Chasing the perfect workout preparation is not realistic for most of us, but avoiding the basic mistakes is crucial in helping you achieve the results you want! 

The Same Routine 

Consistency in the gym is an achievement in itself., but challenging your body is what's required to achieve the results you desire. Performing the same workout over and over again will only get you so far. By challenging the body, a new stimulus is provided that is needed to grow (1). 

If you lift the same 15kg dumbbell every session for the same reps and sets, your body has no reason to adapt and grow. A new stimulus provided through overloading techniques such as increased weight, increased volume through added reps and sets, manipulating rest times or changing the way a movement is performed (2).

Simply put, do not get into a rut of performing the same workout over and over again. If you want to make progress, be prepared to challenge yourself.

Skipping Your Warm Up 

We are all guilty of going straight into a workout without warming up properly, but this can have a negative impact on performance (3).

  • Injury Prevention - Longevity is key to making progress and not warming up increases the chance of injuries occurring within the soft tissue (4). 
  • Enhanced Performance - Performing a warm-up that consists of dynamic stretches and movements specific to the exercises within your session is beneficial in increasing force production (5,6).


  • A minimum of a 5-10 minute pulse raiser (Treadmill, bike, bodyweight exercises, etc.) to increase blood flow and temperature.
  • Dynamic movements are preparing the muscles for the upcoming exercises. As an example, If your first exercise is barbell back squats then perform bodyweight lunges and inchworms first as part of the dynamic movements.
  • Activation of the muscles that are going to be worked, So if you're going to bench press first then performing a push up, for example, can be hugely beneficial in helping prep the muscles that are going to be primarily used (chest, shoulders and triceps in this example). Motor unit recruitment and the movement pattern will transfer into the upcoming movement (7). 


Being dehydrated and exercising is not a good combination. 

  • Performance - water intake maintains blood volume, regulation of body temperature and helps muscle contractions. Dehydration will harm performance and our chance of maximising output during the workout (8).
  • Mental Performance - It's not just physical performance that is affected. Our mental focus, our mood is negatively impacted. The ability of our brain to function and our perception of fatigue is just a couple of many factors that are negatively affected (9,10).
  • Muscle and Joint Pain - Lubrication between our joints is made up of water, and when we are dehydrated, the protection to our joints is reduced. The fluid is drawn out of the tissues and can cause aches, stiffness and tender joints. Increased tension within ligaments which can increase the risk of injury (11). 
  • Recovery - the saying ‘you can only train as well as you can recover’, holds some truth. When we workout, a large process of recovery is ‘protein synthesis’ that repairs damaged tissue. If we are dehydrated protein synthesis is hindered, and recovery is impaired (12). 

Daily Water Recommendations

According to the European Food Safety Authority, daily water recommendations without the presence of exercise per day for adults at normal temperatures are (9):

  • 2.5 litres of water for men 
  • 2.0 litres of water for women per day

Sometimes recommendations are expressed in proportion to the amount of energy expended – e.g. 2 litres per 2000kcal consumed (14). Recommendations are for water and not beverages that contain sugar, caffeine and additives (13). 

Activity Water Recommendations

  • Pre-workout 

Consume approximately 500 ml (half a litre) of water two to three hours before exercise and approximately 250-300ml (a quarter of litre) 20-30 minutes pre-workout.

  • During the workout 

Consume approximately 250 - 300ml (a quarter of litre) every 20-30 minutes. 

  • Post-workout

Consume approximately 250 - 300ml (a quarter of litre) 30 minutes post-workout. 

Follow the above guidelines to ensure your applying basic hydration principles to put yourself in a better position to work out and recover (14).


  1. http://myweb.wwu.edu/~chalmers/pdfs/The%20role%20of%20progressive%20overload%20in%20sports%20conditioning.pdf
  2. https://journals.lww.com/nsca-jscr/Fulltext/2010/10000/The_Mechanisms_of_Muscle_Hypertrophy_and_Their.40.aspx
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19996770
  4. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-198908040-00004
  5. https://journals.humankinetics.com/view/journals/pes/18/1/article-p64.xml
  6. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02701367.2001.10608960?journalCode=urqe20
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3164001/
  8. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200737100-00006
  9. https://www.hydrationforhealth.com/en/hydration-science/hydration-lab/hydration-mood-state-and-cognitive-function/#conclusion
  10. https://www.ars.usda.gov/news-events/news/research-news/2009/dehydration-affects-mood-not-just-motor-skills/?
  11. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0926657764902256
  12. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0140673693908285
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908954/
  14. https://www.acefitness.org/education-and-resources/professional/expert-articles/5397/how-hydration-affects-performanc