Your post-workout routine is just as important as the workout itself. The best post-workout routine understands that the period after a workout can drastically affect how your body recovers and builds muscle. If you don’t know what to do after a tough gym session, you may find yourself plateauing and not making any significant gains.
To maximize your results, it’s essential to take the time to recover properly after a workout. Your body needs to rest to repair the muscles. Follow this guide to find out how you can increase your workout efficiency and improve your post-workout routine!
Why Is It Important to Have a Post-Workout Routine?
Post-workout routines are important to help with muscle recovery, nutrient replenishment, and injury prevention. Cooling down is one of the most critical steps to help your body bring its heart rate back to normal. As you cool down, doing activities such as stretching can help reduce muscle soreness or cramping.
After a tough workout, your body loses nutrients and water. It’s important to replenish these right away to help your muscles recover faster. By hydrating and refueling with food, you can keep your energy levels up and avoid feeling tired when the adrenaline dies.
Whether you’re new to exercising or a seasoned athlete, post-workout routines are essential for helping your body recuperate faster. It usually takes about 24-48 hours for the body to repair and rebuild the muscle tissues. Having proper rest and recovery is just as important as working out.
What Are the Benefits of a Post-Workout Routine?
Having a solid post-workout routine is excellent for your health and can help you keep your discipline. A post-workout routine is not limited to the few hours after exercising — it can extend throughout the day up until you sleep. You may find yourself making healthier choices for your diet, keeping yourself on a stricter sleep schedule, or finding other methods of staying limber and motivated for your next session.
By keeping ourselves on track with a post-workout routine, we can help our bodies get stronger and healthier. Learning how to replenish valuable nutrients can help speed up the recovery process and limit the wear-and-tear on our bodies. We can also prevent any injuries by going through the proper cool down steps after working out.
What Are the Best Post-Workout Routines?
Everyone works out differently, so the best post-workout routines are unique to each person. You may have different recovery periods or workout intensities than other people that can affect how you cool down and rest. However, you can do a few basic things that will help you recover, like stretching, eating the right foods, or various cool-down methods. Read on to find out more!
Post-workout stretching is one of the most important steps during your cool-down process. Stretching can help flush out a chemical produced by your body called lactic acid. Lactic acid is produced during periods of intense activity to supply your body with energy when it lacks oxygen.
If your body is unable to burn off the lactic acid after you stop working out, it can lead to:
- Aches or soreness
- Burning feelings
- Stomach pains
Stretching is also a great way to increase circulation throughout your body. When you exercise, your blood vessels constrict (vasocontriction) and open up (vasodilation) to divert blood to your muscles. By stretching after exercise, you can redirect the blood back to your organs to bring your blood pressure and heart rate back to normal.
Some great stretches you can do to improve your flexibility and range of motion are:
- Static stretching – Hold a stretching position for a small period of time. Static stretching is great for keeping your hamstring, quadricep, or lower back loose. You can also static stretch with your upper body like your arms, shoulders, and core muscles.
- Foam roller – Using a foam roller on sore areas can help stimulate blood flow and boost oxygen levels in the muscles. The oxygen can convert sugar into energy, which can help you recover faster.
- Light jogging or walking – Letting your heart rate gradually come down will help keep your energy up. Stopping immediately after a workout can result in sudden dizziness or fatigue. Allow yourself at least 10 minutes of light cardio to cool down.
When we work out, our bodies constantly sweat and lose water. Staying hydrated before, during, and after a workout is critical for maintaining flexibility, body temperature, and energy. It also helps prevent injuries and reduces muscle soreness.
If you are not properly hydrated, it can lead to:
- Dizziness or light-headedness
- Muscle cramps
- Dry mouth
- Elevated heart rate
- Heat exhaustion
In more severe cases, dehydration can lead to fainting or heatstroke. Energy drinks that contain electrolytes, potassium, and sodium are excellent for recovery and lowering your body temperature. Just make sure to avoid drinks with high sugar content or caffeine, which can actually dehydrate you!
Using CBD for Your Post-Workout
CBD products can be great for helping with recovery during the post-workout period. CBD promotes relaxation and provides calming effects that may help with muscle soreness or aches. Some great CBD products you can try are:
- CBD salves – CBD Salves directly target affected areas for soreness or discomfort. The high CBD concentration can quickly penetrate skin and muscle tissues for instant relief.
- CBD lotions – Lotions are not as strong as salves but can provide great all-around relief. You can use CBD lotion before you sleep for increased relaxation and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed.
After your post-workout stretches and rehydration, your heart rate and body temperature might still be elevated. The cooldown is a great time to practice breathing exercises or do a relaxing activity to bring your levels back to normal. Cooling down can help your heart catch up and return to baseline.
Consume Proteins & Post Workout Supplements
As the blood flow returns to your stomach, you may start to feel hungry. It may be tempting to reward yourself with junk food or snacks, but try to opt for healthy foods high in carbohydrates and protein. Healthy carbs can keep your glycogen (energy) levels up while protein aids in muscle recovery and repair.
Definitely avoid foods that are high in sugars or fats. These can completely ruin your hard-earned gains! Foods that are extra fatty and sugary can also slow your metabolism and impair your recovery process. Especially if you are on a weight-loss program, keep up the good work and avoid these unhealthy foods!
There are also plenty of great post-workout supplements that can support muscle growth. Check out some of these popular supplements that can complement your recovery process:
- Protein supplements (shakes, powders, granola bars)
- Electrolyte powder
- BCAA (branched-chain amino acids) powder or capsules
Showering & Changing Your Clothes
After a long, hard workout, you should shower as soon as possible and get changed into clean clothes. Basking in your sweat and musk for too long can lead to fungus or bacteria growth. Taking a hot shower after exercise can also help boost muscle recovery and helps you relax.
You may have seen athletes take ice baths after practices or games. These ice baths are called “cold water immersion” and have been shown to boost muscle recovery and growth even faster than hot showers.
Now that you’re clean, change into comfortable clothes so you can relax! Try not to wear tight clothes to allow your skin to breathe and to avoid chafing or irritation.
Rest Your Body & Take Time for Yourself
Allowing your body to rest is just as important as working hard in the gym. Without sufficient recovery time, you may be putting yourself at risk of injury if you work out before a full recovery. Most health experts and trainers recommend that you don’t exercise the same muscle groups back to back for this reason.
You worked hard, so you deserve to take some time for yourself! Relax with a nice, hot bath with CBD bath bombs for soothing effects, or watch your favorite TV show with a big glass of wine. While you focus on building yourself physically, it’s important to remember your mental health as well.
Final Thoughts – Best Post-Workout Routines & Tips for Recovery
Finding more ways to maintain healthy and strong bodies is why we need a dedicated post-workout routine. Fitness is a lifestyle that keeps us on our toes so that we can live hearty and robust lives.