Boost Your ROI with a Smart Post-Workout Routine
It’s all well and good that you’re working out smarter, but even that is not enough to ensure the best return on investment (ROI) from training if you’re not recovering properly.
You’ll need a smart post-workout routine that will jump-start that all-important recovery process, which is crucial for a number of reasons:
- It gives your body the chance to recover for the stress it was just subjected to during the actual workout.
- It allows you to recoup all the energy you have lost while exercising.
- It helps to prevent injuries.
- It helps those muscles grow.
But what then is a smart post-workout routine to begin with? It’s something like this:
Hydrate and Eat
The Men’s Journal article ‘The 6 Best Ways to Recover from Your Workout’ notes that aside from adversely affecting performance, dehydration also delays the onset of recovery. It is for this reason that you are encouraged to drink plenty of fluids before, during and after a workout.
A rule of thumb: You should drink about 1 litre of water for every 1,000 calories you burn.
A post-workout snack should be healthy, and contain an adequate amount of protein, carbs and fat. By getting these nutrients, you decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle growth, restore glycogen levels and enhance recovery.
Healthline states that protein provides the body with the amino acids it needs to repair muscles and build new muscle tissues, thus paving the way for muscle growth. Carbs, on the other hand, replenish your glycogen stores, which you will need for energy expenditure. Fat aids in promoting more muscle growth as long as it is not consumed in large amounts.
In my ‘Does Protein Powder Actually Work?‘ blog post I recommend a protein shake immediately post-workout because it is quickly absorbed by the muscles, and will start the recovery process much faster.
Take a Shower
More than just for refreshing purposes, a shower can also be a catalyst for recovery, provided you do it right.
In this regard, I highly recommend a cold-then-hot shower, times three! In other words, you take a two to three minute cold shower first, then transition into a one minute hot shower. You’ll then repeat it three times.
Cold water helps the body flush out lactic acid, which is responsible for releasing hydrogen ions that increase tissue acidity and cause muscle fatigue. It also decreases blood flow, thus alleviating pain and soreness.
In fact, cold water has long been used by sports therapists and athletes as treatment for sore muscles. Hot water, on the other hand, flushes out the lactic acid and eliminates dead cells, scar tissue and inflammatory cells that hinder recovery. Hot water also prevents stiffness, which is another thing that can hinder recuperation. Plus, it makes you feel really good by stimulating the release of dopamine and norepinephrine – two hormones that boost mood and enhance one’s sense of well-being.
You can even target specific muscles when you take your post-workout showers, especially if you worked said muscles particularly hard.
After chest day, for instance, you can zone in on your pectoral muscles and hit them with cold and hot water for a longer period. The power showers featured on Screwfix can help as the water pressure can be adjusted to hit specific areas of the body like a deep tissue massage.
You can even detach the shower head to move it closer to the affected muscles, if you don’t want to put your whole body through the hot/cold treatment. The best part is, if you don’t have regular use of a gym, you can buy and install one of these power showers at home.
Sleep is that magical period when the body works overtime to repair itself, and this is the reason why it is so crucial to recovery. In ‘The Science of Sleep’ published online On Muscle Fitness, Justin Grinnell and Gregory Chertok explained that sleep is “the most anabolic thing you can do for your muscles.”
In layman’s terms, sleep helps your muscles recover and, ultimately, grow.
This post-workout routine is a smart way to recover after a training session, and I strongly encourage you to give it a try. You can even give it a few tweaks if you wish.
What’s important is that you maximise your recovery so you can continue working out hard and staying in the best shape of your life.