Just like it is important to stretch before you work out to avoid injuries, what you do after your workout also determines how effective your routine will be. By choosing the wrong meal, skipping a cool down stretch or rushing off to fit in another strenuous exercise can lead to muscle injury and insulin imbalance in the body. We got two fitness professionals to reveal the most common post workout mistakes that might be detrimental to your fitness goals.
1. You don’t stretch and cool down
“Most people think that working out involves just exercising, so they don’t stretch or cool down once done. Stretching is the most important aspect of working out, as it aids muscle repair and recovery. If you feel lazy and don’t stretch post your workout, it is one of the top reasons for an injuries in the gym,” says Delhi-based celebrity fitness professional Sumaya Dalmia.
It is important to get your heart rate and breath down to normal before getting of the mat. Any kind of training increases the stress levels of the body which means that the cortisol levels in the body increase, which needs to be brought back to normal. “There’s so much adrenaline in the body as you’re wired up because of the workout,” says Mumbai-based fitness coach Dheepesh Bhatt. Cooling down can help your brain get back to a more relaxed state too.
2. You don’t eat at all or eat too soon post your workout
What you eat post your workout depends on your fitness goals and also the time of the day when you are working out. But skipping a snack completely or rushing to have your favourite whey smoothie can have a counteractive effect. “Avoid eating for 30-45 minutes post your workout as the blood is rushing to your muscles, and you need to let that process calm down. The minute you put food in the blood, instead of the muscles, the digestive system takes over. Systems in our body work together, but at one particular time, one system is more efficient. So if you’re eating something, make sure there is a little bit of gap after your workout,” says Bhatt.
Dalmia says that one must include protein and/or carbohydrates. “When you are exercising you are straining your body, and tearing your muscles. The repair work happens in the first 24 hours and for it to happen, post-workout nutrition is very important, especially your protein intake post-workout. It will help with delayed muscle soreness, and you won’t feel the loss of energy after your workout.”
3. You are not hydrated enough
Even if it is just sip of water, your body needs hydration before and after working out. “Your muscles need the hydration to keep your electrolytes level balanced. If you are a long-distance runner or for people who do a lot of outdoor sports, make sure to replenish lost fluids post your workout,” says Dalmia.
4. You rush to another workout session
For a regular person, having a 24-hour break between two workout sessions is ideal, says Bhatt. If you work out twice a day, you should at least have an eight-hour gap in between, in such a way that the previous workout doesn’t hamper with the next workout. “For a lot of people who work out in the morning, and like to go for a cardio session in the evening, I’d suggest doing more of moderate-intensity to a low-intensity exercise for a long duration of 45 minutes to an hour—basic walking, jogging or very basic cycling. No running or sprinting because you have already done a workout,” says Bhatt. “Your body needs to rest. Rushing to party after your workout, missing on sleep and working out again in the morning is doing you no favours,” Dalmia sums up.
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