Before we continue on and discuss the fifth ingredient (supplementation), which is required to establish a successful routine, I want to talk about stretching and its benefits.  Stretching should be incorporated into your weight training routine either done before, during, or after your workout.  There are so many reasons one should stretch.  Stretching might add an additional 10 minutes onto your routine but those 10 minutes are completely worth it.  Here are just a few reasons to stretch out those muscles before hitting the weights:
  • Prevention of injury
  • Enhance muscular coordination
  • Increase range of motion
  • Improve circulation
  • Reduce muscle tension
Most people are not aware of how stretching has a direct correlation to making gains in the gym.  Every muscle in your body is enclosed with connective tissue called fascia.  Your fascia is what holds your muscles in proper place.  If the area around the muscle is too tight, then it does not give the muscle enough room to expand and grow.  If you want to get the most out of your workout, you must stretch.  Tight muscles can cause many problems.  You are more likely to pull or tear something if you haven't stretched out your muscles properly.  Most injuries can be prevented by stretching.

  Tight muscles will also cause muscle imbalances.  If you don't know what muscle imbalance looks like, observe people in your gym.  You may see protracted shoulders where the shoulders seem to be rounded forward.  Some people walk or run with there toes pointed out or inward.  This is not because we are all born with different bodies and we are supposed to stand or walk a different way, normally it is due to tight muscles.  We were all made to have good posture but many people aren't even aware of what good posture looks like. Try standing up straight with your shoulders down and back, both toes pointed forward, your pelvis is neutral and hips are tucked in.  Now observe your own posture in the mirror.  Naturally your body may pull itself in a certain direction that is not considered proper posture. If you are aware of which tight muscle may be causing a imbalance and are pulling your body in different directions, then you can properly stretch them out and prepare you body for a great workout!