What you do in the gym matters. The exercises you do, your rest periods, and your level of effort all play a role in the results you can expect. But aside from that, how we spend time outside the gym has an impact too. Specifically, what we do and avoid after a workout can make a difference for us.
To that end, we have put together this post outlining the most important things to do and avoid following a training session.
Avoid: Eating whatever you want.
Too many people make the mistake of eating whatever they enjoy after a workout. Others reward themselves with junk food because they have completed a workout, so they feel justified.
The problem is, not paying attention to your nutritional choices will hinder your gym progress and might even stop you from reaching your goals. Plus, poor nutrition will impede your recovery, preventing you from training hard during subsequent workouts.
Do: Have a balanced Post-Workout Meal.
Your post-workout meal is important because it kickstarts the recovery process and prevents muscle loss by stimulating muscle protein synthesis and glycogen replenishment. So, have a meal that consists of high-quality protein and complex carbs. Fantastic foods include:
- Whole grains
Avoid: Doing even more physical work
Training is excellent because it boosts our mood and improves our energy levels. So, we might find ourselves looking for extra things to do: playing sports, doing cardio, and more.
The post-training period is for recovery. It is time to give your muscles the rest they need, so your body can start repairing the exercise-induced damage.
Do: Take a break
One of the best things you can do once you finish a workout is to take a break. Go home, kick back, and relax. Combining this tactic with proper nutrition will help you optimize your recovery and allow you to get back to the gym feeling strong and fresh.
Avoid: Hitting the Locker Room immediately.
Many trainees rush out of the gym as soon as they set the weight down for the last time. Sure, that is one way to go about it. Plus, what else is there to do? You have done your work, you feel tired, and you want to go home to recover. But hitting the locker room immediately as you finish a workout is not the best way to go about it.
Do: Stretch and cool down
Taking the time to cool down after training is incredibly beneficial for your well-being and longevity in the gym. Take as little as five to ten minutes to stretch and cool down after a workout. For example, you can start with the muscles you trained during your workout, then work your way around other muscle groups, too.
Stretching after training is excellent because it improves your flexibility, supports recovery, and can reduce muscle soreness. Plus, doing so after training is beneficial because you get to enjoy the euphoric post-training state even more. You can think and be in the moment, almost like having an active meditation session.