After a trip to the gym most of us get on with our day and hope that we have pushed ourselves just the right amount. Too much, and we will end up feeling sore the next day, too little and the hour and a half might end up having been wasted. Assuming that we have stretched before and after and that we are generally eating a pretty well balanced diet, our bodies should be able to recover and move on fairly quickly. There are however times when we need to think a little more about how to nourish our bodies post workouts.
It may be that we are just ramping up our regular routine, but whatever the case, it is always best to know how to supply the body with what it needs in order to make each workout the safest and most productive possible. One of the most important ways to ensure both these conditions are met is to pay attention to your post-workout ways. Below are some fairly simple tips to help make sure that your body is pampered after a hard workout and, as such, that it will be healed and ready to go for your next gym date.
First off we need to ensure that before hitting the gym we have given our body the fuel it needs to perform. A balance of proteins and carbohydrates in your diet ensures that your body will have the energy it needs. Glycogen is the fuel that gets released when you utilize your muscles. As such, it is one of the most important aspects of any workout. Glycogen is produced in your body from carbohydrates. Those carbs are broken down internally so that they can later be used as fuel. If, as is too often the case for some of us, this Glycogen is not used immediately, it gets stored to be used as fuel for the body later.
If, on the other hand though, we get ourselves to the gym, this Glycogen will begin to be released from the stores. Your body begins to access the Glycogen in order to live up to the increased demands being made upon it. Right after the workout the enzymes that convert Glucose to Glycogen are elevated and as such this can also be the best time to replenish the body with Glucose. For about 30 to 45 minutes after an intense workout, consumption of Glucose will go towards the replenishing of muscles as fuel rather than to other less desirable places. This time period is called the ‘carbohydrate window.
Alongside the muscles’ need for Glycogen, a hard workout also dehydrates the body due to the amount of water and liquid loss from sweat. According to recent estimates, for every pound lost during exercise, twenty-four ounces of fluids should be consumed to rehydrate the body. While water should be sipped in small amounts throughout the exercise program, for the next six hours after the workout, replacing lost liquids is essential to a healthy recovery. Water is of course of the most vital aspects of this rehydration, but as many workout enthusiasts know, water is not the only thing that gets depleted during training.