A good workout can make your day, but what you do post-workout can mean the difference between gains and, well, fewer gains. Some things can be as simple as stretching, or even going to the hot tub after a workout.
However, there are also definitely some things to avoid doing after a workout too. Not all post-exercise habits are good or will help you keep that muscle you worked so hard toward building.
Should You Go to the Hot Tub After a Workout?
Heading to the hot tub after a workout on paper seems like a great idea. Your muscles will relax, you can relax, and you’ll still keep all your gains without any aches. Although this may work for some people, the general sentiment is mixed on whether this is actually a good idea.
While you won’t lose any gains, it may take your body longer to recover since the high heat will suppress your body’s ability to reduce soreness from your exercising.
One benefit it does provide though is helping condition your body for summer heat if you plan to be doing a marathon or sports during the summer.
A similar story is true for cold showers or ice baths post-workout. While it might feel good, there is also mixed research on whether there’s any significant benefit to doing so.
We recommend just relaxing in a bath or shower with a temperature that’s closer to your body’s natural temperature.
Don’t Skip Out on Stretching
We know, you’re exhausted after exercising and pushing yourself and the last thing you may want to do is spend another 5-10 minutes stretching.
Trust us, it’s worth it.
Stretching post-workout will help them recover more quickly and keep you limber. This means those aches you might be used to the next day will either be less pronounced or non-existent.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep After Your Workout
It seems obvious, but it’s easy to forget. Getting a good night’s sleep after a workout will help your muscles recover better and help you reap the maximum benefits of your exercise regimen.
However, it’s up to how you feel as to whether or not you feel comfortable going to be right away. Oftentimes, after intense exercise, your body has a tougher time going to bed right away since you can feel “wound up”. However, this depends on the person, so delaying bedtime might be better for a good sleep or it may not matter at all.
Don’t Wait too Long to Eat After
Now that you’ve worked all those calories off, it’s time to put some good ones on. Eating healthy after a workout is especially important since you’ll get the maximum gains from your workout by doing so.
A meal that’s high in protein is often a good choice like eating chicken, fish, or eggs, but don’t skip out on the good carbs either. Your body does need them since a lot of them you just used during your workout. Healthy carbs you should consider including in your meal are whole grains, fruit, and vegetables.
Clearly, there’s plenty of good reasons to take care of your body post-workout. Don’t forget to stretch and make sure to have a healthy meal to replenish your energy so you’re ready to tackle the rest of your day.