When it comes to exercising, there are many fitness routines that are solely dedicated for pre-workout rituals. You might have heard a lot of reminders here and there – about the things you must do before you start your intense routine at the gym. However, you are quite mistaken if you think that after finishing up with your fitness plans for the day you can simply do anything you feel like doing. There are certain things you must do after your workout– essential ones that can turn the results around.
It is quite understandable that you probably want to rush home to rest right away. But after giving yourself a pat on the back for doing a great job in completing your workout, you must pay attention on how you spend the first 30 minutes following a grueling exercise. Yes it can be sweaty, vigorous and physically intense so it is a natural compensation to reward yourself with a well-deserved “relaxing time”. But you are too hungry to ignore the callings of your stomach plus the fact that you feel sticky with all the sweat, you end confused in deciding which one should be prioritized first? Attending to your needs can be crucial for your body’s recovery. The things you do after your exercise should also be credited and failing to do so, can potentially sabotage your fitness. Therefore, ensure that you make smart and healthy post-workout decisions!
How to Maximize Your Post-Workout Recovery
Do not get out of the gym in haste. Before you high-tail to the parking lot in order to rush back home, here are some of the things you should include as a vital part of your fitness routine so as you can foster and maximize the results you wanted.
- Stretching it out with some Cool-down exercises
Your warm-up and cool-down exercise is an essential part to any workout. Just as how important it is to stretch before you start your workout, your muscles would love to be treated with a post-workout recovery stretching routine. In our previous blog “Fitness for the Day: Stretching Routines and its’ Flexible Power, we’ve mentioned how stretching helps with the decrease of soreness as it can expedite your muscle recovery. It is important to take advantage of the time when you’re muscles are still warm. Before it cools down, you need to stretch immediately. Why? Because if the muscles already cooled down it contracts which makes it hard to loosen up and it may lead to an injury when you force to break the stiffness. It is recommended to be the very first thing you should do following your exercise. For about 30 to 40 minutes, perform some cool-down stretches; though the realistic time for most people is 10 minutes of stretching. You can also engage in light jogging, brisk walking and yoga poses. Either way, make sure you are marking your Gym day with a proper close with stretches.
- Post-Workout Shower
Many people are concern about taking a shower after working out. It is good for the body? Or could it be a bad habit you must avoid? After performing some cooling down exercises, water caressing your tired muscles can be quite tempting. No need to hesitate on this part. Aside from the hygiene purposes, it actually brings a satisfying benefit to your body. You can choose between a hot shower and a cold shower which both promise a positive effect. Taking a hot shower alleviates the soreness and triggers smooth flow of blood to your body. Meanwhile, cold shower reduces lactic muscle build-up, eases the burning pain or inflammation you get from your exercise and at the same time cools down your body temperature. Though it does aid your recovery, you must remember to cool down first before you hit the showers. It is essential to the do the first step we’ve shared above or it can be detrimental to your overall health. This applies to any fitness regimen so take at least 20 minutes as an interval from your final stretch before you head towards the shower room.
- Changing Your Clothes
What if you don’t have enough time to shower? It is ok to at least wash your face because it is also important not to neglect your skin health. So make sure to use a gentle facial wash or soap and rinse it thoroughly with water to properly cleanse off the sweat, oil and probably make-up as well in order to avoid potential risk of pore-clogging. Afterwards, change into new clean clothes. Ditching your soggy and sweaty workout clothes will help you secure your wellness. The moisture of sweat on your sports bra and tights actually triggers the potential growth of bacteria and germs which can cause skin infection. Make sure that you don’t stick with your workout clothes for half an hour and change into your extra clean ones within 5 to 10 minutes.
- Rehydrate Your Body
Water is your best buddy for any workout. You must drink water as much as you can – at all costs! For every movement, you sweat and you lose water in your body so ensure that you are properly hydrated to secure your energy levels. It is not just in between your routine but before and after your workout. To avoid fatigue and nausea, water helps you to regenerate and replenish the fluid loss. So make sure you always bring bottled water or your favorite tumbler with you. It is recommended to drink 8 ounces for every post-workout but the exact amount also varies for an individual. Therefore, the best way is to aim for half of your bodyweight in terms ounces like when you weigh 150 pounds, you need to drink at least 75 ounces of water. By the way, did you know that the color of your urine is good marker to check if you are hydrated enough? If the color is dark, then that means bad and you need to drink more than your usual ounces of water.
- Refuel with Protein and Fast-Acting Carbs for Recovery
Your body also needs a good post-workout snack because the nutrients will help your body to recover. The best combination is to have some carbs paired up with protein. Though the necessary amount of carbohydrates as well as for protein varies for an individual so it is best to experiment on how much can satisfy your hunger. Choose the foods that are easy-to-digest and with the right nutrients so it can sufficiently repair your muscles and refuel your energy. Within 30 minutes after your workout, eat a healthy snack or a protein shake because that particular 30-minute is actually the peak time for your muscles and body to recharge. It is recommended to eat about 200 calories with the ratio of 2:1 (carbs to protein). But if you are not trying to cut some pounds and wanted to maintain your weight, then you can eat about 300-400 calories with the ratio of 3:1 (carbs to protein).
- Clean Your Space
This should be a habit whenever you are done working out. By cleaning your area or space, either you are at the gym or at home, you are securing your overall well-being. It is an essential thing to do, not just for hygiene purpose, but to avoid any potential accidents. You wouldn’t want to trip over your weights or mats, right? Clean up and ensure that everything is back into place. Plus it is a “considerate” move for the next person who will use the same equipment after you.
- Do Not Forget to Track Your Progress
After the tiring day, you must not forget to write down your progress. Fitness tracking is beneficial for you so you can check if you are moving towards your goals. Be dedicated in writing down every single and tiny detail you’ve done. With this, you can also assess yourself, know the weakness, the things you might be lacking and be able to come up with new moves that can level-up your routines. This will also help you avoid workout plateau in your training program.
Keep these in mind and learn to master them. And in no time, you’ll surely ace the Post-Workout routine! Don’t let your body miss out in the much needed TLC (Tender-Loving-Care).
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