5 Easy Steps to Boost Your Workout Before You Hit the Gym

by JJ Virgin on April 12, 2018

The right kind of consistent exercise is key to a strong immune system, fast fat loss, and more. But what you do around your workout is equally important to get great results!

If you’re already dedicating hours to the gym and seeing zero results, you’re not alone.

During my 30-year career as a fitness expert, I’ve watched too many people working out consistently and never progressing – sometimes they actually get worse over time. Not good!

I’ve always been obsessed with finding the best fitness solutions for fast results, and I’ve learned that getting fit fast starts BEFORE you step into the gym. So if you’re ready to take action, I’ve got you covered!

Couple these five strategies with the right kind of exercise so you can finally get the results you want…

My Ultimate Health Roadmap is a short, actionable guide that shows you how easy it can be to take small but important steps every day toward staying fit, healthy, and positive. Grab your FREE guide here.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Snoozing might seem like an odd way to uplevel your exercise routine, but it’s actually a super-important step toward reaching your fitness goals.

Skimping on sleep before the gym causes your stress hormones to signal your body to pack on fat – especially around your waist.1 You’ll also have less motivation and a lower pain threshold, so you’re less likely to crush it during your workout.2

Quality shut-eye is also crucial to the functions that take your gym time from effort to results. Getting at least seven (and preferably, more like nine) hours of solid, uninterrupted sleep helps your body repair and grow muscle, burn fat, and strengthen your bones.3

Even the best of us sometimes struggle with great sleep. I designed Sleep Candy™ with a synergistic blend of nutrients to help you safely fall and stay asleep. You can only get it here. *

Create a Winning Workout Plan

Hitting the gym with no plan or the wrong plan can waste time and even cause harm!  

For example, if your default workout is jumping on the treadmill or elliptical machine for an hour, you’re causing your body to burn precious muscle and hang on to fat –  clearly not the goal here! 4

To see fast results, plan a workout that includes a winning combo of burst and resistance training:

Burst training (a.k.a. High-Intensity Interval Training)

Adding burst training to your workout routine helps your body to burn fat, become more insulin sensitive, and trigger the release of growth hormone.5, 6 It’s so fast, you won’t have to invest a lot of time at the gym to get amazing results.

Bursting is simple, but not easy! You go all out for 30-60 seconds, then recover actively for twice as long (60-120 seconds). Keep alternating between active bursts and recovery for up to 4 burst cycles. Ready to get started? Get an interval training workout HERE.

Resistance Training (a.k.a. weight training)

Adding resistance training to your workout plan is the most effective way to tone muscle, burn fat, boost metabolism, and strengthen your bones. 7

Just remember to lift the heaviest weights you can with good form for 8-12 repetitions and have a training schedule that rotates the muscle groups daily so they have time to recover.

Listen up here for smart ways to build muscle if you’re over 50.

Start Hydrated

Don’t be fooled by clever marketing: ditch the syrupy, blue drinks filled with harmful chemicals, and grab a simple glass of water before working out instead!

If you’re not drinking enough water, your body can’t perform at its best. You’ll get exhausted mid-workout and may even experience muscle cramping or dizziness. Drinking water before exercise increases your endurance level and allows you to reach that peak performance to hit those burst sessions hard!

Find out how much water you should be drinking here.

Bonus: every time you drink water, your metabolism increases by an impressive 30% – aim for 4 ounces every 15 minutes that you exercise.9 (Find out 10 awesome options for tastier water…)

Pick the Best Workout Time

Most experts will agree that working out first thing in the morning is best. One study found that a morning workout not only reduced appetite for the rest of the day, but made people more active overall.10

But from my experience, the best time to work out is the time you’ll actually do it!

Studies show that if you pick a consistent time to work out, your body adapts to perform at its best during those hours.11 Just make sure you don’t work out too late in the day or your sleep might get disrupted.  

Know What (and If) to Eat Before You Break a Sweat

What you eat before you work out also matters.  

If you’re exercising in the morning, you can burn up to 20 percent more body fat when you exercise on an empty stomach.12 However, listen to your body on this. Some people work out better fasted; others don’t.

If you’re exercising later in the day, avoid eating a big meal within two to three hours before your workout, or your blood flow will be directed towards digestion instead of your muscles.

If you need a little something less than two hours before hitting the gym, try a quality protein bar (I love our Co-Co Crave Fiber Bar) to tide you over without slowing you down.

Break your fast or boost your post-workout fuel with a smoothie. I’ve compiled over 50 of my absolute faves in this Smoothie Guide. You can get it FREE here.

The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688585/
  2. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Abstract/2017/11000/Sleep_and_Athletic_Performance.11.aspx
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4688585/  
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18787373
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/ fat burn
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2730190/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4214007/  
  8. https://familydoctor.org/athletes-the-importance-of-good-hydration
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14671205  
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22617393
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22531613
  12. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/div-classtitlebreakfast-and-exercise-contingently-affect-postprandial-metabolism-and-energy-balance-in-physically-active-malesdiv/9DAC8DE59DEEF7926E81FF2BB2C5B7EB