5 Worst Things to Avoid Post Workout:
There is no question that you want to get the most out of your workouts, avoid injury and feel great, but there are certain rules that apply to your post workout habits. It is clear to me that most exercise enthusiasts do not realize the importance of this time and perhaps do not know exactly what to do.
Last week after a hot yoga class, a few couples ran out of the room talking about the wine they were about to drink. I was shocked because after losing so much fluid, especially even more electrolytes and minerals than in a regular yoga class because of the heat, wine (which is dehydrating) is NOT the way to replenish lost fluids. Water or even coconut water (which has added electrolytes) should be the optimal choice after any form of exercise. There is no rule of thumb as to how much water as every individual is different according to size and how much they sweat, but one thing is for sure, the water should be room temperature, not cold! Cold water is a shock to your warm intestines and can interfere with enzymes causing digestive issues.
Avoid Caffeine and Sugary Drinks
Coffee is another one that I see being consumed often. Women finish a class and head out for a cup of Joe. Please drink water first. Sport drinks are another disaster. They are loaded with artificial flavoring, sugar and salt. There are 14 grams of sugar in a 20 oz. bottle of Gatorade so all those calories you worked so hard at losing in the workout are for nothing. If you prefer some flavor to your water, try chlorophyll or simply add some lemon and maple syrup. These are all products that come from nature and your body will respond positively.
Don’t Starve Yourself
As a good rule of thumb, one should consume a snack within 90 minutes of a workout. Carbohydrates and protein need to be replenished. Regardless if weight loss or weight gain is the goal, replenishing energy stores post exercise will enhance the metabolic rate (energy expenditure). If you are trying to lose weight, smaller amounts may be more appropriate versus larger amounts. Now this does not mean that you should go out and eat a heavy meal either.
The best and my favorite go to after a workout is a plant-based protein smoothie. I use coconut water with frozen berries, a pear, banana, hemp seeds and the protein. If you are not worried about extra calories, adding some almond butter is ideal at this time or even an avocado.
Don’t Miss Your Cool Down
There is nothing worse than watching people finish a spin class, or a heavy training day and run out of the gym without a cool down. It does not have to be anything extravagant, or tons of time. Even 10 minutes of gradually cooling down is very effective. This can mean just staying on the bike at a very easy level for a bit, or walking on the treadmill, doing a few yoga flows, some stretching or foam rolling. This will help to prevent lactic acid build up that always accumulates in a workout. What you do after your workout is just as important as the workout itself.
Don’t Be Stinky!
If you do not have time for a shower, the next best thing is a change of clothes. Staying in sweaty clothes can lead to yeast infections, acne, skin rashes etc. You might not think of it, but the bacteria that can linger from sweat and friction with your clothes can lead to these problems. Besides, it feels so much better.
In order to stay away from making these post workout mistakes, plan accordingly. Try not to book an appointment too close after your workout so that you have the time to cool down, have a snack, change your clothes etc.
Remember to take a water bottle with you. I often make a smoothie ahead of time and stick it in the freezer. By the time the workout is over it is thawed, not too cool, and very refreshing.