We know that after a vigorous workout all you want to do is lie down until you can catch your breath. However, just like you have a pre-workout routine, you should also implement a post-workout one. Don’t worry, we are here to show you that it isn’t complicated at all. Here are a few tips.
You should be aware that our bodies need time to transition to a resting state, so just sitting down is not an option. A cool-down period is crucial for your recovery process. You can do some light cardio for a couple of minutes. This is called a dynamic cool down and it helps reduce soreness, lowers your heart rate, and improves your blood circulation, thus carrying oxygen and nutrients to your muscles. Walking on a treadmill or doing some light jogging for about five to ten minutes after your workout will do just fine.
Another way to cool down is by doing stretches. This is called a static cool down. Yes, you stretch during your pre-workout routine but it is crucial to stretch afterwards as well and you can do that without going to the gym. Seeing as how muscles contract after a workout, stretching will prevent them from being tight and shrinking and also allow them to grow stronger and bigger. The tightness of your muscles can lead to an injury, so some basic stretches for your calves, hamstrings, back, chest and hips are very beneficial. Loosen all your muscle groups by stretching each of them for about 30 seconds.
Get a massage
A recent study found that getting a post-workout massage can improve your muscle strength. However, seeing as how you probably can’t get a professional massage after every workout, there are some cheaper options. You can get a foam roller and do it on your own. It can boost blood flow and reduce tension. To get the best results, start with your calves and work your way up, giving at least five rolls to every muscle group.
Plenty of fluids is necessary for a good performance. You already know that you should hydrate before and during the workout, and the same should be done after it. You can weigh yourself before and after your session to see how much water you should drink. While water is the best option for hydration, you can also go for special drinks that provide you with carbohydrates and electrolytes.
You lose energy stores after a vigorous exercise. To start the recovery process, you need the nutrients that will give you those long, toned muscles. Experts recommend eating a fast-digesting protein and carbohydrate meal 30 to 60 minutes after your session. The liquid form is usually the most convenient to prepare and it’s easy to absorb. That means that protein shakes are a good option. One of the things you can easily make before you leave home is a tuna sandwich on whole wheat bread. If you work out at home, you can prepare some meals rich in magnesium, such as dark leafy greens, fish, avocado, almonds and cashews. Muscle cramps can be a sign that your magnesium levels are low, and these foods are great for calming your muscles down.
On the other hand, desserts are also an option after a workout. You can go for a tasty mug cake blend that comes in various flavours and can be prepared in the microwave in under a minute. The protein will help you repair your muscles and they will grow stronger while you rest until the next session.
Record your results
Once you are done with your meal, you should record what you did that day during your workout. Write down specific details such as the number of reps you did, the distance you covered, the heaviness of the weights you lifted, etc. In addition, record what you ate and how much you drank, and your weight before and after the session. You should also include notes about your feelings before, during and after your workout. Alternatively, you can invest in a fitness gadget, such as Fitbit. Moreover, there are many health and fitness apps on the market for your smartphone that can help you record data.
Sure, this might not be the first thing on your mind after working out, but you should make it a priority. If you work out at the gym, make sure you wipe the sweat off the machines you used and put all the equipment back in its place. In case you work out at home, put away all the items you used, such as mats and weights. Disinfecting your home gym equipment is not hard at all, so don’t avoid this chore in order to get rid of all the germs.
Self-care after a workout is vital. Do whatever helps you de-stress as that leads to faster recovery. It can be meditation, sleep, a bubble bath or your favourite TV show. Light a scented candle and take it easy. Stress combined with an overworked body can have detrimental consequences on your health.
There you have it. A post-workout routine is nothing difficult and anyone can and should do it to recharge and be ready for the next session.