What to do: Pre and Post-Workout

Till now we have discussed all that to do during the workout. But what we do before and after our workout is the most important part. In the gym, the most asked questions the trainers are, “what to do before and after a workout?” Now, if you know the activities or the meals to eat in those times, you can yield much better results.

But they depend on the kind of workout you do. And we all know performing the same kind of workout daily can harm your body. And if we change our diet regularly, eventually, our bodies will suffer. So here are some common things you can do daily for maximum results.

Before workout:

1. Eat enough carbs

Carbohydrates are called fuels to our energy. The more we use our energy, the more we need to eat carbs. You should eat them at least 1–4 hours prior to your workout, depending on your digestion process. If you eat them just before the workout, then you might have stomach problems. Make sure the meal also has protein. It builds and repairs the tears in your muscle fibers. Having a banana or a peanut butter sandwich is the best, scientifically proven. An apple or almond butter can also do the trick. Oatmeal with fruit and low-fat milk is recommended.

2. Do hydrate

Make sure you have plenty of water. We know that drinking water is crucial to our overall health, but it plays a really important role in a fitness routine as well — when you’re sweating it out, you need to make sure your body is properly hydrated since you’re losing water. Plus, being hydrated will make sure your energy levels are where they need to be. While there’s no one-size-fits-all method to determining fluid needs during exercise, a good place to start is drinking about two cups of water around two to three hours before exercise and one cup of water about 10 to 20 minutes before working out. The goal here is to minimize dehydration — which can cause low energy and muscle cramps or spasms — without drinking too much water, which isn’t easy to do but can be dangerous.

3. Sleep properly

The most imperative thing in any fitness program starts the minute you go to sleep — that’s where all the magic happens. Being well-rested not only energizes you through every burpee or sprint but also keeps your hunger hormones in check, so you’re not undoing your efforts in the gym by overeating the rest of the day. If you can’t do seven hours, at least try for six and a half hours. Set boundaries with your electronics before bed so the light doesn’t keep you awake. A night of good sleep is super important after a workout, too — that’s when muscles really get to recover.

After workout:

1. Stretch

Use static stretching to cool down and reset after a workout. A cool-down brings your body back to a resting position — the way you walked into the gym is the way you want to leave. Stretching may also be beneficial for joint mobility and range of motion. This is the opposite of the stretches you do in a warm-up. After a workout, you should hold your stretches for at least 15 seconds each. And because muscles are best stretched when they’re warm, you definitely don’t want to go straight from your workout to a seated position, like at a desk or in a car.

2. Post-workout nutrition

A pre-workout snack is more optional than a post-workout one. Giving your body the fuel it needs to recover after a tough sweat is essential. After a tough workout, your body looks for carbohydrates and protein to help replenish glycogen stores and rebuild muscle, respectively, so getting your body the nutrition it needs to recover in a timely manner is important.

Plus, not eating after a workout can leave you feeling ravenous later on. And no one likes to be hangry and tired. To make it easy on yourself, pack one of the post-workout snacks in your bag. Or, if your gym offers this, pre-order your shake and pay for it ahead of time, so when you’re walking out to your car or the street they can just hand it to you. You can pack food like Low-fat chocolate milk, Low-fat yogurt with berries, fruits, paneer, protein-rich smoothies.

3. Take a cool shower

The evidence for cold water immersion doing something highly beneficial after a workout is not rock solid; it’s by no means a guarantee that a cool shower after a workout will make you recover quicker or stave off post-workout soreness. However, ice baths after a particularly hot workout or when the athlete is overheated do seem to be helpful. Moreover, some researchers say cold water therapy may contribute to the perception of recovery which, in turn, does actually aid recovery. Basically, if you’re overheated, a cool shower will help your body get back to baseline. And if you’re one of the many people who feel that a cool shower after a workout makes you feel better mentally and/or psychologically, consider making it part of your post-workout ritual. You don’t have to jump in an ice bath like the pros; just turn the shower temperature down lower than you usually do.

By making sure your body’s been warmed up, worked out, and cooled down properly, you can maximize the results you’re working towards. Cheesy as it may sound, fitness really is a lifestyle and one that doesn’t begin and end with your actual workout.