What you do after your workout is just as important as the workout itself. Let’s be honest; most men’s post-workout routine is usually downing a protein shake or hitting the showers right away.
If this sounds like you, you are doing your body a disservice and slowing down the gains and progress you are making in your workouts.
So what if I told you, you could increase muscle gain, lose weight faster and reduce the chances of injuries with a few changes to your post-workout habits?
Follow these tips for recovery to maximize your workouts and see progress faster.
You have to invest the extra time in your recovery. This means:
a) pre-workout dynamic stretch
b) post-workout cool down
Check out Post -Workout Stretch Below
c) massages (foam rolling, massage gun, resistant bands)
d) regular visits to your health practitioner (Chiropractor, Physiotherapists, RMT’s, Acupuncture)
You might be a busy guy with a laundry list of things to do, and finding the time even to get a workout in can be challenging enough, but this should be a non-negotiable habit that you instill in yourself.
Here are some ways to fit in some post-self care.
- Reduce your workout-out time by 15 minutes and incorporate a pre-workout stretch. Check out the video below for a follow-along stretch program. This might seem counterintuitive, but you will be more primed and ready to start your workout. Also, the reduced workout time will force you to work harder, take fewer breaks, and focus on the crucial exercises.
- Keep a mat and foam roller in the room where you stream your favourite shoes. I keep all my self-care equipment like my massage gun, resistant bands, stretch tools, and lacrosse balls in my living room. While watching tv, I CAN’T help but pick up one of those and start using it.
- Have a standing appointment with your favourite healthcare practitioner once a month. Our bodies are no different than our cars. It requires regular maintenance, and healthcare professionals are the mechanics. I see a professional health practitioner at least once a month, even if there is nothing majorly wrong with me (because, let’s be real, once you are over 40 years old, there is always SOMETHING wrong). I make it a habit to seek out outstanding professionals to prevent future breakdowns. Especially if your work offers an insurance plan, you should be using that upon yourself every chance you get.
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Light Exercise on Rest Days
You might have heard of resting 24-48hrs between workouts, but that doesn’t mean completely taking the day off. If you did a heavy lift day at home, you could target other muscle groups to work out your upper body the next day.
You don’t feel like lifting? Then engaging in light activities like walking, stretching (see above), or a leisurely bike ride will help you recover even faster. Even though you might feel sore, as long as you aren’t in a lot of pain, doing some physical activity will help improve lactic acid build-up (the thing that causes sore muscles), remove toxins, and boost blood circulation.
What to Eat After a Workout
Have you ever sprinted to your kitchen to quickly mix and down your favourite protein shake? If so, you are not alone.
If you are a seasoned veteran of working out or a beginner, one of the most common workout tips you might have heard of is you have a small window to consume protein so you can maximize your muscle growth and fat loss.
For the most part, this is true. There is a window, but it’s not as small as people make it seem; it’s 30-45mins post-workout. So you still have time for a post-workout stretch.
Protein gets all the buzz for post-workout nutrition, but carbohydrates play a vital role in your recovery as well. While protein helps with muscle recovery and provides amino acids (building blocks of protein) to your body, carbohydrates help restore glycogen levels. Glycogen is essential to our body’s health as it is a form of sugar that our muscles and liver can easily store.
Now, don’t go reaching out to your chocolate bar or favourite muffin. Not all carbohydrates are the same. The least processed carbohydrates will provide you with the best sources, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grain, and unsweetened dairy are your best bests.
Men require more water than women because we generally have a higher energy expenditure and less body fat. On average, 60% of male body weight is water, and in women, it is 55%.
Aside from the most apparent reason, to stay hydrated, there are many other reasons why drinking more water is beneficial to us:
- Increases your energy and strength levels by reducing chances of dehydration
- Thins your blood, so it’s easier for the liver to filter out potentially harmful substances such as alcohol, drugs, germs and other pollutants.
- Replenishes your fluid levels to help prevent muscle soreness
Before going and drinking litres of water, remember to take things slow. Start with an extra glass of water per day and wait 10 days to see how your body reacts to the extra liquid
Good Nights Sleep
Sleep is a vital and the most neglected component of every man’s overall health and well-being (I’m guilty of it, too!).
Getting a good night’s rest is essential because it enables the body to repair and be fit and ready for another day of training.
Getting adequate rest may also help prevent excess weight gain, heart disease, and increased illness duration.
In this podcast episode, we detail with sleep expert Veronica Lee the importance of sleep and how to prepare your body for a good night’s rest. Check it out below or on your favourite podcast player.
One of the notable takeaways from the show is how Veronica explains how research has shown it’s not just the amount of sleep that is important but the quality of sleep.