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If you want to get the best of your gym workouts, try to prepare as soon as you wake up. You will know whether you are more of an early bird or a night owl and this may influence on what time of the day you choose to exercise. This article focuses on heading to the gym after a day at work. However, the guidance is important no matter what time of day you prefer to exercise. This is how to have the perfect day for fitness.

Sleep – the first thing to get right is the amount of sleep you get. On average most of us tend to function through the day better on a good 7-8 hours sleep. Try to hit the pillow at a similar time each night, if possible,and wind down an hour before by having a warm bath. Wake up at similar times too or set your alarm for the maximum time you want to stay in bed. Gradually your body clock will get used to this and you will sleep naturally and you will find your energy levels rise.

Breakfast – the most important meal of the day. It boosts your metabolism and sugar levels and gets you ready for the day. Depending on what you have for breakfast may depend in how well you get going that day. Have a mixture of carbohydrates and fibre to make up the main part of your breakfast.  Carbohydrates will build up your energy levels and you will be able to burn them off throughout the day. Fibre contains many nutrients such as vitamins helping us to stay healthy. A good example of breakfast could be some porridge with mixed berries sprinkled on top.

Snacks – I’m not talking about crisps and chocolate bars in your tea break! Snacking can be healthy when you choose the right thing at the right time. Having a small snack between breakfast and lunch and then again between lunch and dinner will help keep sugar levels up and the metabolism going, avoiding sugary cravings spontaneously.  Whether it is a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts, eating something healthy is a good thing.

Hitting the gym- so you’re supposed to be heading to the gym after work but you’ve had a bad day….still go!! You can relieve stress whilst doing your workout and will feel much better afterwards. Have a snack about half an hour to an hour before your workout to boost your energy (bananas are a great snack before the gym!). Make sure you have a programme to follow at the gym, don’t be afraid to ask an instructor, or book in to see an instructor, they are there to help and guide you. Have a good workout and aim for an hour. Mix up the cardio with some resistance for the chosen muscle groups with planned repetitions and sets in mind. Stick to your plan and don’t leave the gym until you’ve done it…ALL!!! Keep changing your workouts every couple of weeks to avoid boredom or have 2-3 to choose from. Perhaps do a different workout on each of your gym nights.

Dinner- you now need a good hearty meal after your workout. Make sue it’s packed with plenty of protein to help repair those muscles and a healthy tasty side to go with. Chicken and turkey with some veg would be a good post workout dinner. Turkey is one of the least fatty meats and is full of protein. Vegetables will build up your 5 a day target and provide more nutrients to the body. Try making your own sauce to go with it and make it more tasty. One of my favourites is sun dried tomatoes, garlic and feta cheese warmed up in a pan with a little olive oil and a few teaspoons of water….mmmmm

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