Mathews McGarry is passionate about many forms of strength training, and spent years lifting, dragging and flipping all manner of heavy objects. After graduating on the Faculty of Exercise and Sport Science, he started writing about his experiences, and sharing advice for better life. Follow him on Twitter.
Exercise significantly changes our body. Muscles use glycogen and adenosine triphosphate as their fuel, but since our body can store only limited amounts of these two compounds, it requires more oxygen to create another batch of ATP.
If we don’t take enough oxygen, our body will create lactic acid instead ATP, and we will feel muscle fatigue.
Lactic acid needs from 30 to 60 minutes to get flushed out of our organism and muscle soreness that usually comes after hard exercises usually lasts for a couple of days.
Muscles are not the only parts of our body that are affected with a hard workout; our lungs, heart, diaphragm, brain, and joints are also affected. All of these organs need some time to cool and slow down to their original working pace.
A post-workout routine is very important in this process because it enables our body to restore its normal functions in a calm and relaxed way. Immediate changes in function can be very unhealthy and cause many problems, from muscle soreness to heart attacks.
In this article, we have listed some of the best tips to improve your post-workout routine.
This is the most important thing to do after each workout. It is required after all kinds of physical training sessions, from running and swimming, to weightlifting and ball sports.
You can cool down in many different ways. In most cases it is not advisable to sit or lie down immediately.
You should do some lighter cardio exercises, stroll around a bit, or do a slow walking session on the treadmill.
One of the best ways to cool down is to do stretching exercises.
Your muscles naturally contract after each heavy workout. They need to be stretched to return to their original status.
Stretching also enables muscles to rebuild and grow bigger and stronger.
There are several different types of stretching, including: dynamic, ballistic, active, passive, static stretching, etc. Post-workout routines should contain different types of static stretching.
This type is similar to dynamic stretching, because it moves joints through all ranges of motion, but it also doesn’t increase core temperature, which makes it very suitable for post-workout routines.
Depending on which muscles and joints you used the most during the exercise, you need to target the same group with your stretches and hold different postures from 10 to 30 seconds. You can also add some passive stretching, and let someone else stretch you while you relax your body.
This is one of the most common things people do after a hard workout and there’s a very good reason for it. Sweat is like the body’s air-conditioning system and our bodies extensively sweat during training. If we add fluids and minerals we lose with urine to this equation, we can see that extensive sweating can easily lead to dehydration.
When dehydration comes, our body needs to work much harder to achieve its goals.
Our heart needs to pump harder, which is why dehydration can be very dangerous. That’s why after hard exercises you need to hydrate your body, so it can produce more sweat that will cool down your body temperature and lubricate your joints.
Drinking water is a must, but you can also involve some other liquids that will replenish the electrolytes you have lost during the workout.
These are minerals that are running through your blood stream and which control the amount of water in your body. You can replenish them with drinking sport drinks, electrolyte tablets or powders.
You can also try more natural options, like coconut water for example.
Consume High Protein Foods
Our bodies lose amino acids when they’re active, which means you need to add more protein to your diet after physically exhausting training sessions.
Most people panic about the possible loss of protein and the anabolic window effect. That’s why they start consuming protein powders, immediately after they finish the last pull-up.
It is true that protein should be taken after a workout, but since our body needs from 24 to 36 hours to recover, we have a much longer period of time to bring back the perfect amino acid balance.
Anyway, eating high protein foods days after our training has ended enables us to get back into a perfect shape faster.
Wear Compression Shirts
These magical shirts and other pieces of clothing aid muscle recovery, remove body toxins and improve circulation.
It is no wonder that many doctors recommend compression shirts, because they are able to dump all the metabolic waste from our bodies and to oxygenate our blood, and this helps our muscles recover faster.
There are many different compression clothes manufacturers, and it is always better to choose proven brands like Ryder for example, instead of unknown brands that might be cheap, but without the long list of health benefits compression clothing is known for.
Your post workout relaxation routine should also be followed by a relaxing shower and a special diet plan for the next couple of days.
This plan should include things like: avocado, sweet potatoes, eggs, whey, dry figs and green tea.
The combination of these ingredients will help you replenish you energy and get back on track with your exercise plan more quickly.