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When I come home from work (as a programmer) I am mentally very tired, and thus not able to concentrate on my exercises fully, yawning at the gym even.

Is it a good idea to take a nap for an hour before I go to the gym, or should I go straight from work while my mind is still working? Or should I drink an energy drink with high caffeïne levels to give me an extra boost at the gym?

I don't want to go to the gym too late, because then I get back home too late, and am not able to have a proper pause between eating and going to bed.

At the gym, I do a little cardio, but mostly bodybuilding.

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I'm a programmer as well, what I do is that I eat something (power bar, sandwich, snack) just before I leave work. Then it's home, grab my stuff and straight to the gym. Not sure how much you go to the gym, but the more you exercise the more energy you'll have in the future. –  Niklas Modess Sep 25 '12 at 20:07
    
Thanks for the comment. I usually go 6 days a week. I am on a new diet now, and I eat a meal between 1 and 2 hours before gym. It does help. –  Uw Concept Sep 26 '12 at 11:21

3 Answers 3

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I think a short nap might be a good idea if you are very tired. You want to be well-rested when lifting weights in order to be able to fully work your muscles, not to mention alertness and safety. However, I think you'll want to keep your nap to 20-30 minutes or else you'll go into a deeper sleep (see When I wake up after a two hour nap I feel like I was hit by a truck.).

I wouldn't resort to sugary high-caffeine energy drinks for general health purposes and because they can wear off (and may prevent you from sleeping at night if you take them after work).

What might help your energy level is eating a healthy snack with some fiber, protein, and complex carbs an hour or so before you go.

And of course make sure you're getting enough sleep at night!

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I have some protein whey in powder at home. Would it help drinking this before I go to the gym? I had heard that it is best to take it after the workout. –  Uw Concept Mar 21 '11 at 16:08
    
Drinking the protein before should be fine. Keep in mind that it'll take that hour to digest it; if you drink it after your workout, your body doesn't have access to it right away. For protein (used for repair) it's fine to have it later as repair can take a couple days. But for energy from any source, you need to have it earlier so that it's available when you're working out. –  Greg Mar 21 '11 at 16:14
    
Thanks a lot for the info –  Uw Concept Mar 21 '11 at 17:02
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Usually I eat when I come back home from gym. I ate some pasta with vegetables yesterday when I got home, before going to the gym. I didn't have a nap, but felt more energetic! again thanks @Greg –  Uw Concept Mar 22 '11 at 15:18

Have a rest and go around 7pm? Per workout I have a whey shake 30 mins before gym, another as soon as I've finished, followed by food an hour later.

I personally train at about 8pm, eat and then sleep. There will be about an hour between eating and bed, if this is the case I'd have a cup of cottage cheese before bed to help prevent your body going catabolic during sleep.

I tried training early morning before but I found I could not lift the same that early.

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Why not go to the gym before work. That is what I have almost always done. I have a high energy level first thing in the morning. It's not for everyone and requires you go to bed earlier.

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I have to be at work at 8:30am. The gym opens at 10am. You see the problem here ;-) –  Uw Concept Mar 22 '11 at 15:15
    
A gym that doesn't open until 10am? Wow, find a new gym. All the gyms in my area open at 5am at the latest. Several are open 24 hours. –  Ryan Miller Jul 23 '12 at 12:15

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