Congratulations, you just finished a grueling circuit! Now before you run home to crash in front of the television, there are a few post-workout moves you should master to "help your body refuel and rebuild," says John Rowley, certified personal trainer and Director of Wellness for the International Sports Sciences Association. Check out these pro habits, then get moving!
Ideally you'll be sipping water during workout, but rehydrating afterward is absolutely critical to avoid fatigue and nausea. “The time, duration, and intensity of the workout can all impact fluid loss,” says Alexandra Miller, corporate dietician at Medifast. A good general recommendation would be to drink at least 8 ounces, or one cup, of water post-workout.
Stretch It Out
Your body will thank you for that quiet time on the mat. “Stretching can help increase blood flow to those exerted muscles, which can help alleviate future soreness,” says Rowley who advocates holding each light stretch for about 20 seconds. Trust: It'll make getting out of bed the next morning so much easier.
Wash Your Face
After your cool down, hit the shower – or at least the sink. “Washing your face right after a workout is so important,” says Mona Gohara, M.D., a dermatologist in Danbury, Connecticut. “Sweat and oil mixed with makeup and daily sunscreen is a bad pore-clogging combo.” Gohara suggests using a gentle exfoliating wash, like this one, to slough away the grime.
If you do nothing else post-workout, have a snack. “Your body needs nutrients to recover properly,” says Miller. Carbohydrates combined with a protein is your best bet. Miller suggests healthy combinations like a piece of fresh fruit or vegetable smeared with nut butter. Or try fresh tomato slices with a hardboiled egg, or a smoothie made with unsweetened almond milk, protein powder, and frozen berries. The necessary amounts of carbs and protein vary by person and both Miller and Rowley agree it’s best to experiment with foods and drinks to determine what your body best tolerates. “Fluctuate up or down 10 grams of a carb or protein until you find what works best for you," says Rowley.