You are motivated and have just had a great and exhausting workout - congratulations, you can be proud of that! But not only training properly is important. What you do afterwards is also crucial to your success. Whether it's muscle building, fat loss or endurance, training is only one part of the puzzle to achieve your goals.
Try to avoid these six post-workout mistakes:
1. You don't drink fluids post-workout
Our body consists of about 70% water. That's quite a lot, when we exercise we often sweat out valuable water. This is an important mechanism for cooling our body.
Depending on the type of sport, you can easily lose 1.5-2 liters of fluid per workout.
To compensate for this loss, it is important to ensure fluid intake throughout the day. Important minerals are also lost when you sweat. Mineral water usually contains a balanced mixture of minerals and is therefore the best choice to compensate for the loss of liquid. You can also make it tastier with some juice or tea.
2. Alcohol directly or immediately after exercise
It's a pleasure to meet up with friends after training and have a glass or two. Alcohol is definitely the worst thing you can do to your body after a workout. Alcohol not only contains bad carbohydrates (useless calories) but is also toxic to the body.
A glass of wine has about 90 calories. A beer has 220 calories. A margarita has a whopping 350 calories.
If you consume alcohol after training, the body tries to break it down quickly. Your regenerative processes in the body are thus prevented, what does that mean? Quite simply, your training progress will be neutralized.
In a 2014 publication in PLOS One magazine Study (1) examined how multiple cocktails affect muscle recovery after exercise. The alcohol resulted in a 37% drop in the rate of protein synthesis in the athletes. In addition, alcohol deprives the body of important minerals and inhibits the function of the immune system.
If you still like to drink something after training, you can choose non-alcoholic drinks or just leave it at one glass.
3. Little sleep after an intense training session
An intense training session not only puts a strain on your muscles but also on the central nervous system. Especially with strength athletes who go to the limit of their power reserves, the latter is very stressed.
Sleep is essential for athletic performance and progress. Many regenerative processes take place during sleep, and only during sleep. If you deprive your body of enough sleep, it cannot recover and your progress will quickly stagnate or even decline. Always try to get 8-9 hours of regular sleep. If you would like to know more about sleep, then read our large specialist article on the subject Sleep.
4. Your post-workout nutrient intake isn't right
During training, you ask a lot of your body and nervous system, while your body uses up important nutrients so that it has enough energy and focus during training. It is now important to compensate for this after training. In addition to drinking enough water, as mentioned above, you should pay attention to your protein and carbohydrate intake.
Depending on your training, you should adjust your macronutrient intake. Carbohydrates are particularly important for endurance athletes, while for strength athletes it is the mixture of carbohydrates and protein.
Rule of thumb for strength athletes:
- 25% Protein,
- 25% Fat,
- 50% carbohydrates.
Rule of thumb for endurance athletes:
- 12% Protein,
- 23% Fat,
- 65% carbohydrates.
Micronutrients are also important for everyone because they support protein and carbohydrate synthesis, among other things, and are important for muscle and nervous system recovery.
Make sure that your meals contain plenty of vegetables to ensure the supply of micronutrients.
Magnesium is particularly important for muscles, and zinc is an important micronutrient for cell division. Vitamin C has been shown to help support the immune system after exercise. Your nervous system also needs to recover from the exertion. You can find out which foods strengthen your nervous system in our article "nerve food". B vitamins are particularly important here.
5. You neglect your hygiene
Many sports take place outdoors or on equipment. You sweat and quickly spread your bacteria everywhere. Not an issue in itself, because your body is used to dealing with it. But this should not be an excuse to neglect your hygiene, because you are often exposed to many bacterial herds, especially during sport. studies (2) show that, above all, very intensive sport can temporarily weaken our immune system. Therefore, make sure to keep your clothing, body and training environment clean.
6. Track and share your progress
Track your progress by writing it down or tracking it in an app, so you always have an overview of your progress! If you share your successes and training online, you can motivate those around you to take action and change their lives. With your activities you might be able to infect them with your enthusiasm. You might be able to inspire a friend to go jogging or join a sports club. With a bit of luck you might find a new training partner.
A few final thoughts
Remember these mistakes as you get ready for your next workout at home or in the gym. Our bodies are amazing and you can achieve great results if you avoid these post-workout mistakes.
(1) Alcohol Ingestion Impairs Maximal Post-Exercise Rates of Myofibrillar Protein Synthesis following a Single Bout of Concurrent Training
(2) The compelling link between physical activity and the body's defense system