You’ve just spent the last hour pushing your body to the limit, but did you know your after-workout ritual is just as important?
Avoid a progress plateau and minimise delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMs) by eating healthy foods and giving your body a moment to recover. Following the right post-workout plan can help you build muscle after you stop moving, and keep you on track on ‘off’ days. It may be easier said than done, but we’re here to help with a few easy tips to test out after your next workout.
Change out of your activewear
It’s easy to rush off straight away after a workout, grabbing the groceries still dressed in your gym clothes. But a key part of your post-workout ritual should be changing – at the very least, try and get out of any wet, sweaty clothing like sports bras or socks.
Sitting or standing in wet clothing, especially if it’s tight, can trap moisture and lead to breakouts and skin infections.
Cooling down is just as important as warming up
Have you ever felt lightheaded or dizzy as soon as you stop exercising? You may be stopping too suddenly. Just like you wouldn’t slam on the brakes on the highway, your body also needs to slowly come to a rest. A few cool-down exercises can help your heart rate to return to its normal state.
- Try taking a walk for a few minutes after a run.
- Use dynamic stretches that target your major muscle groups like glutes, hamstrings and core to improve flexibility and range of motion. Think lunges, knee to chest or forward bends.
- Run through a quick 5 minute Yoga routine.
Fill up your water bottle
We all know how essential water is to our overall health, but it’s especially important after a workout. Keeping your water up can improve muscle flexibility and prevent muscle soreness. Make sure you hydrate before, take sips during and then drink up after your workout!
After a particularly strenuous workout, you might want to opt for a sports drink to replace lost electrolytes. Just make sure you steer clear of anything that has added sugar! You’re also going to want to avoid caffeine and alcohol after a workout because it can dehydrate you even more.
Munch on a healthy snack
You know those people that have a protein shake straight after a workout? It turns out they might be onto something! Your muscles are depleted of carbs and glycogen after a workout, primed to absorb the nutrients they need to start the repair process.
Ideally you’ll want to eat within an hour of finishing your workout to help replenish energy stores and aid in the recovery process. We love protein shakes, sweet potatoes, grains and eggs.
Pamper yourself with a massage
Take a leaf out of a professional athlete’s book and incorporate a massage into your training plan. It may seem a little bit indulgent, but time with a good remedial masseuse can help improve muscle strength, flexibility and cell recovery!
A bit out of your budget? Give yourself some TLC with a massage ball at home or try a massage device to work out any post-workout kinks.
Treat yourself to some self care
We’ve saved the best for last! A key part of your post-workout routine is self-care. Whether that means taking a nap, switching on Netflix or curling up with a good book, take a few moments to rest. Cutting out stress can help your body bounce back quicker and make sure you recover well after a big sweat session.
The recovery process is just as important as your workout. Giving your muscles the best chance to help will help boost your performance. Keep in mind that you should always give yourself a rest whenever you feel like you need it!