Finishing a workout is one of the most rewarding experiences of the day. Not only are you proud of yourself for squeezing in an effective workout into your day, but you also feel less stressed and a bit healthier than you were before you started. Now that the hard part is over, there are a few things you should do to make sure you reap the well-deserved benefits of your workout.
- Drink water or a sports drink immediately. During your workout, you lose a lot of water through sweat and even through breathing. You must replace these deficits to avoid dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Furthermore, drinking fluids will help reduce or prevent your post-exercise fatigue. Aim to drink at least eight ounces of fluids after your workout. Avoid drinking coffee or alcohol for at least one hour after a workout to prevent dehydration.
- Eat. It’s not often your personal trainer will tell you to eat! But you should eat as soon as possible after your workout. The best part about eating after a workout is that you can loosen up your diet just a tad. If you have a craving for pastas, breads, or other carbs, now you can enjoy them in moderation. If you have a craving for meats, again, enjoy them in moderation after your workout. You must eat to give your body the fuel it needs to rebuild your muscles.
- Rest. Never workout the same muscles groups in two consecutive days. Your body needs time to rest and rebuild after a good workout.
Personally, I see these as three “rewards” after a workout. You can drink freely (minus alcohol and coffee), eat with less restriction and rest without feeling guilty.