10 Things your trainer wishes you would ask before your workout


1) What should I eat before I workout?

The perfect snack before a workout is a banana.  This whole, natural food packs a one-two punch of powerful electrolytes and quick-digesting carbs.  To top it off, the banana contains about 12 grams of sugar (the good kind!)- the fiber in the banana controls the release of the sugar, giving you sustained energy throughout your workout!  As a general rule of thumb, you should eat no sooner than one hour pre-workout.  Important: stear clear of synthetic pre-workout pills and drinks, which can contain dangerous amounts of caffeine which can lead to heart arrhythmias by elevating your heart rate to very high levels.

2)  What should I eat after I workout?

Post-workout, a good mix of protein and carbs will help to replenish your glycogen stores.  Steamed veggies, a baked sweet potato, and some grilled chicken is a great example of a post-workout meal.  A smoothie with a handful of fresh leafy greens (spinach or kale are my personal favorites!), an all-natural protein powder, and ½ cup of your favorite fruit is also a great after-workout meal replacement. Just make sure you eat within 60-90 minutes of finishing your workout to ensure that you are refueling your body and rebuilding muscle. View Virago's free Meal Plan here.

3) When should I arrive for a workout?  

On time or earlier if you want to get in some extra foam rolling or hop on the treadmill for a quick warm-up jog.  Your trainer has a planned warm-up for you, so arriving with enough time to complete the warm-up is crucial to maximize your workout and prevent injury.

4) What should I wear?  

Athletic clothing can boost your confidence and give you one extra reason to be excited for your workout!  The proper gear can enhance your workout.  Sweat-wicking fabric, the right fit and making sure you have the appropriate gear for the weather (when doing an outdoor workout) can make or break your workout experience.  Try a variety of clothing brands and styles to find your perfect fit. Virago’s performance-enhancing workout gear is my go-to for athletic clothing that enhances my athletic performance and helps me look good while working out!

5) What type of shoes should I wear?  

Your shoes are exercise specific; for instance, if you are going for a 5 mile run, you should wear shoes that are specifically designed for running.  For a crossfit workout, a lifting shoe or cross-trainer is the best bet.  In general, a good cross training shoe that can be adapted to multiple types of exercise will work well across the board for most group exercise and boot camp style classes; more specific types of exercise, such as running, call for more particular footwear.

6) What type of exercise will help me get the best results?

The best part of working out is that physical fitness is not “one size fits all”- this means that you get to try as many types of exercise as you want to in order to find the one (or many!) forms of fitness that you enjoy the most!  The best exercise for you is one that you enjoy doing- the more you enjoy an activity, the more likely you will be to sustain that behavior.  So get out there and explore all of the different workouts that are available to you!

7) Should I be worried about this pain in my shoulder/back/knee?  

Informing your trainer or group instructor of any aches/pains/current and or former injuries is very important as it allows your instructor to modify exercises that could potentially cause discomfort or worsen injuries in any problem areas.  Always let your instructor know if you are experiencing discomfort, and she should be able to offer you some modifications that will enable to you to perform any exercise, pain free.

8) I have to leave early- is that ok?  

Informing your trainer of an earlier-than-expected departure allows her to modify your workout to ensure you still get the most benefit for your time in the gym, as well as allowing for a proper cool down and stretch phase.  Leaving a workout a bit early may be necessary in order to fit in your fitness while also maintaining a busy work/life balance, however bolting from a workout when you’re still in a full sweat, your heart racing, and your muscles not properly stretched out is a recipe for injury.  A proper cool down is an integral part of the workout and time must be allotted for the post-workout recovery period.

9) I saw this really cool workout on Instagram- can I ask my trainer to try it out in our next session?  

Asking your trainer about new workout techniques that appeal to you is a great way to be an active consumer of your fitness.  You are in ultimate control of how you workout- we are much more likely to continue with activities which we enjoy doing, so asking your trainer to incorporate an exercise that appeals to you is absolutely encouraged!  After all, the only workout worth doing is one you look forward to, so do not be afraid to approach your trainer with feedback on areas you would like to change up.  Any trainer worth her salt will gladly apply any constructive feedback and integrate your input into your workout routines!

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10) I only got 3 hours of sleep last night - is that bad?  

Lack of sleep can definitely impact your performance in the gym.  Inadequate rest can cause elevated heart rate, making you fatigue more quickly during exercise, and fatigue can increase your risk of injury.  Ok so for most of us, a solid 8 hours of sleep every night is just not happening- we all have busy lives full of work, school, family and friends, and often sleep can take a back seat to other activities for which we deem worthy of sacrificing our rest.  However, if you have a pre-scheduled workout session at 5am, plan accordingly- maybe skip the after-work happy hour, or set a time limit for your nighttime activities.  Remember: the sleep you get before midnight is most important.  So prioritize yourself, your fitness and your health and put systems in place to help maximize your shut-eye- 30 minutes before  bed, turn off all screens, try reading a book, or meditating.  Early morning workout life-hack: The night before your morning sweat session, take an extra 5 minutes to set out your workout outfit, neatly fold your clothing, and set your shoes and workout gear at the foot of your bed- that way, as soon as your feet hit the floor in the morning you are ready to go!

Vera Ross - Personal Trainer - San Diego, CA


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