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Running in circles: Exercise is great, but it's what you do before and after that defines results

You won't have to spend more than a few seconds online searching for words like "exercise" or "weight loss" when you realize that there is plenty of advice and fads that focus on the workout itself but very little in the way of what's recommended before and after you hit the weights or the treadmill.
Plenty of frustrated workout enthusiasts spend hours in the gym or in front of their Pilates or Yoga DVD, yet still struggle to reach the kind of goals they've set for themselves. In some instances, those would be goals are unrealistic, but for the ones that are still falling short, you should start spending more time looking up what to pre and post workout versus attempting to find the latest and greatest exercise routine this very minute.
Far too often exercise is viewed as a means to eat and drink whatever you want once the sweat dries and you've showered off. Exercise is a trade off for eating burgers and fries, pizza and dessert whenever you feel like it. That mentality makes for brutal hours, days and weeks at the gym, suggesting your post workout routine needs overhauled sooner than later.
Take, for instance, the idea that you can eat whatever you want after a workout because your body will break it down quicker. That thinking is totally off base, much the same way drinking alcohol or sugary drinks will dehydrate your body and make that workout you just completed relatively inconsequential. Eating after a workout is highly recommended if the foods are rich in protein, low in fat and have a modest amount of carbohydrates that aren't of the complex ilk.
From the foods you eat to basic practices, you would be hard pressed to find a consistent group of exercisers that actually stretch before, during and after their workouts. Stretching not only prevents injuries but also allows muscles to heal faster and, for example, grow larger if that's ultimately your goal. And bonus, you won't be as sore, since feeling that way allows you to talk yourself out of working out at a moment's notice.

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A huge misstep in the same vein as not stretching or eating improperly after a workout is attempting to exercise too late in the evening. First and foremost, you'll have trouble falling asleep and skimping on that rest is a detriment to your body overall. Fitness experts are quick to point out that sleeping soundly helps with recovery and muscle growth, two important elements of any workout.
What you do within the 30 minutes or 2 hours you're working out paves the way for putting you in a healthier mindset and showing off all those results. But those conquests and achievements won't come as quickly as you'd like if what you're doing before or the after workout isn't on par with the rest of your routine.

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