Many of us have worked hard for several months to develop a workout routine, and we surely deserve a pat on the back. We warm-up and engage our entire body to get the most out of workout, whether it’s on a vibration platform machine or a chest press. But when the exercise is over, we immediately chug down some water, clean up and head back home. What many of us fail to realize is that we need a post-workout routine just as bad.
You might have done everything right and by the book during your exercise, but what you do after it determines how you help your muscles heal and strengthen. The level of soreness of your muscles depends entirely upon a proper post-workout routine. Don’t worry; it’s not as complicated as it sounds. Here are just some of the tips that can quickly get you started;
Cool Down the Body Temperature
Your workout is not over even after your last exercise, and the first thing that should be on your list is helping your body cool down. If you’re a runner, you still need to improve your heart rate go down to normal before you do anything else. It prevents the nauseating feeling most people get after an exercise. Do a little cardio or anything light that will help gradually lower down your heart rate. You can also walk on a treadmill for a few minutes at an average speed.
You probably stretched before starting your workout routine, but you must do it again. After a workout, it is not unusual for your muscles to contract which is what we’re trying to avoid. Stretching post workout helps relax your muscles so that they can rebuild and grow normally and give you the full benefit of the effort you put in your workout.
Stretching also helps relax your body along with your muscles. Not only does it improve circulation to your joints, muscles, and tissues, but it also helps in better oxygenation. It allows the body to get rid of any toxin build-up naturally. Proper stretching can help with sore and stiff muscles that many beginners face. It’s a huge inconvenience especially if you’re starting a workout session. So tweak your routine just a bit and add stretches in pre and post-workout routines too.
Don’t forget to hydrate
When muscles go through periods of strenuous exercise, they tend to retain more water, especially when the hydration level of the body is low. You must keep replenishing your fluids and for this, after stretching, drink at least 3 cups of water within an hour. After that, you can continue to drink regularly. You might not even feel thirsty but your muscles still need to be hydrated. Drink plenty of water afterward or eat fruits that have a higher water concentration.
Take a nice warm shower
If sweat droplets trickling down your back weren’t reason enough already, there’s one more reason why a shower after a workout can be helpful. A warm bath can energize you and help relax your muscles. Many physical therapists recommend alternating between warmer and cooler water temperatures during a shower, as it can help in muscle recovery and growth.
A Post Workout Protein Shake
If you didn’t know already, your muscles are made up mostly of proteins. The tiny building blocks called amino acids are essential for their structural integrity, so while you’re in your car, stuck in traffic or driving home, you can have a healthy drink. Consuming protein shake with whey is an excellent source of amino acids and leucine that can not only help provide the much-needed protein content for muscle building, but it’s also quite refreshing. Shakes don’t tend to sit in your stomach; they’re very easily digested and can get the amino acids to your muscles in a short time.
After a vigorous workout, milk can help you recover as it contains enough carbohydrates and proteins to reduce any muscle breakdown. Having milk after your exercise has been known to promote the growth of your muscles and keep your metabolism in top shape.
Green Tea and Caffeine
Tea and coffee work as excellent energy boosters, especially after a workout. It makes you feel energized and helps in muscle recovery. The catechins present in tea prolong the release time of caffeine which means there will be no crash or fits of anxious jittering. Apart from the soothing and revitalizing benefits of green tea, it also tastes quite yummy.
Refueling Your Energy Reserves
Starving yourself after a workout, thinking it might help you with weight loss, is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. During an exercise, not only do you use up a lot of your carbs stored in the body, but you’re also tearing up your muscles. To get a boost of energy and repair the muscle fibers, you need to eat without a prolonged delay.
Don’t just stuff your face with all the fast food you like. Eat smart and healthy. Have fried vegetables or a steak that can be a great source of protein. Complex carbohydrates and high protein foods keep you full for a longer time and prevent you from snacking irregularly in between.
Work on your post-workout routine just as much as your workout. You’ll feel more energized and refreshed.