Written by Minh Mai
Working out on a regular basis is important in itself, however you may not be maximizing its benefits and building muscles if you aren’t following certain steps afterwards. On top of eating healthily, sleeping well, and staying hydrated in your daily life, here are 5 things you should always do post-workout.
A cool-down brings your body back to a natural resting position, if you go straight back to a resting position straight after exercise, your muscles could seize up and it will hinder recovery. After a workout, you should hold your stretches for at least 15 seconds each. Stretches which lengthen the spine and hamstrings are usually the most beneficial for the whole body, and should be practiced on a regular basis.
Giving your body the fuel it needs to recover after a tough sweat is essential. You should eat during the anabolic window, the period of time which lasts about 30 to 45 minutes after the workout. During this time, your body looks for carbohydrates and protein to help replenish glycogen stores and rebuild muscle, so getting your body the nutrition it needs to recover in a timely manner is important. It also prevents feelings of intense hunger later, so you are more likely to eat a balanced evening meal and avoid bingeing.
3. Take a Cool Shower
Taking a cool shower helps decrease the inflammation after a workout and accelerates the healing process. By decreasing inflammation, you decrease your chances of muscle soreness, and you can continue to perform at your best day in, day out.
4. Rejuvenate Your Skin
Training is hard for your muscles, but can be even tougher on your skin: a 45-minute sweat session can cause your skin to lose almost a litre of water and, even if you glug down that much immediately after your workout, your skin can struggle to rehydrate. Neglect to moisturise before leaving the gym and your skin more susceptible to environmental stress that can lead to premature ageing. Always remember to close your pores after washing your face, which can be done using cold water or skin toner, as failing to do so can lead to blockages and blemishes.
5. Track Your Progress
Without a written record of your workouts you'll struggle to make effective progress or gauge how best to change things up. The endorphin flood incited by a decent training session often lasts a lot longer than your memory of the routine you used, so to keep it interesting, people often find keeping track of their progress helpful. Whether you prefer to use a fitness tracker app or old-fashioned pen and paper, tracking your progress can boost the productivity of your workout and help you set new goals.