After a workout most of us head home have a bite to eat and go on with our day. But there are a few things we all should do to make our workout sessions count from beginning to end. How you eat and what you do in the hours following exercise can dramatically impact whether your body continues to burn more calories, repair itself, and build muscle.
First of all stretch all those muscles you just worked. Static stretching( bending and holding) is best. By doing static stretches immediately after your workouts it will help your body cool down, help those muscle relax and hopefully get tight muscles back to their resting length. It’s recommended that each stretch be held 30 seconds to one minute at the end of every workout.
Don’t forget to shower after your workout. Did you know an exercise bike has 39 times more bacteria than a plastic cafeteria tray, the treadmill has 79 times more bacteria than a water faucet and free weights have 362 times more bacteria than a toilet seat. All these germs get trapped on your skin and flourish in the gym environment. The best time to combat any viruses stuck on your skin is to take a shower right at the gym using an antibacterial wash and don’t forget those flip flops for your feet. They will help you avoid foot fungus.
Get on the scale. Losing more than 2% of your body weight from the beginning of your workout to the end may mean you were just really dehydrated. Apart from decreasing your exercise performance and putting you at risk of heat stroke, getting dehydrated during your workouts can also cause DOMS or the symptoms of delayed onset muscle soreness. If you find you are dehydrated a sports drink with electrolytes can help significantly. To help you determine the amount of fluid you have lost during exercise, you can weigh yourself before and after exercise. For each pound lost during activity, drink 24 oz. of fluid.
Eat a protein and a carb after every workout. Protein is the major material used in muscle repair and is a large part of the recovery. How much protein depends on what type of exercise you do. If you have been lifting weights or running you will need more protein because there is generally more muscle damage than if you have done something with less impact like Walking,Yoga or Pilates. The more damage there is to the muscle the more protein you need to rebuild that same muscle as it becomes stronger. The general rule of thumb is 20 grams after workouts. The higher the impact the higher the grams of protein. Carbohydrates is what restores glycogen in muscles. A 4:1 carbohydrate-to-protein ratio, is ideal for muscle recovery. This means, that for every gram of protein you consume following a workout, you likely need three to four times as many grams of carbs. Whole carbs include fruit, whole grains and dairy. Try to consume this combo 30-60 minutes after your workout!