Planning the workout itself is probably the main thing on your mind when you’re in training mode. But the most important part of your workout is your contribution to your body's recovery after your workout.
Once you’re finished exercising, your body will still be putting in some hard work. Make sure you’re working with your body as much as possible with the following steps to aid recovery.
Whether you’re in the gym, playing Padel, out swimming in natural waters or back from a run, it’s important to have a cool down routine.
The same as warming up to boost the cardiovascular system and prevent injury, a warm down will give your muscles that last stretch and stop your muscles from feeling tense or cramping, as well as gradually decreasing your heart rate and respiratory system. Bringing your body temperature back down to normal and helping your recovery time the more you do it.
Remember to stretch the following areas to aid recovery …
- Lower Back
If you’re training for an open water swim in a Triathlon, it’s important to keep your body warm after your session in the water. Your body will need to keep warm after you’re out of the water, so consider a changing robe. Your body will intuitively keep your vital organ warm in cold water but increasing blood flow and pumping the blood around your body faster, so to avoid your body temperature dropping, keep warm after your swim.
The most important step is ensuring you’re hydrated, so it's important to pack a water bottle. During your workout you’ve produced and expelled a good amount of sweat, so you’ll need to restore your body’s hydration levels. The best thing to drink during and after a workout is simply just water, however, glucose sports drinks will benefit if you’re really pushing your body through intense workouts. These drinks will provide sugar for a quick energy boost too.
What to eat after a workout is important. Maintaining your healthy diet and ensuring your body gets the right nutrition after exercise can help you rebuild your muscle proteins and glycogen stores. In turn, this will stimulate growth of new muscle in the process.
Depending on the time of day your workout, or even how busy your schedule is, will result in the amount or quality of food you eat. If you’re in a hurry you might only grab something small, so make sure it still packs the right amount of nutrients. Below are some ideas of foods to include in your post-workout meal and snack, so remember to pack a snack in your workout bag for when you're done.
Proteins - Foods high in protein will contribute to muscle growth, repair and repair.
- Meat (Chicken, Turkey, Beef)
- Fish (Tuna, Salmon)
- Protein powder or bar (animal or plant-based)
Carbohydrates - Replacing the energy your body used during your workout
- Sweet potato
- Fruit (Pineapple, banana, berries)
Fats - To help the transportation of oxygen around the body after exercise.
- Trail mix (fruit and nuts)
- Peanut/almond butter