Your workout is only one part of a successful fitness routine. Aspects such as good nutrition and rest are also key to reaching your goals. To ensure the time you spend working out is getting maximum results, make sure your incorporating each aspect below into your pre and post workout routine.
Catch Your zzzz’s
When you workout, it’s tearing down your muscles. This makes a good night of sleep very important because this is when your muscles recover. Also, being well-rested gives you the energy needed to go for a run and push through a tough session at the gym. Sleep also keeps our hunger hormones in check, which prevents us from overeating.
When you work out, you should be consuming more water than usual. After those great sweat sessions, your body needs you to replace the water it’s losing. Also, being hydrated gives you more energy, which benefits your workouts.
The amount of water you should be consuming varies from person to person. It’s widely been suggested, to drink half your body weight in ounces per day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, try to drink 80 ounces a day.
You shouldn’t force food down, but if you’re nearing a workout and your body feels like it’s going to need fuel, make sure to listen. If you’re running on empty, you’re going to lack energy and thus hurt your results. Go for something small such as a single piece of whole wheat bread with peanut butter. You don’t want to be starving, but you also don’t want to be feeling too full either.
After you’ve completed a workout, make sure to cool-down. Don’t go straight into a seated position in your car or desk chair. Spending some time doing isometric stretches is a great way to cool-down. Ideally, you want to hold each stretch for 15 seconds. This will help increase your range of motion, decrease soreness and help you recover quicker. Also, muscles are best stretched when they are warm.
While a pre-workout snack is optional, you should fuel your body after working out. Right after working out, there something called the anabolic window, which lasts 30-45 minutes. During this period of time, our bodies want carbohydrates and protein, which helps rebuild muscles. What you fuel your body with after a workout should be a snack such as a smoothie. This will also help curb unhealthy cravings later in the day and not leave you too full.