Round Hill resident and CSA member Sara Lewis works with us on the committee that runs the Loudoun Chamber of Commerce Healthy Business Challenge. She’ll be sponsoring our Diaper Derby in May. Sara is the brains and the muscle behind Mix Fitness, a home-based personal training service; she offers this advice about bouncing back from a workout:
You got your workout in — yay! Seriously, give yourself a fist bump because it is hard to find time to exercise…which is why you made that time for yourself.
Now comes the post workout recovery. And I don’t mean wings and beer. We often don’t think of what we do after the workout as part of the fitness process. But these post workout recovery tips will ensure you’re reaping the benefits of exercising in the first place!
Post Workout Nutrition
It’s best to eat a mixture of protein and carbohydrates within an hour of completing your workout. Your body metabolizes carbohydrates most efficiently after exercising. Your body wants to return to homeostasis; the quicker, the better.
This is why chocolate milk is popular due to it’s combination of protein from the milk and carbs from the chocolate. Protein bars and protein shakes are good options too. If you have protein powder and fruits and veggies around, you can make this versatile green smoothie.
Protein is a building block of muscle, so it’s vital to consume it as part of your post workout routine. If you want to get stronger or get nicely defined muscles, you have to provide your body with amino acids. Make sure your protein supplement has branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs): leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Consuming enough protein after your workout can also help reduce muscle soreness. Lifting weights causes microscopic tears in your muscle fibers. Repairing those tears requires amino acids to rebuild the muscle tissue and get stronger.
I know, I know. You’ve heard it before. But adequate sleep really is that important! Sleep is when your body repairs itself. Aim for 7-8 hours per night. If your brain has trouble shutting off when you lie down, consider writing in a journal to empty your brain of thoughts and get a good night’s sleep.
If you’re dehydrated, you’re going to feel stiff, sluggish and hungry. The most recent recommendation for water is to drink half of your body weight in ounces per day. If you weigh 175 pounds, you should drink 87oz of water each day. It sounds like a lot, but coffee, tea, and soda all count towards your daily total.
An easy way to know if you’re hydrated enough is to monitor the color of your urine. It should be light yellow like lemonade. If it’s any darker, go fill up that water bottle! And keep the water bottle right in front of you as a reminder to get in the habit of drinking.
We tend to exercise in one plane of motion although the body moves in three planes of motion. This establishes a pattern. Your body adapts to these patterns and alignment changes. Foam rolling can help offset the habitual postures we place on our bodies.
Foam rolling increases circulation and releases tight tissue. It’s a poor man’s massage. If you are sore or stiff, foam rolling will help. Our muscles are all connected via fascia, so addressing soft tissue in one location can produce a global effect. Watch this video demonstration of how rolling your feet on a tennis ball can increase your hamstring flexibility.
If you have a foam roller, great. If not, use a tennis ball. Personally, I like using a tennis ball on most major muscles like the chest, back and calves and reserve the foam roller for the thighs.
Even though our workout may only be an hour or less, it’s the time in between workouts where our bodies get stronger and more resilient. Exercise is healthy stress and how you recover affects your results. If you’re working out consistently and not moving and feeling better, you may need to dial in on your recovery.
Sara Lewis is the owner of Mix Fitness. She has a degree in Exercise and Health Promotion and more than 15 years of experience in the fitness industry. Sara chose this career because of a fascination with human anatomy and how the body responds to exercise. She loves working with clients who have limited mobility, unexplained aches and pains, and new moms. Sara trains clients and teaches Fit Mama Training in western Loudoun County, VA. Check out her 8-week online program, Restore the Core.
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