Killing your workout is such a great feeling. Heck, in this busy world, even making it to the gym is a cause for celebration. One way to further the benefits of that workout is by practicing some healthy habits post-exercise, to give your body time to recover effectively so you can come back even stronger in your next workout.
Healthy post-exercise habits
While many of us enjoy that feeling of tired muscles — associating it with a good workout — it is also a signal that our body needs rest. Our muscles need time to rebuild and heal. Not listening to your body could result in injury, hormonal imbalances, reduced motivation to train, and negative impacts on the strength you’re trying to build.
Here are our top habits to boost recovery from your workouts:
- Hydrate. Simply drinking 20 ounces of water post-workout is sufficient. Drink that before coffee, tea, or anything else. It’ll help accelerate cellular repair and hydrate muscles, preventing stiffness. You could also try coconut water, which is great for replacing electrolytes. Try to avoid drinks with sugar or artificial sweeteners.
- Sleep. Aim for at least 8 hours. Sufficient sleep gives your body the opportunity to speed up muscle recovery and prevent injury.
- Foam roll. Using a foam roller reduces joint stiffness, increases range of motion, breaks up knots and adhesions in your fascia, and speeds up recovery post-exercise. You could do this in the gym directly after a workout or when you get home.
- Soak. Getting in the tub, or better still a float tank, is a great way to relieve muscle tension and fell better faster. At home, try using Epsom salts and an essential oil like lavender for relaxation. (But be sure to drink plenty of water, as the salts can be dehydrating.)
- Eat. Aim for protein-rich foods within two hours of working out to feed your muscles and look for a quality source of carbohydrates to replace glycogen stores. This will also help make your next workout go better! Protein-rich snacks include boiled eggs, cottage cheese, smoked salmon, chicken sausage, hemp-based protein shakes, sugar-free jerky, and oven-roasted soya nuts.
- Limit alcohol. Exercise dehydrates the body, and so does alcohol. Drinking after a workout will only make you sweat and further deplete fluids, leading to a horrendous hangover. If you are going out directly after a workout, drink a couple of glasses of water first. Then alternate each alcoholic drink with a fluid-replenishing one (soda and sugary fruit juices don’t really help).
- Light activity. Try going for a walk or bike ride after working out. It will improve circulation and can help to rid the body of metabolites in the muscle tissue that lead to muscle soreness.
- Get a massage. This will improve circulation, move lymph throughout the body, and ease muscle pain/tension. Plus, it’ll help promote relaxation so that you get a restful night’s sleep. We recommend the massage therapists at Lifelong Wellness to help you with workout recovery and optimal sports performance.
- Take time to recover. I know it’s easier said than done, but rushing to work or to another appointment straight after the gym isn’t ideal. Try to take your time. Have a shower, breathe, take five or ten minutes to relax before you head back out. Your nervous system will thank you for it, and things will feel more manageable.
Getting to the gym is a huge achievement in our busy lives — I often feel like I’m winning at life when I make it to the gym twice in one week. But what if you can’t make it to the gym at all? Or what if you just want to find small additional ways to move your body...read more
When I was a coach helping people to reach their health goals, I would often hear the words “I want to be a size [x]. Then I won’t hate my body as much. I look so fat and disgusting at this size.” I ask them this question: “If you don’t love how you are now, what...read more
As we kick off the new year with our Strength Challenge, there’s no better time to visit the real benefits of strength training. Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, there is a common misconception that lifting weights isn’t for women. Some of these...read more
Happy 2019! As we start out this new year, it’s always fun and exciting to think about all the things we hope to accomplish... Projects we want to tackle Goals we hope to achieve Habits we'd like to have Adventures we'd like to take But even more important than making...read more
It's getting close to Christmas... Do you still need some ideas for what to get the lifting lady in your life? Well, never fear! Here are some gift ideas that girls who lift will LOVE. Actually, these are really for anyone who loves to lift-- but girls want gains too!...read more
Self-care doesn’t always mean going to yoga retreats or enjoying a spa day. Sometimes it’s setting appropriate boundaries and listening to our bodies. Caring for ourselves is particularly important during the holiday season — a time when we need it the most....read more
The main principles of intuitive eating are rejecting dieting mentality and giving ourselves unconditional permission to eat. I remember when I first encountered this concept — the notion that I could liberate myself from the constraints of dieting, size-based...read more
I’d like for us to create a movement around accepting ourselves and listening to what our body needs. Let’s have a ceasefire of shaming and expectations around our food choices and the shapes of our bodies. If you want to eat the pumpkin pie, eat it, and do so without shaming yourself afterwards. I guarantee it will result in a sense of freedom and help you to create a practice of loving yourself unconditionally and irrelevant of your choice to enjoy a slice of holiday pie.read more
The best kind of exercise is exercising your right to vote! Bold & Badass Fitness was founded on the idea of empowerment: from day one we started with the goal of teaching average folks the physical skills to feel safe and strong and ready to take on anything. But...read more