You’ve just cranked out a massive, sweaty, snot-fest of a workout where limbs are shaking and the floor is soaked. Done, right?
Wrong! This is a huge mistake that many people make! You finished that great workout and are now on a timer (after you clean off the equipment you used of course).
1. Within five to 10 minutes of your workout you need to be stretching. Tight joints tend to break or refer pain to another joint further down the kinetic chain. For example, tight hips and I.T. band issues can cause people to have sore knees. Super tight shoulders can cause neck and headache pain. Spend some time with a foam roller and do some stretches after your workout while the muscles and ligaments are warm and receptive. This will not only increase flexibility but also move out lactic acid and waste materials from your workout. This will speed healing and shorten the time you are sore afterwards.
2. Within 45 minutes (sooner is better) you must eat or your body will make that decision for you and start cannibalizing the fastest fuel source it has left for replenishment – hard earned muscle. This is why we recommend a shake after a workout. A good well-made protein shake is fast food with lots of good stuff. We make them at our gym with around 25 grams of clean, healthy protein, plus fruit and great options like almond or coconut milk, oats, olive oil, glutamine, greens or creatine and no sugar. That will skyrocket your recovery.
3. Within 60 minutes you need to rehydrate with water or even better electrolytes (minerals) to replace what you lost. One way to check on this is to weigh yourself right before a training session. Nude is best, but not always an option if you are at the gym – so weigh yourself in your same street clothes before and after your workout (do not weigh yourself in your sweat soaked workout gear). You may note a one to seven pound loss depending on your age, height, weight, fitness level, duration and intensity of workout. That is a loss of water weight (and maybe a little fat). Each pound dropped equals about 0.45 litres of water. So if you drop three pounds, you need 1.35 litres just to get back to where you were before you left.
4. If you have really gone hard an ice bath can assist in speeding up recovery. If you had a cramp during your workout, a hot tub or heat pack on that area can help speed recovery. Another option is ‘contrast therapy’ – alternating hot and cold. You can do this with a hot and cold pack or a hot tub and a snow bank. These methods work by helping flush out waste product in the tissues.
4. Book a massage. Get a professional RMT to help your body recover and run in peak form. You ask a lot of your body and if you take care of it the rewards are worth it.
There you go, remember that your workout isn’t done until you take care of yourself after you finish!
Scott McDermott is a personal trainer and owner of Best Body Fitness in Sylvan Lake.