Picture the scene in that you have just finished an intense workout, you are feeling pumped and life is good. What you do next however has an impact on your physique and it is important to get it right. Do you stretch straight away to relieve your muscles? Do you go straight for your protein shake? Do you race to the changing rooms and stand under good light for an impromptu selfie and publish it on Twitter or Instagram? Here is what you should after a workout to maximise results and ultimately get you one step closer to you achieving your goal....
Ok, so the first thing you should be thinking about after a workout is your recovery. The fastest way for your body to start recovering and rebuilding muscle tissue is through a protein shake. Whey protein is fast acting and once absorbed gets to work within 15 minutes. If you are looking to maintain a lean physique then using something that is just whey protein is best for you. On the other hand if you are looking to increase size and put weight on, opting for a weight gainer shake that has protein and carbohydrates is going to be better for you. So first thing first after a workout, think PROTEIN, think recovery!!
Once you guzzle your protein you now need to think about stretching out the muscles you have used. Putting your body through intense exercise sessions results in them shortening slightly and you don't want this long term. Stretching keeps you subtle, prevents injuries and increases range of motion within the area you are stretching. Doesn't stretching lose muscle definition? A popular question by some or don't stretch is that they think they will lose muscle by doing so. This isn't true and if you want to keep improving your physique you must remember to stretch. Your stretching at the end of the workout can include static stretches, part assisted stretches or using the foam roller.
If you sweat during your workout then it is imperative you re hydrate properly so that your body returns to it's original state. When you exercise you will perspire which causes your body to lose essential vitamins and minerals. Lactic acid builds up within the muscles which results in you being in a more acidic state than you were before your workout. Ignoring the fact you are dehydrated could cause further problems like fatigue, muscle cramps and decreased performance. I recommend having an electrolyte based drink during and after your workout to restore bodily functions.
Eat A Meal
Endorphin's will be buzzing around your body which makes you feel amazing after your workout. However it is important to realise your body will be depleted of nutrients and energy so it will need a form of carbohydrates to spike your sugar levels. You have two options here, either have some form of quick release carbs immediately after your workout with your protein shake, something like a banana will suffice. Then approximately 45 minutes later choosing a slow release carbohydrate like sweet potato, brown rice etc will help sustain prolonged energy release without spiking blood sugar levels.
Why Is This Important?
When you exercise you break your muscle fibres and you expend calories. If you are looking to build a lean physique then you need to make sure you put back in what you expend. Most times just having a shake isn't enough, hence having a meal 45 mins after training. If you don't look after the nutritional side of things you will make it extremely hard to reach the physique you want to achieve. Oh and before I forget, one last point is to not forget taking a shower, just as important as the others ;)