A few weeks back we looked at what not to do before a workout and today we’ll change gears and focus on what not to do after working out. Your post-workout routine is just as important as it’s what allows for optimal recovery which ultimately will set you up for success the next time you hit the gym. So without further ado, here are the 5 things to never do after training.
1. Skip the cooldown
After a tough training session your heart rate is elevated, your body temperature is up and your cortisol levels are higher than usual. The last thing you want to do is come to a complete stop altogether without slowing down. Think of your body like a car: when you hit the brakes all of a sudden, it’s a bit of a shock to the system. Slow down first, hop on the treadmill for some light walking and let your body cooldown.
2. Forget to stretch
Another super important thing that many people don’t do is stretch. When you workout your body releases lactic acid in the muscles which can lead to that sore, stiff and achy feeling. Static stretching allows you to release some of the acid build up to help speed recovery and prevent injury. Not to mention that stretching will also improve flexibility which will let your body go deeper into the movements when you train leading to greater gains and fat loss. Be sure to stick to static stretching post-workout where you hit each muscle group and hold each stretch for 5-10 seconds.
3. Drink caffeine
When you workout the stress hormone cortisol is released and stays elevated even after your workout. This is the one time that this is a good thing. Elevated cortisol levels help you push harder, run faster and lift heavier. That being said, after you’re done, you want to avoid any kind of stimulants that will keep your stress hormones jacked up. Keep the coffee and energy drinks to a minimum, especially after training.
4. Eat fat
Dietary fat in moderation is good for you, but it’s also very slow digesting, much more so that carbs and protein. Once you’re done exercising, your body needs to start the recovery process and fat is just too slow for the job. Your body needs fuel, fast. Save the cashews and coconut oil for another meal and go low fat instead.
5. Avoid carbs
I hope you know by now that carbohydrates are not the devil. They are incremental to post-workout recovery. When you train, you actually cause microscopic tears in the muscle tissue and repairing the damage is what leads to muscle growth and strength gains. Carbohydrates play a huge role in this. The key is to opt for fast digesting carbs that aren’t too high in fiber. Things like white rice, white potatoes, certain fruits can help get your body into recovery mode. Couple carbs with a lean protein source (a ratio of 2:1 in terms of grams of carbs to protein) and you are good to go.
So there you have it. These are the 5 simple but super important things to never do after exercising. Whatever your goal is, just keep at it. Consistency and constant progress is what will get you there and then some!