Are you making these post workout mistakes? Exercise is a crucial part of a healthy routine, but your post workout choices could be sabotaging your results. From not allowing enough time for recovery, to skimping on sleep, not eating enough protein, and more, we’ve compiled common mistakes you could be making. If you’re putting in the work, you might as well get your best results possible. Check out this list to ensure you’re not sabotaging your results!
11 Post Workout Mistakes that Sabotage Results
1. Skipping Stretching
A proper cool down after you exercise is crucial for recovery, and stretching is a big part of that. Stretching reduces lactic acid, which contributes to sore, achy muscles. Stretching helps reduce lactic acid and relaxes tense muscles. It also limits muscle and joint strain. It helps your muscles stay flexible and toned, reducing the chance of injury after exercising. Additionally, stretching helps get your heart rate back to a normal level once your workout is over.
2. Not Allowing Time for Recovery
Rest days are important for any exercise program. They give the body the chance to repair and recover and help to prevent injury. Although exercise is super important for your overall health, it does put stress on your body. Giving your body time to recover allows your muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, and other major body functions like your endocrine system to regenerate.
Are you always super hungry after your workouts? This could lead to overeating at meals. Instead, if you need a snack after a tough workout session, pair protein and complex carbs. This will allow you to replenish your energy levels, repair muscle damage, and hold you over until mealtime. Try some peanut butter on whole grain bread, a slice of turkey and cheese on crackers, or some trail mix. And make sure to drink lots of water during and after your workout.
4. High Stress
Stress can increase your cortisol levels. Cortisol has been shown to inhibit muscle protein synthesis, which is the process the body uses to build new muscle protein and repair old muscle fibres. Stress can also lead you to indulge in bad-for-you foods. Emotional distress can cause sugar and fat cravings, which can result in overeating and sabotage your results. Make time for yourself to relax and destress. Yoga, meditation, and getting out in nature are all great ways to lower your stress levels.
5. Insufficient Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important factors for muscle recovery and strength. Sleep is when the body produces testosterone and human growth hormone- two ingredients that are essential for repair. Sleeping at least seven hours per night is key for optimal muscle recovery. To ensure quality sleep, make sure your room is cool, remove technology, limit light exposure, and make sure it’s as quiet and comfortable as possible.
6. Not Drinking Enough Water
For your muscles to work their best, it’s crucial you stay hydrated. As well as drinking water before and during your workout, also be sure to re-hydrate when you’re done. Muscle mass is about 75% water, so drinking water will help prevent dehydration, especially after an intensive workout. It will also help speed up recovery and improve performance.
7. Heading to Happy Hour Post Workout
A great workout can make you want to celebrate, but throwing back a few cocktails or glasses of wine after you exercise isn’t ideal for your results. Alcohol is super dehydrating, so not exactly a smart choice after you’ve already worked up a sweat during your workout. Alcohol has also been found to prevent muscles from synthesizing protein after a workout, keeping them from repairing torn muscle fibres. Plus, feeling a little tipsy makes it more likely for you to indulge in bad-for-you foods you wouldn’t eat if you weren’t drinking.
8. Eating High Sugar or High Calorie Snacks
Strenuous exercise can make you feel fatigued and depleted, but make sure you don’t go for a quick fix like a chocolate croissant or a caramel macchiato. This may give you a momentary boost of energy, but will quickly lead to a blood sugar drop, which will make you feel even worse. Plus, high sugar snacks and drinks aren’t going to help your health and fitness goals. They’re empty calories that offer little to no nutritional value.
9. Not Getting Enough Protein
Protein is super important post workout as it builds and repairs muscles. Make sure you’re eating a small high protein snack within an hour of working out, and at your next meal, ensure protein is at the forefront. We went over snacks above, but for mealtime, pair salmon with sweet potato, meatballs with whole grain pasta, or chicken with roasted veggies.
10. Not Replacing Electrolytes
When you sweat, your body loses sodium and potassium (electrolytes), so it’s important to replace these nutrients. Coconut water is a great low-sugar form of electrolytes, and you can also research sports drinks to see which one is best for you. You can also replace electrolytes through foods like spinach, avocados, watermelon, bananas, leafy greens, beans, and nuts.
11. Eating Too Few Calories
When you’re trying to get healthy and fit, it’s important to eat clean, but make sure you’re eating enough. If you want to build muscle, eating too few calories will negatively affect any potential gains, as your body will be forced to focus on essential functions like breathing and regulating blood pressure, rather than building muscle.
It will also affect your energy levels, leaving you with less strength to do your workouts. On top of this, it will impact recovery. Your body will use any protein you eat for energy rather than to repair and rebuild muscle. Make sure your diet is high in lean protein, vegetables, complex carbs, and healthy fats, and make sure you’re eating enough.
Working out is key to a healthy lifestyle, but be sure you’re not making these post workout mistakes that sabotage results!
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