5 Things to Do Before Your Workout

You've put on your sweat pants, laced up your sneakers, and downloaded your favorite workout play list, but if you haven't done these five things, you're not ready to work out.

1)    Wash your face. Start your work out with squeaky-clean skin-free from dirt, oils and makeup. When you exercise, your pores dilate to help you sweat and stay cool. If they're covered with residue, pores can get blocked, which can cause skin irritation and pimples. Wash your face again after you exercise to rinse off sweat and avoid breakouts. If you tend to have back or chest acne, use baby wipes or swipe a gentle skin-cleanser over your skin to remove sweat, dirt and oil before your workout. And never skip out on the post-workout shower.

2)    Pull your hair back. It's not just your mother's advice, it's good common sense. Keep your hair off your neck to stay cool. Keeping it out of your eyes helps you see where you're running. Keeping it off your face and back keeps oil, sweat, and dirt from transferring to your skin and creating breakouts. If you don't have time after every sweaty workout to wash your hair, try using dry shampoo or baby power to freshen up your do.

3)    Put on your bra. Every woman should wear a bra when she works out. Small-breasted women can irritate the delicate skin on their nipples and breasts if they don't put a protective layer between their breasts and their workout clothes. Large breasted women need extra support to prevent uncomfortable bouncing. Sports bras are great, but an everyday, non-lacy, cotton bra works too. Make sure it's snug, and secure enough, but not so tight as to cause chafing. Some sports bras are made of moisture-wicking material that pulls sweat away from your chest and keeps you cool.

4)    Go to the bathroom. Emptying your bladder (and bowels, if possible) before you exercise will not only keep you more comfortable, it could keep you exercising longer since you'll have no excuse to quit early. You don't want to get a half-mile into your bladder-bouncing run and have to turn around and run back home.

5)    Have a drink. Proper hydration before, during, and after exercise is important for a good workout and to prevent muscle soreness. Don't drink too much before your workout or you'll risk getting stomach cramps and having to find a bathroom.

Finish your workout with some stretching, a shower, and a snack to recover quickly and to be prepared for your next workout.