Written by Alex Simpson
We all exercise and work out for a whole variety of different reasons, as we all have different goals and objectives in mind. There are some of us, for example, who exercise in order to burn fat, whilst others work out to build muscle, or to simply enjoy better health and fitness. Whatever your goals and objectives may be, there is one thing we can all agree on. Neither me or you want to undo all of our hard work in the gym, otherwise we may as well not have bothered. Say for example, that you really bossed your last workout, and you really showed those weights who was the boss, you will probably be feeling pretty good right about now, and rightfully so. Before you rush to the nearest exit so you can get home and relax, it’s important to remember that your workout was only one piece of the puzzle, and that it is what you do, or don’t do, that will determine just how effective your workout actually was. Here’s a look at 5 things to never do after a workout.
#1 Forgetting To Cool Down
Okay, be honest now, most of you reading this will not so much forget to cool down, as you will simply choose to not bother cooling down at all. Whether you’re lifting weights, circuit training, or performing cardio, after you finish your workout you should always make sure that you stick around for the next few minutes, and perform some basic cool down exercises and movements. The idea behind cooling down is that you get your heart rate back down to a fairly normal level, and that you prevent what is known as venous pooling, which is literally where blood builds up in the veins and causes cramp, fatigue, and all kinds of other ailments. The last thing you’ll want to do after running 10k on the treadmill, is slow down the pace and walk for another 5 minutes, but the benefits of cooling down just cannot be ignored.
#2 Skipping A Post-Workout Shake
For those of you looking to build muscle, if you use supplements, the optimal time to use many popular bodybuilding supplements, is directly after you have finished your workout. This is because your glycogen levels are depleted, and your muscle cells are primed to absorb more nutrients than usual. This doesn’t last long however, and it is known as the anabolic window, which generally lasts around 30 – 45 minutes after a workout. After training, your muscles are sore, damaged, and broken down, and their cells are desperate for proteins, amino acids, and other nutrients. A simple whey protein with dextrose to spike insulin levels, plus glutamine to aid in recovery and protein synthesis, will instantly kick-start the recovery process after you train, so never ever skip your post-workout protein shake.
#3 “Rewarding Yourself” With Junk
Another common mistake that people make when they go to the gym, is to head home, shower, get comfortable, and give themselves a reward for working so hard, which comes in the form of unhealthy junk food. Junk food is notoriously bad for us, it can lead to weight gain, and it can hinder our progress. If you are trying to lose weight, the last thing you should be doing is eating a calorific meal, as you will basically be undoing all of your hard work in the gym. If you’re constantly chasing gains, you will need to fuel your body with fresh and healthy produce. A treat now and then is perfectly fine, but if you are eating junk after training regularly, you aren’t going to make any real progress at all.
#4 Drinking ‘Sports Drinks’
You know the drinks we’re talking about here, the ones loaded full of sugar, artificial sweeteners, and colourings that leave them virtually glowing in the dark. These drinks are marketed as being ‘sports performance drinks’ and so people consider them to be healthy, when in reality, they really aren’t and if you drink one of these drinks after each workout, you are actually doing more harm than good. Obviously you need to hydrate yourself, and you will need to replace electrolytes, but there are supplements designed to do that, not sugary sports drinks that will provide several hundred calories per serving. By drinking one of these drinks, all of those calories you burnt off on the treadmill will pretty much be replaced, and what will you have to show for it? Instead, drink water and use specially designed recovery supplements and amino acids.
#5 Not Showering Or Getting Changed
When we exercise, we sweat, and when we sweat, well, we don’t smell too great. After you workout, you should always find the time to shower and get changed into clean clothes, otherwise you will smell awful which will be embarrassing, plus it could potentially put your health, and other people’s health at risk as well. Oh, and don’t be that guy, or gal for that matter, who thinks that spraying yourself with half a can of deodorant will suddenly get you clean and prevent the need to get changed, because it won’t. You’ll simply smell like a dirty sweaty person who has tried to mask their unpleasant scent with half a can of deodorant.