A workout’s efficacy isn’t just determined by cardio and strength training. Your fitness can also be largely affected by what you do after your gym session. Here’s a breakdown of five of the most important things to do following your exercise routine in order to reap the full benefits of your workouts.
1. Perfect the cool-down
Active recovery, whether it be a light jog on the treadmill or yoga routine, should follow every workout, no matter the type. The slower movement lets your heart rate fall slowly and prevents lactic acid from pooling into sore spots the next day. Follow this with a static stretching routine to prevent injuries and improve your body’s range of movement.
2. Drink a protein shake
The image of a big lug-head chugging a protein shake after throwing weights around has become a negative stereotype of an important post-workout routine. Protein shakes are crucial aspects of the workout for anyone looking to build or maintain muscle mass. A shake that balances proteins and carbs is the perfect snack to restore muscles and build them back up. You can cater your protein intake for your needs, whether it’s building a lot of muscle or toning.
3. Take a cold shower
While a nice, hot shower may seem tempting after a long workout, it’s best to turn the faucet in the other direction. Like an ice bath, a cold shower can lead to a faster recovery while reducing muscle soreness. It can even help you lose weight by activating fat-burning tissue. Just be careful to listen to your body: if it’s too cold, it could do more damage than good.
4. Prepare a nutritious dinner
With all the influence it can have on fitness, your diet should be considered a crucial part of your post-workout routine. Balance a meal with proteins, carbs and fat, macronutrients that are essential to the recovery process. Proteins contain amino acids that rebuild muscles, carbs restore expended energy, and healthy fats promote muscle growth. To combine all of these nutrients in a tasty dish, consider one of CSN's healthy recipes.
5. Go to bed early
One of the most important things you can do to improve the benefits of a workout is to get high-quality rest. During sleep, the body restores its systems, rebuilding broken muscle tissue and reducing inflammation. After a good night’s sleep, you should be waking up feeling restored and performing better. If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider investing in a mattress for troubled sleepers or foam pillow to get the sleep you need.
Another way to get the restorative sleep your muscles crave is to combine some of these tips and eat dinner or post-workout snack that supports your rest. Some foods will help you fall asleep, but others are better to be avoided. Use this guide to structure your diet and restore your fitness-supporting sleep schedule.
After a draining exercise, there might be nothing you want to do more than collapse into bed. In order to get the most out of your workouts, though, you have to discipline yourself before, during and after your gym time. Muscle recovery and fitness building depend on the steps you take in the hours following a workout. Try to incorporate these suggestions into your daily workout routine so you become accustomed to treating your body right after intensive work.