Fueling your body properly after a workout is just as important as the actual workout itself. Post-workout recovery is essential, but it tends to get overlooked. Whenever we finish a workout, no matter how great it was, we often finish our last set, head to the locker room, and grab our things and head out the door. But with all that, you’re missing out on the opportunity to give you body some crucial things.
Studies have shown that people who take certain measures to cool down after a workout, like stretching, foam rolling, and other aspects, saw huge benefits. These benefits include things like less muscle soreness, shorter recovery time, and better muscle gain. So what should you include in your post-workout routine? Keep reading to find out!
Once you’ve powered through your workout routine and finished that last set of movements, it’s important that you don’t just stop there. Your heart rate is usually higher once you’ve peaked through your workout and it’s important that you bring it down in a healthy way. Engaging in various cool-down exercises like yoga poses, stretching, or walking are all great ways to cool your body down. It only takes about 10-15 minutes to properly bring your workout to a close.
Like we mentioned above, stretching is a great way to help cool your body down, especially if you’re not feeling like hopping back on the treadmill. Stretching is a great way to increase your flexibility and mobility, which can help protect your whole body and make it less susceptible to injury.
Foam rolling can be unfamiliar territory for some people, but we promise, once you’ve tried it, you will love it. Your gym will most likely have these but if they don’t, they are pretty affordable and can be found at places like Walmart and Target. While some foam rollers have fancy-looking ridges and bumps on them, they all do the same thing, so any type will do. Using a foam roller allows your natural body weight to workout any knots or kinks that may have formed in your muscles as a normal effect of workouts. Fair warning, it can be a bit painful at times, so do not be alarmed if it isn’t as soothing as it sounds. If you are experiencing any pain that doesn’t seem normal, stop immediately. Ultimately, foam rolling helps restore your muscles and speeds up the recovery time in-between workouts.
This one seems a bit obvious but you’d be surprised by how many people do not get their daily water intake in. When you’re working out, you sweat and your body loses water, so it’s important to replenish that water that you’ve lost.
Fuel Your Body
Just as you need to refuel your body with water, you need to refuel your body with proper food sources. You’ll most likely start to feel hungry after engaging in a workout so this one is a pretty easy step to follow. But you want to make sure that you’re giving you body the optimal nutrients to help it recover. The protein shake is the most common way that people seem to refuel themselves, but if you want to actually eat something, protein is still the right way to go. Protein helps your muscles kickstart their recovery process so anything with about 20-25g of protein will do. Protein powders, greek yogurt, lean jerkys, and low-fat cottage cheese are all great ways to get your protein fix in.
Track Your Progress
We live in an age of technology, so chances are that you probably already own some type of device that can help with this. But if you don’t, there are tons of apps available for both Apple and Android phones, as well as devices like FitBits and Apple Watches. While tracking numbers is a great way to get an accurate depiction of your progress, remember that numbers aren’t everything. So, progress pictures are also a great way to help track your progress if you’re wanting to step away from the numbers. They’re also a great visual representation of how much your body has changed which can sometimes be hard to see if you’re just looking at the numbers. By tracking your progress, you’ll be able to look back and see how far you’ve come, which is one of the most rewarding feelings ever!
This may seem like a long list, but they really can make a huge difference in the end. At Fit In New England, we want to help you make the most of your time in the gym. From small group classes and personal training to guidance about the health and fitness industry, our experienced team of educators are ready to help. Contact us today to get started or walk in and visit us in Medford. We can’t wait to help you on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.