You’ve run, you’ve lifted, you’ve pushed through the hard work and you’ve got the sweat to show for it. You’ve reached the end of your workout, but then, with a heaving chest and that rush of endorphins, you wonder – what do I do now? Recovery after a workout is as important, and in many ways, more important, than the workout itself. Yet it’s often overlooked and neglected, with many individuals seeing the workout’s end when you’ve finished your last exercise. Not by us, though!
Here at Elite Outdoor Fitness Academy, providers of outdoor circuit training in Essex, we wanted to go through some of the most helpful and most important things you can (and should) be doing, post-workout! Whilst you’re here, you can also download our free PDF fitness guide chock-full of other helpful tips and tricks. By registering here, you also get to make the most of our latest sign-up offers; our current offer is a £20 trial membership for 2-week access to our classes! So, the workout’s over – what’s first?
Stretching post-workout is just as important as stretching pre-workout. Just as you wouldn’t want to go from “0-100”, so to speak without having first limbered up, you don’t to let your muscles suddenly stop and tighten up after a workout. The lactic acid that builds up during a workout is reduced when you stretch, meaning you won’t get the dreaded delayed-onset muscle soreness – or DOMS. If ever you’ve done a ‘leg day’ in the gym, and you feel like you can’t walk normally for the next day or two, that’s DOMS. A warm-down with stretching (and potentially just some lighter cardio) will also drastically reduce the risk of injury, in the future.
We cannot stress the importance of this enough; you should be hydrating pre-workout, during your workout and post-workout. The human body can lose a remarkable amount of water over the course of a workout through the process of sweating and breathing out water vapour; if you don’t take on enough water post-workout, then you risk dehydration. At its least serious, dehydration can lead to painful cramps, headaches and fatigue whilst serious dehydration can cause everything from seizures to kidney problems. With the (hopefully) warmer summer months ahead of us, it’s doubly important that you bring your water bottle to every outdoor circuit training session!
The post-workout recovery starts in earnest when you replenish your energy stores in the form of a snack or meal. Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and are the key to building back those energy levels, post-workout. A chemical called glycogen is our main energy source during exercise and carbohydrates are our primary glycogen source.
If you can pair this with some protein intake as well, then that encourages muscle repair and building. We’re not talking about protein shake after protein shake here, as some gym addicts would have you drinking, but enough to encourage muscle growth. So, our favourite post workout snacks? Eggs on toast, some porridge (potentially with some protein powder mixed in) or a refreshing berry smoothie!
Because our outdoor circuit training sessions all take place in the morning, they’re ideally situated for either a post-workout breakfast or late morning snack, depending on which classes you want to attend. Just whatever you do, don’t have them in front of our trainers or they might try and snaffle some!
A hot shower or relaxing soak can do wonders for tight muscles, especially if you’ve stretched after your workout, as well. After a hard session, the hot water can help relax muscle tightness and, like warm-downs, stave off DOMS. Besides, who needs an excuse to crack out the bubble bath and candles…
If you’re brave (which we’re not) and you’re planning on exercising a lot in a short space of time, for whatever reason – particularly when you’re not used to it – or if you’ve done an extra difficult session, then consider an ice bath… It’s thought by many that ice baths have the same effect at alleviating DOMS and stiffness that regular baths do – just quicker! After you, please…
Now, we fully appreciate this isn’t always possible, and many of our members lead incredibly busy, hectic lives. But if you can squeeze in five minutes just to sit in the garden or have a quick read of a magazine just to re-ground yourself again after the intensity of a workout, then you should try. This serves a physical health purpose as well, though, as asides to purely a wellness one. Relaxing, even briefly, can help with the body’s recovery after a workout as well as reducing the symptoms of chronic stress from other aspects of life, such as anxiety and fatigue.
So, if you’d like to find out more about our outdoor circuit training sessions, then get in touch! Contact Elite Outdoor Fitness Academy today on 01702 232 470 or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.