Five things you should do after a workout
After a workout you should be feeling great, not stiff, sore and exhausted. Follow our five post-gym tips to make your session count from beginning to end.
1. Cool down
Walking back to your car doesn’t count as ‘cool down’. This is a vital part of any workout that a lot of people overlook. When you do cardio exercises, your blood pressure goes up and your body gets warmer. Before you leave the gym, take 10 minutes to bring your body temperature down a bit by doing some gentle exercise (walking on the treadmill or choosing a low resistance setting on the bikes), and stretches.
2. Eat some protein
Your muscles will continue to work out for around 20 minutes after you finish your gym session. This is the best time to ‘feed’ them by eating some lean protein. Try an egg-white omelette, a piece of grilled chicken, a three-bean salad (for the vegans!) or a low-cal protein bar. You will see the results in a matter of weeks, as your muscles become more defined.
You may have been drinking diligently throughout your workout, but your body continues to sweat even after you’ve left the gym. Drink a pint of water as soon as you get home, or join the craze for super-hydrating coconut water, which is also a great source of muscle-friendly potassium.
4. Take a bath
People sweat; sweat smells. It’s a no brainer. But taking a bath after you exercise is not just about hygiene. Adding a cup of Epsom Salts to a hot bath has been proven to aid muscle recovery, so you won’t feel as stiff the day after your workout.
5. Get a massage
OK, this is one for the hardcore fitness buffs. If you are training for a big event, or are on a deadline to put on some muscle, you will probably be working out every day. With little down time between sessions, your muscles will need a helping hand to relax and recover. Book yourself in for a sports massage once a week, and you will feel the difference in your next workout.