A workout is a process, which goal is both the building and maintaining of a healthy body. It is a journey from a state of unhealthy living to one where every muscle and reflex is at its sharpest. And like every journey, you must prepare if you hope to reap its many benefits.
As great as workouts are in themselves, there are certain things which can make them counterproductive. Some health conditions may deter you from engaging in workouts, or engaging in them to the extent which you would like to.
However, there are other things which may make the workout process less fulfilling than it should be. It is therefore best to take time to put your house in order before delving fully into your workout. The after-workout practices are also as important as the ones which you should observe before.
Here are some before and after workout practices which you should incorporate into your workout routines. Make sure to keep them as regular habits because they are as important to the development of your body goals as the workouts themselves.
1. Get lots of rest before your workout sessions
It might sound simple but if you plan on burning plenty of energy during your workout routines, it makes sense to have some to burn, doesn’t it? The benefits of your workouts don’t instantly materialise whilst you are working out, but whilst you are resting before and after them.
Muscle formation happens while you are sleeping, and the better rest, the denser the muscles formed. Speaking about form, a rested person will stay in better form during workouts than a fatigued one. So make sure to get a full night’s rest before engaging in your workouts. In fact, see it as part of the routine – because that’s what it is.
2. Drink plenty of fluids
Before your workout sessions, drink enough water. It lubricates your muscles and refreshes you at the same time. This way, it puts both your mind and body in the right frame for the hard work. It doesn’t matter if your routine is light or you are an athlete who trains for hours daily, it is imperative that you drink plenty of water before your workout. In fact, research has shown that drinking a glass of water upon rising in the morning does your body a lot of good.
During your workout, also hydrate. You don’t need to drink much, just have small, regular sips during the course of your workout. After your workout, drink water too. You can mix your water with some fruit juice like orange or beetroot juice to get adequate vitamins and carbohydrates, and boost your workout.
3. Eat plenty of carbohydrates and protein
If your workout is only about an hour long, there is no need to eat much before. A simple milkshake is enough. Also, anything you eat should be more than an hour or two before your workout session and, at this point, should be light. Whole wheat toast with banana is a good snack to eat before a workout so that your energy will burn at a slow, regular pace. A yoghurt is also good as it fills up your stomach.
For after your workout, you need something which will suit the recovery mode you are currently in. Vegetables and chicken are your choice foods.
4. Do a stretch out after
An intense workout may leave your muscles sore and this will worsen if left for some time. Before finishing, do a stretch in which you extend your muscles, but not in the way you did during your warm up. The aim of this is to set your muscles back to the way they were when you came in.
5. Have a cold shower
You can increase the benefits of your workout by having a cold shower afterwards. This way, your warmed up muscles can settle and cool down. This happens because a cold shower reduces the inflammation which has already been provoked during your workout, and helps with soreness.
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