What to Do After a Workout

What to Do After a Workout (Get More Out of Your Workouts!)

Exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, but what you do after your workout can be just as important as what you do during it.

Many people neglect their post-workout routine and move on with their day, but this can lead to muscle soreness, fatigue, and even an increased risk of injury.

Implementing a post-workout routine can help your body recover faster, reduce muscle soreness, and improve overall fitness progress.

This article will discuss some of the essential things you should do after a workout to optimize your recovery and get the most out of your fitness routine.

From cool-down exercises to proper nutrition and rest, we’ll cover everything you need to know to help your body recover after a workout.

Step 1: Cool-down Exercises

After an intense workout, it’s important to cool down gradually to help your body recover and prevent injury.

The cool-down period helps to bring your heart rate and breathing back to normal levels, which can help reduce dizziness, lightheadedness, and muscle cramps.

Additionally, cooling down can help prevent blood from pooling in your muscles, which can lead to soreness and stiffness.


Light aerobic cardio, such as walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike, is effective in helping your body cool down after a workout.

These exercises help increase blood flow to your muscles, which can help reduce soreness and stiffness.

When performing light aerobic cardio as part of your cool-down, it’s important to keep the intensity low and not push yourself too hard.

Aim to maintain a steady pace and avoid sudden or jarring motions that could strain your muscles.

Incorporating light aerobic cardio into your cool-down routine can help your body recover faster and reduce the risk of injury or soreness, and it should be the first thing you do after a workout.


Stretching exercises can help reduce muscle tension and increase flexibility, which can help prevent injury and improve overall performance.

You can do various stretching exercises, but practicing yoga poses after a workout is a simple and effective way to get more out of your workouts.

If you have the time, I suggest subscribing to YogaDownload.com and doing a short yoga video after your workout to stretch the muscles you were just using.

If you don’t often have time for a full stretching routine, doing some yoga poses such as downward dog, child’s pose, and seated forward fold can help stretch and release muscle tension.

While doing cool-down exercises, it’s important to maintain proper form to avoid any injury.

Focus on slowly and gently stretching each muscle group and hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds.

Avoid bouncing or jerky movements, which can lead to muscle strains or tears.

Additionally, listen to your body and don’t push yourself beyond your limits.

If you feel pain or discomfort during any stretch or exercise, stop immediately and rest.


Lastly, using a self-massage tool after a workout is a great way to complete your cool down and keep your muscles and joints healthy.

Self-massage tools can effectively reduce muscle soreness and stiffness by promoting blood flow to the muscles and breaking up knots and adhesions.

There are many different self-massage tools, but two of the most common are foam rollers and percussive massage therapy guns.

A quality foam roller is a simple and affordable way to improve your muscle recovery after a workout and help reduce the symptoms of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).

There are many guides about how to foam roll properly if you want to learn more about foam rolling.

I use a TheraGun because I believe it is the best massage gun, although it is a bit pricey.

By applying these self-massage techniques after a workout, you can help reduce muscle soreness and improve flexibility, allowing you to recover faster and get back to your workouts sooner.

It’s important to use these tools correctly and avoid applying too much pressure or overusing them, as this can lead to injury or aggravate sore muscles.

Step 2: Hydrate!

Staying hydrated after a workout is essential for aiding recovery and overall physical performance.

During a workout, your body loses fluids through sweating and failing to replenish these fluids can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, cramps, and dizziness.

Drinking enough water after a workout can help replace the fluids lost and help your body recover faster.

The recommended amount of water to drink after a workout is about 16-20 ounces for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.

Sports drinks and electrolyte replacement drinks are also an option for rehydrating after a workout.

These drinks contain electrolytes like sodium and potassium, which help to restore the electrolyte balance lost during exercise.

However, it’s important to be mindful of the sugar content in sports drinks, as they can be high in calories and lead to weight gain if consumed in excess.

For most people, water is the best option for staying hydrated after a workout, but if you’re exercising for a prolonged period or in hot weather, an electrolyte replacement drink may be beneficial.

For more information, you can check out my article on the best hydration drinks.

Step 3: Post-Workout Recovery Drink

Consuming a post-workout recovery drink is an essential step in your post-workout routine.

After a workout, your body enters the “anabolic window,” where your muscles are more receptive to nutrients that promote recovery and growth.

This anabolic window typically lasts between 30 minutes to an hour after your workout, but some research suggests it continues up to two hours after a workout.

Consuming a recovery drink during this period can help maximize your workout’s benefits.

Protein is a crucial nutrient for muscle protein synthesis, the process by which your muscles repair and grow.

Consuming protein after a workout helps to promote muscle recovery and growth.

Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are essential for increasing muscle glycogen storage, the energy source your muscles use during exercise.

A combination of protein and carbohydrates in your post-workout recovery drink can help to optimize your recovery.

Protein powder supplements are a popular option for a post-workout recovery drink.

They are convenient, quick to prepare, and can provide a high dose of protein.

Many consider whey protein as the best post-workout supplement and the best addition to their post-workout protein smoothies.

However, I prefer plant protein powder instead of whey.

Regardless, it’s important to choose a high-quality protein powder that is free from additives and fillers.

My favorite protein powder supplement is Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein & Greens.

Last update on 2023-03-22 / I earn a commission if you make a purchase at no additional cost to you. / Thank you for your support!

Alternatively, you can bring a healthy post-workout smoothie to the gym to quickly replenish your body.

A smoothie made with protein powder, fruits, and vegetables can provide a balanced combination of protein, carbohydrates, and other essential nutrients for recovery.

I like to make a post-workout smoothie after my workouts because it’s very easy to make a nutritious and delicious one.

Here are a few post-workout smoothie recipes that I use, which I believe you may enjoy trying:

Recipe 1: Blueberry-Banana Smoothie

  • One scoop Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein & Greens Vanilla Flavor
  • 1 tbsp Your Super Magic Mushroom Mix
  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • One frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup coconut water

This blueberry-banana smoothie is a nutrient-dense and delicious post-workout option that can support muscle recovery, glycogen replenishment, and overall health.

Overall, this blueberry-banana smoothie provides a balanced blend of carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants to support muscle recovery and overall health.

The adaptogenic mushrooms in the Your Super Magic Mushroom Mix may also provide additional benefits for reducing stress and supporting immune function.

Recipe 2: Strawberry Pineapple Smoothie

  • One scoop Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein & Greens Vanilla Flavor
  • 1 tbsp Your Super Energy Bomb Mix
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1 cup almond milk

The Strawberry-Pineapple Smoothie is a refreshing and nutrient-packed option that can support post-workout recovery and overall health.

Overall, this Strawberry-Pineapple Smoothie is a delicious and nutrient-dense post-workout option that provides a balanced blend of carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants to support muscle recovery and overall health.

The Your Super Energy Bomb Mix can also provide additional benefits for energy and immune support.

Recipe 3: Green Smoothie

  • One scoop Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein & Greens Vanilla Flavor
  • 1 tbsp Your Super Super Green Mix
  • 2 cups baby spinach
  • One frozen banana
  • 1 cup coconut water

This smoothie is packed with nutrients, including antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which can support overall health and aid in recovery from exercise.

The protein from the Garden of Life protein powder supports muscle protein synthesis, while the carbohydrates from the banana and coconut water aid in muscle glycogen storage.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, the Green Smoothie recipe has several unique advantages that make it an excellent post-workout option.

Overall, the Green Smoothie recipe is a nutrient-packed option that can provide a balanced blend of carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants to support muscle recovery and overall health.

The addition of baby spinach, the Your Super Super Green Mix, and coconut water provides unique benefits that make this recipe an excellent post-workout choice.

Step 4: Take a Shower and Change Your Clothes

After completing a proper cool-down routine and intaking appropriate nutrients for your body, the next step after a workout is to take a shower and change into clean clothes.

Although gym clothes are typically designed to absorb moisture, they are not breathable in the long run and can trap sweat, oil, and dead skin cells.

If not removed promptly, these elements can rub into your skin and cause breakouts or infections.

It’s best to change out of your tight gym clothes as soon as possible, preferably in a locker room if available.

Showering after a workout is also important as it helps to remove metabolic waste from your hair and skin and prevent body odor.

To maximize the benefits of your post-workout routine, consider using skin care products such as Skinfood for your face and body.

Step 5: Monitor and Track Your Progress for Better Results

Keeping track of your progress after every workout is crucial to ensure that you are making consistent improvements toward your fitness goals.

Maintaining a workout log book is an excellent method to document your workout sessions, including the exercises performed, calories burned, and time spent.

This approach can help you stay motivated and maintain a record of your progress.

By reviewing your workout log regularly, you can evaluate your progress and recognize the benefits of your efforts.

This acknowledgment can provide additional motivation to continue striving toward your fitness objectives.

Step 6: Prioritize a Good Night’s Sleep for Optimal Recovery

After a strenuous workout, it’s essential to allow your body to recover adequately, and getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for this process.

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential not just for post-workout recovery but for overall health and well-being.

Sleep is vital in cognitive functioning, mood regulation, and immune system support.

Inadequate sleep has been linked to various health issues, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and premature death.

When it comes to post-workout recovery, sleep is especially critical.

During sleep, your body releases human growth hormone, which is essential for repairing and rebuilding muscle tissue.

Without enough sleep, your body may not have the time it needs to heal, leading to slower progress and increased risk of injury.

It’s recommended to aim for 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night to ensure your body has sufficient time to repair and rejuvenate itself.

In addition to ensuring adequate sleep quantity, focusing on sleep quality is also essential.

Poor sleep quality, such as fragmented or shallow sleep, can also hinder post-workout recovery.

Factors such as stress, poor sleep hygiene, and sleep disorders like sleep apnea can all contribute to poor sleep quality.

You can do several things to improve sleep quality, such as establishing a consistent sleep schedule, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime.

Additionally, incorporating relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing can help calm the mind and promote deeper, more restful sleep.

If you’re struggling with getting quality sleep, there are several natural supplements you can consider, such as zinc, which can promote deeper and longer sleep.

By prioritizing healthy sleep habits, you can optimize your fitness progress and enjoy the many benefits of restful, restorative sleep.

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