Imagine you have just completed you grueling work out session! You are dripping with sweat, and you feel satisfied enough to quickly pack up and leave. However. your session does not end with your last set.
If you want to get the most out of your workouts, there are many things you should do after a workout to improve your muscle recovery, keep your body feeling fresh, and prepare for your next workout.
Check out these things you should do after each workout which will help make your time in the gym that-much more valuable:
Things to Do After a Workout to Improve Your Muscle Recovery
There are a variety of different things you should do after working out which will help your muscles recover and be prepared for your next workout session. Here is a list of a few of those things:
Cool Down Your Muscles
The first thing you should do after each workout is a proper cool-down for your muscles. Remember, do not rush for the exit just after you have completed your work out. If you have a limited amount of time, even 5-minutes of cool-down can make a difference!
Normally, it will take only about 10-15 minutes for a full cool down. Your goal is to bring your heart rate down for a normal rate, and then loosen your muscles. For example, you can ride a stationary bicycle or jump in a pool to cool off.
Try to relax your body and bring it back to a normal state.
Foam Rolling or Massage Therapy
Foam rolling or using another type of self massage tool might be a little painful or uncomfortable to do just after your workout, but, it is very important. You need to loosen your muscles so that they can circulate waste out, and bring in good nutrients.
Having a quality foam roller is a simple and affordable way to improve your muscle recovery after a workout, and it can also help reduce the symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).
If you would like to learn more about foam rolling, there are many guides about how to foam roll properly.
If possible, getting a 10 minute full body massage is also a great idea. A 10 minute massage can significantly help to improve your post workout recovery.
If getting a massage is not possible, a better long-term option is to use a percussive therapy massage device such as the TheraGun like I do.
Take the Time to Stretch
After you’ve cooled down your muscles and done a bit of massage therapy, the next thing you should do after a workout is take some time to stretch your muscles.
Not only will skipping your stretching session have a negative impact on your muscle growth, but it will also increase your risk of injury and increase the likelihood you experience painful DOMS.
Stretching also helps improve your blood flow and reduce the risk of health issues such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol
You can do a few simple stretches for the muscles you exercises on that day, or, if you have time, you can try some basic yoga postures to allow your body to relax.
Do Your Post Workout Skincare Routine
A good workout session can leave you smelly and with a need to change and shower.
After a workout, you must accept the fact that you need to remove all the metabolic waste that has just left your body, and at the same time respect the plight of other people’s noses that are around you the whole day!
And no, a lot of cologne is not the solution to this!
There’s also a downside if you don’t take care of your skin right after working out. Sweat and dirt from gym mats can make your skin break out if you don’t tend to it right away. When the sweat stays too long on your face and body, there are more chances for dirt and dead skin cells to penetrate your open pores.
For your hygiene, it is a must to have a shower after your workout session. If possible, take a contrast shower and wash away all the grime on your body. To maximize your routine, you can use Skinfood products after your workout.
A great workout routine can assist your body in producing more collagen, and it will make your skin more supple and firmer. Sweating out toxins in your body will help your skin bring out the glow you want.
A lack of exercise may also cause your skin to sag and advance wrinkles. Make sure to complement your workout with skincare!
Here is a more in-depth look at a proper post-workout skincare routine:
Take Off Your Gym Clothes and Wear Clean Ones
Gym clothes such as a sports bra and leggings can be wrong for your skin if worn for a longer duration. Its sturdy and moisture-absorbing material is not breathable in the long run.
The dirty clothes will trap sweat, oil, and dead skin cells. Those elements will rub into your skin for hours, and it’ll turn into acne.
Make sure to get out of your tight gym clothes as soon as you finish your workout. The more important thing to remember is that you should wear clean clothes, and not the clothes you wore previously.
Make Sure That You Wash Your Face Right After
You must wash your face immediately after you finish working out. While it is not necessary that you take a shower before working out, you may want to wash your face with your preferred facial wash quickly before training as well.
Using overused exercise machines and laying around dirty gym mats can expose your face to bacteria. Aside from the bacteria on devices and rugs, your sweaty face could be trapping dirt from your own hands.
Use a cleanser that can thoroughly clean and remove oil, debris, and sweat from your pores.
Skinfood Egg White Foam Cleanser is a good option if you want a gentle cleanser that can thoroughly cleanse and purify your skin after a day’s workout.
I also suggest you check out the Vinsanto Red Wine Scrub Soap.
Hydrating and Using Cooling Agents
After a workout, there is a big chance that you can get dry skin. After you workout, you need to hydrate and use some cooling agents to moisturize it.
Try soaking a clean facial towel in cold water or iced tea then pressing it on your face and other areas if you want, for a few minutes.
You can also use facial and skin products that have aloe vera. It will help cool down your skin.
Don’t Forget to Wash Your Body
You have to wash your body immediately after your workout. When you work out, you may be sweating and trapping dirt into your pores.
You may contract fungi and back acne from the gym, so make sure you wash it off with antibacterial soap or body wash to prevent and treat body breakouts.
Since your body’s pores are large and susceptible, you should make sure that your shower temperature is hot enough to kill bacteria. However, it shouldn’t be too hot that it would burn your skin. In choosing a body wash, make sure that you buy one that doesn’t dry your skin.
Grape Seed Oil Body Wash from Skinfood has grapeseed wine and oil extract that is full of nutrients and can give your skin nourishment.
It’s important to note that it’s best to shave after a workout, rather than before. Shaving after a workout will keep you well-groomed, trimming away whatever bacteria that may have gotten in those facial hairs with all the heat and sweat.
It’s not recommended to shave before a workout because when your skin sweats after being in contact with the blade, it can become highly irritated.
After a workout and a nice shower is the perfect time to shave! Your pores will be open, and your hair will be softer.
Furthermore, not many people consider this, but this is one of the most important grooming habits you need to develop as a fitness enthusiast. Yes, you need to trim pubic hair with your ideal trimmer; ideally regularly, but as much as possible.
The idea is to decrease your total hair as much as possible because bacteria could multiply in there while you sweat. Use a reliable bikini or pubic trimmer to safely reduce your hair if you don’t want to shave it off completely.
You can know more about some tips on how to shave at Manly Matters.
Do the Scrubbing at Home for Your Night Routine
Remember to skip scrubbing when you’re just fresh out of the gym. Your post-workout face and skin are more delicate and more prone to abrasions from your exfoliant.
Using a cleansing foam after the gym is a better option than a scrub.
You can scrub your face when you get home and proceed to do your skincare routine. Skinfood’s Black Sugar Mask Wash Off is a gentle scrub that can successfully remove dirt and dead skin cells from your face.
This product can smooth the surface of your skin and brighten it after using it.
Drink Water and Rehydrate!
For most people, drinking 8-10 glasses of water per day is enough to keep you hydrated. However, a vast majority of people do not adhere to this. Drinking the recommended limit of water helps to prevent muscle soreness and cramps.
Furthermore, dehydration results in the increase of lactic acid in the muscles, which also causes soreness.
If you have an intense workout session where you sweat a lot you will probably need a bit more than this, however, drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water following your workout session will help to get rid of toxins, improve your performance, lubricate your joints, and increase your mobility amongst other benefits.
Although water is usually the best hydration drink, there are other options which are great for hydration as well such as aloe vera juice, coconut water, and herbal tea.
Consume Adequate Amounts of Protein
If you want your muscles to recover as best as possible, you need to eat well after your workout sessions. Although you certainly need to eat a well-rounded diet, it is crucial that you eat a high protein diet if you are working out often.
Why exactly do you need protein in your body? When working out, especially with weight training, you are creating microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. This is perfectly natural and is what sends a signal to your brain to build larger muscle fibers to meet your body’s demands.
After your brain sends the signal into your body, the systems of your body immediately utilize the protein in your blood to rebuild the tears in your muscle fibers you made.
If your bloodstream lacks the required amount of protein for repairing the microscopic tears of your muscle, it will begin using the protein from the muscle itself to repair itself.
The problem with this is two-fold: the muscles decrease in size as it starts using its own tissue to repair itself, while your body simultaneously will take much longer to recover with the inner chaos.
Goods news! All of this chaos inside your body can be avoided by having a sufficient amount of protein in your body.
The best way to get an adequate amount of protein to help your muscles recover is by eating nutritious meals that meet your caloric needs. You can consume animal proteins such as beef, chicken, and eggs, or you can consume vegan protein sources such as beans and lentils.
However, that is not possible for everyone, especially as it is important to get a reasonable amount of protein into your body quickly after a workout. Due to that, drinking a post workout smoothie filled with protein is a great way to get a quick amount of protein into your body, while you plan a full meal for later in the day.
It’s very easy to make a nutritious and delicious post workout smoothie!
You can also drink a BCAA supplement such as Scivation Xtend or Genius Brand BCAA, but protein smoothies are more “complete” and contain a variety of additional micronutrients which are necessary for muscle recovery as well.
Many people prefer to use whey protein as the base for their post workout protein smoothies, however, I prefer vegan protein sources. My favorite option is Your Super Muscle Power.
A good post workout smoothie will contain around 20 grams of protein (more or less depending on your body weight), as well as healthy complex carbohydrates and dietary fats.
Good post workout protein shake ingredients include:
If you’re going to be making a lot of protein smoothies, make sure you invest in a quality blender. You can see this post at CookyMom.com to help you choose the best blenders under $100 for smoothies.
Make Sure You Get Enough Potassium
Did you know that the average adult is supposed to consume 4,700 mg of potassium, daily? According to researchers, potassium supports blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health.
As part of your post workout recovery, potassium helps to strengthen your bones and muscles.
Potassium helps you maintain an alkaline environment in your body, which is a off-set by diets full of acidifying foods such as processed grains, meat, and dairy products.
Acidification has been found to cause a loss of bone mineral density and muscle wasting.
To prevent this, incorporate the following foods rich in potassium in your diet after a workout:
- White beans
- Lima beans
- Beet greens
Drinking alcohol during post recovery is a huge no-no!
Alcohol has been found to hinder the proper recovery of your muscles after working out.
This means the muscle protein synthesis process will be suppressed by alcohol, which occurs after your muscle cells have been dehydrated.
In the end, not only will your post recovery efforts be hindered, but you will wake up with a hangover and lower testosterone levels.
However, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the occasional beer at night or glass of red wine before bed. If you insist on having a small amount of alcohol after a workout, just make sure you only drink a moderate amount.
Get a Good Night of Sleep
A good night of sleep allows your body to rest. In addition, it enables your body to repair itself, rejuvenate your energy levels and improve muscle building.
It is recommended that one should sleep at least 8 hours each night to qualify as having had a good night sleep. However, aim for 7 hours minimum.
There are many things you can do if you can’t sleep well at night, and you will quickly notice that improving your quality of sleep will make a dramatic difference on your muscle recovery after a workout!
Record and Keep Track of Your Progress
Well now there isn’t much left to do as you have completed a perfect workout session. And at the same time, you have done all the post workout tasks. So, you are free to get back to your hustling work schedule!
You should be feeling really satisfied and motivated for the day to come.
I promise you, whenever you look at this compilation you will feel elated and a smile will instantly come on your face!
Concluding Thoughts – What Are the Best Things to Do After a Workout
After a workout session is over, your job is clearly not done. However, it’s not difficult to plan a proper post workout routine that will help you get more out of each workout session.
Use these tips after your workouts, and I am confident that you will notice better results in a short amount of time!