When your workout is over, do you immediately want to hit the showers? Take a beat before you rush back to the rest of your day. Use this simple checklist to kickstart your body’s recovery process — and get the most out of each workout.
Give yourself props for what you’ve accomplished with your training and how it contributes to your long-term vision. And not just for your physical well-being and athletic pursuits but how much your commitment fuels your success.
There’s no shortage of gadgets and smartphone apps to log training and measure progress. Or go old-school with a simple spreadsheet or even paper. The important thing is to track your workouts so you have a reference point for the following workout or to review months later.
Active-isolated stretching is most effective after a workout when the muscles are warm. This can range from a full routine to the three or four stretches that address any mobility issues you might have. You can also do some reflection while you stretch. What worked and what could you do better during the next training session? When you combine the stretching and the reflection, it allows you to re-enter your day-to-day responsibilities and shift gears.
To refuel after a workout, consume a mixture of carbohydrates and protein immediately afterward, preferably within 10 minutes of training. At this point, your cells are wide open and screaming for nutrients, and by drinking a shake or another balanced carb-protein-small meal, you expedite the recovery process and maximize lean muscle growth.
- Cool down
If you have access to a 55-degree “cold plunge” tub, spending one to three minutes in it is a great way to decrease post-workout inflammation. Alternating between a cold plunge and a hot tub (three to five minutes) stimulates blood flow and muscle recovery with hardly an effort. If you don’t have access to a hot tub or a cold plunge, you can get the same effect in the shower by switching between hot and cold settings.