WOD makes you want to punch something. You have a banger of a workout to get done this morning, but you need to find the will to get it done.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Here are some possible solutions for getting through that grind and crushing your workout, not just today, but everyday.
1. Sleep. According to the Oxford Academic Sleep Research Society, “Current evidence supports the general recommendation for obtaining 7 or more hours of sleep per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health among adults aged 18 to 60 years.” Nine hours of sleep is optimal for young adults or those who are operating in a sleep debt. If you are working shifts in emergency medical services or in the military, try adjusting your schedule where possible (we know it’s not easy) and prioritize getting a solid night’s sleep.
2. Stretch. It’s the most important thing you can do before a workout. Not only does stretching help your muscles limber up for the onslaught, but it slowly increases your workload from a resting heart rate. This will get your heart pumping as well as lower — or even eliminate — some of that achy, sore sensation that lingers in your muscles. This will lead to decreased risk of injury, and it’s just a great start to your workout.
3. Hydrate. Cold water is a centuries-old trick people have been using to fire up their day. Research shows that ice-cold water gets your metabolism moving at the start of the day. That metabolic jumpstart is due to your body’s increased efforts to warm the water while it’s in the stomach. Specifically, you should consume 500ml of water as soon as you can after you wake up. Hydration makes your body run efficiently, so making sure you aren’t dehydrated is essential. Your body runs on water so give it what it needs.
4. Coffee as a pre-workout. Coffee has been used as a substitute for pre-workout mixes due to its natural caffeine content. We all know that caffeine helps you wake up, and a lot of people use coffee to start their day. If you have a hard time drinking something hot before a workout, then try iced coffee or cold brew. There is such a wide variety of coffee roasts and blends that you are bound to find one that works for you.
That being said, don’t overload on caffeine. If you regularly consume high levels of caffeine, coffee may not do the trick for you. Some dedicated pre-workouts are packed with caffeine, and most people don’t want to be overdosing on that stimulant while performing cardio-based workouts or anything with high repetitions. Consider taking a half- or quarter-scoop of pre-workout, adjust the amount of water, and drink it before your workout. This is bound to get your blood pumping and open that gateway into your workout. However, be mindful that the more caffeine you drink, the more your sleep cycles are disturbed. Work on more sleep, and you won’t rely as heavily on caffeine.
Joshua Skovlund is a former staff writer for Coffee or Die. He covered the 75th anniversary of D-Day in France, multinational military exercises in Germany, and civil unrest during the 2020 riots in Minneapolis. Born and raised in small-town South Dakota, he grew up playing football and soccer before serving as a forward observer in the US Army. After leaving the service, he worked as a personal trainer while earning his paramedic license. After five years as in paramedicine, he transitioned to a career in multimedia journalism. Joshua is married with two children.
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