Have you given yourself a pat on the back yet? Your fitness routine is looking good. But, your job doesn’t end once you clock out of a workout. In fact, what you do after a workout is almost as important as what you do during … and it’s imperative for getting you back in again tomorrow.
Take a break | There is such a thing as working out too much, and if you do it, it can actually impede your results. Schedule rest days routinely into your workout. Whether you focus on an entirely different kind of workout one day– like subbing yoga for treadmills and heavy lifting – adopt an easier routine to let your muscles rest and recover, or chill out completely, giving your body the time it needs to heal will make it stronger the next time you workout.
Get plenty of sleep | Studies show that not enough sleep can negatively affect your workout, because you’re too tired to workout or even in a bad mood. The answer? Establish a regular sleep routine, including going to bed around the same time every night, and waking up around the same time every morning, even on the weekends. Aim for at least 8 hours, and if you can squeeze in a power nap to recharge in the afternoon, even better.
Keep yourself hydrated | Even if you’re already drinking the recommended amount of water every day, exercise and the increased metabolic rate that comes as a result, both increase the body’s need for more water and electrolytes. So, no excuses on getting at least the minimum, but pay attention to how much you’re sweating during your workout, too. You should consume roughly 1 Liter of water for every 1,000 calories expended. Drink up!
Eat well | After a workout, what you put back into your body is vital for adequate recovery. Your body needs proteins to rebuild muscle tissue, and carbs to give your muscles energy, and both are essential to refuel the energy you’ll need for the next workout. So, pack a snack for your post-workout that includes both, such as bananas and peanut butter, tuna on whole wheat bread, or hummus and pita bread. Eat a well-balanced meal about 2 hours later, to continue the recovery process.
Supplement | Chances are, you’re still not getting enough protein with diet alone, so supplement with protein powder when necessary. You can add them to shakes, or choose from a variety of easy-to-pack snacks, energy bars, and more.