We’ve talked a lot about things you shouldn’t do before a workout and during your actual workout, but people tend to slip up the most when the workout’s over. Let’s be honest, we’ve all justified some bad habits, because we feel like we’ve “earned” it. You should definitely feel pretty good about yourself after a hard training session, unfortunately it doesn’t mean you’ve earned the right to inhale a plate of fried chicken and down a six-pack of beer.
Health is a habit that extends far beyond the gym, so don’t negate all the hard work, sweat, and tears you put into pumping iron by comitting these sins. Here are the eight post-workout missteps that you should avoid at all costs.
Once your workout is done, you should stretch the muscles that were just targeted. This will not only help them recover more quickly and keep you more limber, but may also enhance the growth process.
Perform Excessive Cardio
There is nothing wrong with doing some cardio (20 to 30 minutes maximum) after your weight training, but it should not be excessive or you will severely hamper the physiological and hormonal mechanisms that lead to muscular hypertrophy. Your best bet is to separate cardio and weight training by about five hours.
Wait Too Long to Eat
After an intense workout, your body is in need of nutrients, especially amino acids and carbohydrates. Your body needs this to replenish and repair damaged muscle cells and feed the exhausted nervous system. Try to feed your body a high-quality, balanced meal no longer than 15 to 20 minutes after completing your final set.
Exclude Fast-Acting Carbs
It is of vital importance to quickly consume the proper nutrients after a workout, and carbs play a very important role in this equation. Since the body is primed to absorb carbohydrates to refill muscle glycogen after lifting weights, it’s best to take in the “fast-acting” or “high-GI” variety. Foods like white rice, white potatoes, rice cakes, and bagels will get into the bloodstream rapidly, which will elevate insulin levels and allow you to push nutrients into cells at a very fast rate.
Don’t Lose Your Whey
Because whey protein is digested very rapidly it will supply your muscle cells with much-needed amino acids faster than all other protein sources. This is extremely important right after an intense workout; so failing to utilize the power of whey would most certainly be an error when your goal is more muscle.
Down Too Many Fats
The goal of the post-workout meal is to make sure that both carbohydrates and amino acids reach the bloodstream for distribution to muscle cells as rapidly as possible. Since fats tend to slow digestion, it would be a big mistake to include a significant amount during your post-workout feeding.
BY ERIC BROSER