When you’re working hard to become the fittest and healthiest you can, it’s natural to focus on what you do in the gym, on your morning run, or during other workout types.
However, while this time is essential, you can also make a difference to your wellbeing and results by maximizing workouts via the choices you make when finished. Follow some of the essential dos and don’ts post-workout to help you get closer to your health goals in 2021.
Do Stretch and Use a Foam Roller
Do some static stretching when you’ve finished your exercise to help bring your body back to a resting position and help with range of motion, joint mobility, and general recovery. It pays to hold each stretch for a minimum of 15 seconds to have the most impact.
Also, a foam roller can help. It assists workout recovery and can help to reduce post-exercise soreness. Rolling on the foam increases blood flow to the tissues, and when you concentrate on the parts of the body you used during your workout, this will have a positive effect in the days to come.
Do Refuel and Rehydrate
After working out your body, you need to refuel it. When you’ve finished your workout, your body will be keen to consume some protein and carbs to rebuild muscle and replenish used-up glycogen stores. Don’t wait too long to eat something post-workout, as you don’t want to end up feeling light-headed, tired, and “hangry.” It’s best to get some food into you within around 20 to 30 minutes after you finish exercising.
If you’re not working out at home or going straight home when you’re done, take a snack with you. You could invest in quality protein powders to put in post-workout smoothies or juices or have a protein ball, some nuts and fruit, cheese and crackers, yogurt, or some other healthy options ready to eat. It’s helpful for snacks to include a balanced mix of protein, carbohydrates, and good fats.
It’s also vital to rehydrate after your workout. Keep plenty of water on hand to sip on immediately afterward and throughout the day. Drink fluid to replace what you lost through sweat as you exercised, so you don’t become dehydrated. Boost your water intake further after intense workouts or those done in the sun or hot rooms, as you’re likely to have lost even more fluids during these sessions.
Do Keep Track of Your Progress
Another tip to focus on after your exercise time is keeping track of what you did. Log your workouts so you can notice your fitness progress over time and see how to keep challenging yourself further, thus avoiding hitting a plateau.
Plus, looking back at the end of the month at what you achieved will remind you of how far you’ve come and your commitment to your goals. Use this to pat yourself on the back and stay strong on the days when you don’t feel like working out.
After training sessions, many people make the mistake of overcompensating with food or couch time. While working out will have burned some calories and made you feel good, don’t undo your progress by pigging-out or spending hours binge-watching Netflix later in the day because you rationalize that you earned it.
It’s easy to end up replacing more calories than you burned or obtaining a lower steps-count for the day if you don’t do healthy things for the other hours beyond your workouts. Continuing to move later on, via some light activity and stretching, will also keep the blood moving in your body and aid recovery.
Don’t Stay in Sweaty Workout Gear
After your workout, avoid the temptation of staying in your exercise outfit. Get out of sweaty, damp gear right away, whether you shower immediately or not. Even if your clothes don’t end up that soggy, remember that worn clothing is a haven for bacteria. Plus, you might catch a chill and end up sick if you don’t change. Keep your muscles warm and loose to aid circulation and, in turn, recovery.
Don’t Forget to Sort Out Your Exercise Items
As tempting as it may be to rest as soon as you’ve finished your workout, it’s better to take a few minutes to sort out your exercise items before you do. If you’ve done a session at the gym, you’ll likely have to put materials away anyhow, but if you’re working out at home, it’s wise to wipe machines off, give equipment a quick clean, and put everything back in its place. This way, when you’re ready to exercise next time, you won’t have to waste time getting set up.
Working out is an important part of life, no matter your age. Maximize the results you get from each session by following the tips above after you’ve worked up a sweat.