Wouldn’t it be amazing if binge-eating pizza and watching Netflix burned as many calories as a boot-camp session or spinning class? (A girl can dream.) Since we can’t score killer abs while sitting on the couch (not yet, at least), it looks like we’ll have to keep sweating it out at the gym or on the street. In that case, doesn’t it make sense to have a smart post-workout routine that helps guarantee your hard work is paying off? Here are four steps to take after each workout to get the best results.
Remember to Refuel
Eating a balanced snack after exercising not only gives your body the nutrients it needs to rebuild muscle and replenish energy stores, it also ensures you’ll make smarter food choices when the post-calorie-burning cravings set in. Aim for a mix of protein and carbohydrates to top up your nutrients and keep you feeling full, such as hummus with pita, tuna on sprouted-wheat bread or a protein shake with banana and almond milk.
Cool It Down
Always stretch immediately after a workout, while your muscles are still warm. Be sure to hold your stretches for at least 15 seconds to maintain your range of motion, decrease soreness and help speed up the recovery process. A cool shower will also help combat inflammation and post-workout pain. No need to turn the water down to freezing cold — a few minutes in a lower temperature than you normally choose should do!
Soothe Muscle Strain
We can’t all have a massage therapist on call (ahem, Katy Perry and Kanye West). Thankfully, you can count on pain-relieving products like Icy Hot Advanced Medicated Spray to ease your post-sweat-session soreness. The newest addition to Icy Hot’s lineup, the spray is powered by 16% menthol and starts out cold to relieve pain and then gradually warms up to quickly calm muscle strain. Even better, it comes in a convenient spray bottle you can take anywhere and apply at any angle — whether you’re hunched over your desk at work, or lying comfortably on the couch.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
We all know water is essential to good health, but it’s especially crucial when it comes to working out. Aside from offsetting the water you lose while sweating it out, drinking plenty of H20 post-exercise will ensure you maintain an optimal energy level long after you’ve left the gym. Although the amount of water needed varies from person to person, experts recommend drinking half your body weight in ounces per day (so, if you weigh 140 pounds, make sure to drink at least 70 ounces).
Icy Hot Advanced Medicated Spray, $11.99, is available at major drugstores across Canada.
This post was sponsored by Icy Hot.