We all see the benefits of working out...we feel good, our clothes fit better, our skin looks better… But the workout itself is just part of the equation. What you do before and after your workout can affect your progress, your goals, and your overall health. You might already be eating a healthy snack before your workout to give you an energy boost, but what about post-workout? What should you be doing then? Take a look at these things you should and shouldn't be doing after your sweat sesh..
One of the worst things you can eat after a workout is junk… and by this I mean food with little to no nutritional value. When you are eating post-workout, whatever you eat is going directly to the places that need repair. If you are eating empty calories, nothing is happening! This is why you need quality carbs and protein post-workout.
Your pre-workout meal or snack should give you the energy supply you need to make it through your workout, while your post-workout meals should refuel your body and repair damage done during a workout. Because you are creating tiny tears in your muscles during a workout, you must repair this damage and help your muscles grow by refueling with carbs and protein. Skipping these crucial post-workout calories can be detrimental to your efforts and you will end up wasting a lot of time in the gym. An easy post-workout snack is a protein shake, mix some protein powder with water and drink up. Mix this with something like rice cakes or fruit to get some quick burning carbs to go right to muscles that need repair the most. Stay tuned to future blog posts about what is best to eat before and after a workout!
Flexibility work is something that is most often ignored, forgotten or rushed through, especially post-workout. We’re often in such a hurry to get done we just leave it at that. But post-workout is when flexibility work (AKA stretching) is most crucial. Your muscle are most pliable when they are warm, this means after a workout. Think about bending a cold piece of steel; it doesn't work right? SO why would you try to bend and stretch muscles when they are cold? Steel has to warmed and melted to bend; the same is true with your body. Flexibility is built best when muscles are in their most flexible state. This helps prevent injuries, improves mobility and range of motion in the body, while also helping to improve strength. Muscles cannot strengthen if they cannot lengthen. Believe it or not, you need longer muscles to build strength. When they are short and contracted, they have nowhere to go! Your body and your older self will thank you for taking the time to stretch and lengthen those tight muscles…
Sleep is your body’s time for recovery. You body goes into recovery mode when you sleep, sending the nutrients and minerals your muscles, tissues and bones need to repair themselves. So it make sense that when you slack on proper sleep, your body feels it. Not only do you feel tired and sluggish, but your body hurts! Your body needs this time to repair itself.
Not sure what kind of pills were referring to here, but if we’re talking supplements for recovery, many of them are not necessary. If you are eating a diet full of the right WHOLE foods, and refuel correctly post workout, your body isn’t going to be lacking in nutrients and taking supplements can be a waste. Many of them are water soluble so you just end up peeing them out anyway! There are a few exceptions. A probiotic supplement is something that everyone can benefit from, as the majority of our western civilization suffers from some sort of digestion or gut issues (some of us don’t even know it) so a good probiotic supplement can regulate gut health, keeping your immune system running strong. While this doesn’t directly influence your recovery from workouts, your gut is responsible for a ton of process in the body influencing sending nutrients in the right place or recovery. An anti inflammatory supplement can also be good for those that are active….and by this I mean something natural. Turmeric is one of the most powerful anti inflammatories out there and these days you can find it in powder or capsule form. There are even some that include other minerals and nutrients that are good for repair like magnesium and vitamin C.