Oftentimes, the time we spend sweating it out in the gym gets all the credit–but the things we do prior to and after our workouts can have an even greater impact on our results.
Before a Workout: Warm Up and Cool Down
The most important thing to do before any type of pink workout gear is to ensure your body has time to properly warm up. This can be done by doing a light jog or walk, and gently stretching your muscles to prepare them for the exercise ahead.
After a Workout: Recovery and Nutrition
The right amount of time between workouts is essential to the overall success of your fitness plan. Having a few rest days in your routine can also give you a chance to recharge and build strength so you don’t get overly fatigued before the next workout, says certified athletic trainer Amanda McMahan, ATC.
After a tough workout, it’s especially important to eat foods high in carbohydrates and protein. These replenish muscle glycogen stores, which help you feel full and boost your energy levels.
Eating the right balance of carbs, protein and fluids can make all the difference in your post-workout recovery, says registered dietitian Jennifer Bonci. She suggests choosing a mix of protein-rich foods like chicken, eggs and fish and carbohydrates from fruits, veggies and whole grains.
It’s a good idea to hydrate after your workout, too, but be sure to stay away from sports drinks and other caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as these can dehydrate you further and interfere with your recovery. Drink at least 16 ounces of water or healthy alternatives, such as coconut water and green tea, to help replenish your body’s lost fluids after an intense workout.