What About After Your Workout?


Many of the people who come into the gym have a great pre-workout and workout routine. They make sure to drink plenty of water before and during exercise, I see them warming up, they make sure to work their entire body, and most of them even get in some time doing cardio. The problem is that after they complete that last exercise or after they hop off of the treadmill, they quickly head back to the locker room, change, and head back to work.

What so many people out there don’t realize is the importance of what you do after your workout. True, the majority of the work is done, but how you treat your body in the minutes and hours after you exercise has a direct impact on the level of muscle soreness you’ll experience, muscle strength and growth, and staying hydrated as well.

Cool Down
After the last repetition has been completed, your workout is not over. The first thing you need to do is cool down. Even if  cardio is all you did, you  should do some light cardio for a few minutes in order for your heart rate to drop gradually. A true cool down will bring your heart rate back down below 100 bpm, which helps you avoid feeling nauseous and sick after a workout. Walking on a treadmill or around a track  for five minutes is a good  way to cool down.

I’ve given this  topic quite a bit of attention  already, so it should sound pretty familiar by now… You need to  stretch after each and every workout. This is one of the most important things you can do for your body. After a workout, your muscles have a buildup of  lactic acid, they are swollen from the blood and fluid  that you’re body has sent  because  they were working.

Stretching after exercise relaxes your muscles, which helps speed circulation to your joints and tissues and helps get rid of that lactic acid buildup. What does that mean? It means the degree of muscle soreness and stiffness you experience will be less. Yay for stretching!!

Drink Water
Most folks are pretty good at drinking water while they exercise and some are even good at making sure they are properly hydrated  before they workout. But most don’t continue to drink water after they are done exercising. It is important to replenish your fluid levels after exercise. It has been recommended that you drink  2-3 cups within two hours after you have finished.  Also, make sure to drink water regularly afterwards,  you may not feel thirsty, but you need to maintain your hydration level or your thirst will return (at which point, you are already dehydrated).

Eating is one of the most important things you can do after a workout. Think about it, you have just  burned hundreds of calories and  actually torn your muscles. Granted, small tears but tears none the less.  Your body needs to repair your muscles and boost your energy levels. It’s recommended that you eat within 90 minutes of your workout, but in my opinion, the sooner the better. Choose foods that are packed with complex carbohydrates immediately following exercise to replenish your energy levels. An hour after your workout, choose  foods high in protein to begin repairing your muscles.

So next time you head to the gym and rip it up, when you turn to head for the door, remember to follow the steps above and give back to your body. Look what it just did for you!

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