7 things you should never do after a workout
You just finished that last rep, knocked out that last mile, or completely exhausted yourself busting out pull-ups.
Now, you want nothing more than to collapse on the couch, have a bagel, and veg out. It’s self-rewarding, in a way, and if things are done in the correct sequence, you’ll be relaxing and reloading for the next bout in the gym.
But there is a list of no-nos you’re going to want to keep in mind. They’re easy traps and habits to fall into, so be vigilant.
Here are 7 things you should never do after a workout:
1. Eat the wrong thing
You just burned a bunch of calories, so you deserve a treat, right? Well, maybe. But that doesn’t mean you should go pig out on a bunch of garbage. In fact, you should aim to give your body what it needs — not necessarily what you want.
The list of foods to avoid is long, but it definitely includes candy, pastries, fast food — pretty much anything that common sense would tell you to avoid.
Gym newbies, this one’s for you: Don’t be that person who’s done working out, but won’t get the hell out of the way.
Once you’ve knocked out your routine, head to the locker room, go cool down, or get a protein shake — just don’t keep moping around, getting in the way, and even worse, sitting on machines or equipment that people are trying to use.
3. Skip the cool-down
We’ve previously written about the importance of your cool down. It doesn’t need to be anything extravagant; just a way to slowly crank the proverbial dial back and get your heart gradually back down to a resting level. That can mean doing some simple yoga moves, stretching, using a foam roller carefully (more on that in a minute), or even just taking it easy on the treadmill for 10 or 15 minutes. This will help you get ready for the next workout in short order by reducing recovery time.
4. Skimp on quality sleep
Adequate snooze time is essential for any healthy lifestyle. When you don’t get it, you’re just putting yourself at a greater risk for stress, irritation, and even overeating. Getting the right amount of sleep, especially after a day you’ve worked out hard, is key. Your body and mind alike need time to recharge, so think twice before skimping on those quality Zs.
5. Remain sedentary for the rest of the day
It can be tempting to get your lounge on after a hardcore sweat session, but try to resist the urge. Even if you have no choice but to go directly back to your desk after a lunchtime workout, just be sure to stay somewhat mobile. Maybe trade your desk chair for an exercise ball, or set a timer to remind yourself to get up and walk around every 45 minutes or so.
6. Hang out in your workout clothes
You may not come off the weight room floor or treadmill looking soaked, exactly, but you’re still likely to be covered in sweat. But try to get those sweaty clothes off before they dry up and get really nasty.
7. Touch your face
Touching your face after leaving the gym is the last thing you want to do. All that gym equipment can be a breeding ground for unwanted germs and bacteria, so keep your hands to yourself following time at the gym. It’s best to wash your hands and wipe your face with a clean towel post workout, especially if you’re not planning on showering for a while.
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