If you are currently in the habit of dedicating your precious time and energy to a consistent workout routine, I applaud you. This devotion certainly places in an ever-decreasing percentage of individuals taking accountability of their physical health.
Here are a few methods to really maximize the benefits already available to those who prioritize exercise in their daily lives.
Consistent as you may be with your workouts, this habit only includes a small fraction of the day as a whole. You’ve heard all the usual remarks about how real progress is made outside of the gym.
Although redundant, this idea does hold merit. If you are going to devote an hour or two of the day to exercise, the last thing you want to do is negate the benefits you have certainly earned! Here are some small tweaks to your post-workout routine that will serve to enhance those hard-fought gains.
We have all seen gym rat that lumbers their way around the building completely incapable of any movement aside from the occasional bicep flex or head nod. This same individual struggles to place their headphones in their ears and always seems to walk as if they are carrying several large boxes underneath each arm.
While you might not fit this description, there is a good chance that you are not emphasizing mobility enough. Resistance training is a great way to build strength and improve your overall appearance. However, all the muscles in the world don’t provide much benefit if you can’t use them.
Increasing muscle mass leaves the body more susceptible to overall stiffness and decreased mobility. Not only does this hinder functionality in day-to-day life, it also increases risk of injury. Instead of smashing that last set of bench press and heading to the car, take some time to perform a basic stretching routine.
This doesn’t have to include complex yoga poses and back bends, simply stretching those worn out muscles will do a world of good!
Don’t Neglect Those ZZZZ’s
Sleep is by far the biggest factor in maximizing your workouts. You can be an absolute workout warrior, but if you are not providing the body with proper recovery time, the progress you desire will perpetually allude you. Sleep is intended to repair the damage our bodies accrue throughout the day.
A slew of hormones and biological processes are revved up during this time period that allows us to hit the ground running each morning. This is especially true for those of us who consistently ask more of the body in terms of vigorous exercise.
While the specific amount of sleep needed to ensure full recovery differs slightly amongst individuals, 6-8 hours is the general consensus. After working out for a while, you can take note of how you feel each morning and adjust this equation to suit your personal needs.
Don’t minimize your physical progress by staying up binge-watching Netflix after a knockout gym session. Prioritize your sleep the same way you value exercise.
Fuel Your Progress
Many individuals, including the avid gym goer, use working out as an excuse to consume whatever food craving they desire.
While life is meant to be enjoyed and the occasional milkshake or pizza buffet is certainly warranted, it is important to consider what your body needs after a workout session.
Consistent workouts followed by junk food marathons are nothing but an endless cycle of stagnation. If you want your body to function like an Italian sports car, you better be filling up with premium gas!
The occasional cheat meal is perfectly okay as long as your overall dietary habits are promoting the physique you have in mind.
Eating correctly after working out means focusing on carbs and protein and maybe some fat.
Eating right means:
- Decreasing muscle protein breakdown
- Increasing muscle growth (protein synthesis)
- Restoring glycogen stores
- Enhancing overall recovery
Protein repairs and builds muscle (i.e.: chicken, meat, beans)
Carbs help the body recover (i.e.: fruits and grains)
Fats Can Help Too: One study found that whole milk was better than skim milk for muscle growth (17Trusted Source)
Pat On The Back
While not technically a “workout ritual,” we can make it one. Say congrats and pat yourself on the back for doing a great workout. Positive reinforcement helps tremendously in sticking with and succeeding in fitness for the long term.