There’s nothing quite like hitting your fitness routine stride. The momentum is amazing, but it’s important to keep in mind how easily we can sabotage our progress without meaning to.
You’re done your workout, and you feel great. But now what? It’s important to remember that what you do after your workout can impact the lasting effects and progress of your exercise. Along with some healthy alternatives, here are the five worst things you can do post-workout:
1. Eat Unhealthy Foods
After a hard workout, your body is going to need to refuel. You’ve just burned calories, so you’re going to be hungry. As such, you may start to feel cravings for foods that your body doesn’t need, such as french fries, burgers, or chicken wings.
Instead of giving in to your cravings, focus on everything you’ve just accomplished and seek out a healthy and satisfying way to feed your hunger. Some great post-workout foods that are quick to make, healthy, and filling are:
- Fruit salad with a side of greek yogourt
- Salad with lots of fresh veggies with a helping of protein (chicken, tofu, beans, hard-boiled egg)
- A smoothie with a scoop of protein powder
- Sandwich on whole grain or gluten-free bread, complete with fresh toppings
- A brown rice burrito bowl
2. Consume Alcohol
After your workout, a friend rings you up to see if you want to meet up for a drink. How will alcohol affect your workout?
Put plainly and simply, alcohol contains a lot of calories and it’s an easy way to sabotage the workout you just shed sweat for. Also, alcohol has been linked to how your body stores glycogen, and it can cause you to feel fatigued quicker during your next cardio workout, especially if you consume more than a drink or two.
There’s no need to forego meeting up with your friends, though! Swap out your usual alcoholic beverage for a refreshing soda water with lemon instead. Your body will thank you for the extra hydration.
3. Skip Your Cool Down
Cooling down after a workout helps your breathing and heart rate return to resting levels at a gradual pace. It also helps ensure that you don’t suffer from dizziness or fainting due to blood pooling in the muscle areas. You may be in a hurry to head out the door after hitting it hard at the gym, but always take the time to engage in a proper cool-down.
4. Forget to Hydrate
When you’re exercising at the gym, you are perspiring which depletes your water storage. The only way to get it back is to hydrate during and after your workout. You may not feel thirsty, but make hydrating a regular part of your exercise routine.
Drinks that help with rehydrate the body include:
- Coconut Water
It’s also helpful to eat fruit and veggies that are hydrating such as watermelons, cucumbers, lettuce, and oranges.
5. Not Get Enough Sleep
If you’re tired when exercising, you are putting yourself at risk for injury. Getting adequate sleep has also been linked to eating habits. If you’re sleep deprived, it’s a lot easier to make unhealthy food choices, drink too much caffeine, and give in to a lack of energy.
If you give your body the rest that it needs, you’ll feel awake, rested, and ready to tackle the day’s work out!