To succeed in the fast-paced world we live in today, wasting time is not an option. Time can neither be bought nor replaced and taking advantage of each moment is crucial. Though many people may only have time to visit a gym 3-4 times per week for an hour, it is how they make use of that time that matters!
The pre-workout period doesn't actually begin the hour before you train. It begins by getting a full eight hours of sleep the night before. It is important to minimize stress as much as possible during the day because it can wreak havoc on your hormones which causes cortisol to increase and testosterone to decrease. Though not absolutely, necessary, 5-10 grams of branch chain amino acids and a cup of organic coffee half an hour before you work out may be helpful. A handful of berries to replenish glycogen (carbohydrate) stores may be added for a boost in energy unless the goal is to burn fat.
A training journal can be one of the most important training tools. Tracking training progress is essential. People track their finances, grades in school, or even Facebook updates, so start tracking your training progress! Earning a new "personal best" may not occur with every workout, but there should be progress over time which should coincide with body composition.
I recommend drinking organic coconut water during training to replenish electrolytes and optimize performance. It is extremely important to stay hydrated. Cellphones should be turned off during a workout so that the focus is on training. It is also highly recommended to find a partner, if possible, with more strength and experience to accelerate progress.
The post-workout eating period can vary greatly depending on personal goals.
Fat loss: Within 30 minutes of training -- 1 scoop of grass-fed whey, 20-30 grams of carbohydrates from organic fruit (brown spotted banana or blueberries).
1 hour later: organic chicken breast with unlimited green vegetables.
Increased muscle mass: Within 30 minutes of training -- 1-2 scoops of grass fed whey and 50-100 grams of carbohydrates from organic fruit (brown spotted bananas or blueberries)
1 hour later: 1-2 organic chicken breasts, vegetables, and 2-4 cups of organic white jasmine rice with a large serving of sweet potatoes
My personal regimen
My goal is to get eight hours of sleep every night to minimize any unnecessary stress during the day. Don't worry about trivial matters. I generally have 5-10 grams of BCAA's with a cup of organic coffee before I work out. If I'm in a rush, I sometimes add a teaspoon of organic instant coffee with my BCAA's even though the taste is less than desirable. I drink coconut water while training and ALWAYS bring my journal.
I leave my cell phone in my gym bag, but I take my iPod into the gym with me. Once I create a "training song list" I only listen to the list while working out for the psychological effect and those particular songs don't become too familiar. In the post-workout period, I consume 1-2 scoops of grass fed whey. If I'm working smaller muscle groups, I use fewer carbohydrates in the post-workout period. If I have just finished an extensive workout of front squats and pistol squats, I smash bananas and sweet potatoes to replenish glycogen stores for the next workout.
There are 168 hours in a week, make sure those four hours in the gym count!