Your workouts do not end right after your last rep in an exercise. Don’t throw away all the hard work you put into an intense 60-90 minute workout by just going home and sitting on your couch. If you want to reap the rewards, incorporate these 4 essential steps in your post workout routine.
#1 STRETCH & ROLL
In any workout, your muscles are in a constant state of tension. Especially when strength training, the goal is to increase the time under tension in your muscles. With that comes tightness and some micro muscle tears which can lead to pain, soreness and stiffness. A stretch after your workouts can help to relieve tightness and increase range of motion. Especially for those who are not as flexible and focus on body building, a post workout stretch is especially important. Myofascial release with a foam roller will help to increase blood flow and circulation while lengthening the muscles and breaking up adhesions and knots. For best results, use a roller first to break up the tissue then go into the stretches. These active recovery methods will help you heal and recover for the next workout.
– These are my favorite rollers to use: Rumble Roller and Triggerpoint Therapy.
– Check out my past blog posts for some great stretches. #1 Hip Stretches #2 Twists #3 Full body stretches
#2 REPLENISH YOUR MACROS + MICROS
The goal of a post workout nutrition is to replenish your energy storage, increase muscle size and/or quality, and repair any muscle damage from your workout. So the important macronutrients to replenish are your protein and carbohydrate storage. Protein will help to decrease muscle breakdown and repair any damage caused by the workout. Enjoying a post workout protein shake will help with protein synthesis so you can build back your muscles, decrease soreness, and improve recovery. Carbohydrates replace muscle glycogen and aids in the role of transporting nutrients to the cells. Best option for carbohydrates to enjoy post workout would be whole foods (non-starchy vegetables and fresh fruit). Your body starts to rebuild muscle as soon as your workout ends so the ideal window for protein and carbohydrate replenishment would be 45 min to an hour after your workout.
When eating the right foods for protein and carbohydrate, the essential micronutrients should be present as well. Key micronutrients to aid in recovery and muscle building are Vitamins C,A,K,B, and D and minerals such as selenium, sodium, manganese, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. However if you are not able to enjoy whole foods packed with these nutrients, then taking a multi-vitamin and supplements can help. Specific for post workout, magnesium is important for recovery. Magnesium is considered the “helper”molecule in several biochemical reactions in the body. It helps convert food into energy, to create protein from amino acids, aids to reduce inflammation, helps to regulate neurotransmitters, move blood sugar into the muscles and dispose of lactic acid and over 600 more body reactions. Taking a magnesium supplement or soaking in an Epsom salt bath will help to replenish low magnesium storage and promote faster recovery.
Proper hydration regulates body temperature, lubricates the joints, and helps the body function at its peak. When going through an intense workout, we can sweat out over 30-50 oz of fluid. So if you’re depleted and close to dehydration, your body will see signs of muscle weakness, cramping and spasming. Adequate hydration is essential to refill what you’ve just excreted so be sure to not only drink post workout but before and during. Drink 8oz or more of water 30 minutes before your workout, 8oz during, and 10-12 oz after is ideal.
#4 PASSIVE RECOVERY
Unlike active recovery, passive recovery is literally doing nothing but relaxing your body and allowing it to heal. Getting a massage, elevating your feet, relaxing in a steam room or infrared sauna, salt baths, acupuncture, cold chambers, ice compression, cold baths, and a night of restful sleep are great ways to recover. These methods allow the body to rest, decompress, reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and rebuild itself so you can heal and prepare for your next training session.
We all have fitness goals and are so focused on achieving them but if these elements are not part of your routine, then all your efforts in training and hitting those goals will be twice as hard. Make a checklist for yourself and keep these top of mind. It is just as, if not more, important than your training. Make the time for these “must do’s” so you show up 100% for each and every workout and keep your body healthy and strong.
Every body is different. If you’d like to learn more about how you can incorporate these methods and build a specific plan that fits your fitness and wellness goals, send me an email to schedule a complimentary online consultation.