Killing it in the gym is one thing but it’s also important to get your post-workout routine in check to see the best results out of your session.
If you notice your recovery time is longer than it should be or you’re just not seeing results you may be skipping a few of these often overlooked after-gym rituals.
1. Stretch worked muscles
Often forgotten, stretching after a strenuous lifting session only adds an extra 10 minutes to your sesh and has a whole range of benefits.
Stretching and massage with a foam roller helps reduce muscle soreness, inflammation and speeds up the recovery process, eliminating the lactic acid that builds up in muscles from working out.
The act is also quite therapeutic, stimulating pressure receptors which results in relaxation of the nervous system and reduced levels of cortisol.
2. Eat carbs as well as protein
Protein is highly fetishised when it comes to fitness, but carbs and fats are just as important!
Carbs help refuel depleted muscles and refill energy stores and promote insulin release, which is needed to build muscle.
It’s worth remembering the 70/30 rule, that if your diet is bad then you will never get the results you want from exercise. 70% of any body transformation is from your diet and 30% from exercise.
3. Replenish electrolytes
Credit: Mike Dorner
If your workouts are longer than 60 minutes and you’re dripping in sweat by the end of them, chances are you’ve lost a fair amount of minerals.
Lost nutrients include chloride, potassium, fluoride and magnesium. These need to be replenished, they are essential in maintaining fluid balance as an imbalance results in nausea, mental confusion, fatigue and cramps.
The easiest way to get these minerals back into your system is by adding plenty of colourful veg and fruit to your post workout meal. Kale, broccoli, tomatoes, bananas are all rich sources of the various minerals you lose. Plus adding a little extra table salt to your meal will ensure sodium levels are replenished.
4. Make your post-gym shower a cool one
We know, hot steamy showers are so relaxing after a heavy gym session, but swapping to cold has heaps of benefits.
They increase blood circulation, kick start the healing process. The colder temperature also helps by restricting blood vessels and metabolic activity, meaning less tissue damage and swelling.
For those brave enough, try the occasional cryotherapy session too. A chamber which subjects the body to -90 degrees to reduce inflammation, recovery time and performance. The treatment is becoming a hit in the UK!
Chronic stress, whether from not enough sleep, work or other general worries of life is detrimental to the body and mind and can really affect your workout results.
Firstly too much stress can dramatically prolong recovery times, it also inhibits muscle gain by throwing your hormones off balance.
If you’re unsure why your gains aren’t coming through despite having your routine and lifestyle in check, stress may be the cause.
Find a stress management technique and take an active approach towards reducing as much unnecessary stress as possible from your life.
These rituals often go amiss to the average gym goer and are well-worth starting to optimise your growth and getting the most out of your gym sessions.
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