When you leave the gym you may be a wreck of jelly legs and abdominal agony, but your post-workout protocol is a chance to maximise progress. Here are 5 things you can do to make sure your body keeps working as it should even when you’ve finished your last rep.
5 ways to maximise your gains
Lifting you higher
The post-workout buzz isn’t exclusive to those in running Lycra. Resistance training also causes muscle cells to secrete mood-enhancing endorphins and anandamide, which has a similar effect to THC, marijuana’s active ingredient. It’s your body’s reward system for keeping active. Over time, you’ll have to work harder to get the same high – so chalk up.
Stop sweating with water
Rush from gym floor to office and, whether you shower or not, you’ll sweat through your suit. Cool down and dry off faster with an icy drink: when cold water hits your stomach, thermoreceptors signal your brain to regulate your sweat. Put your hydration on ice for 24 hours with a Chilly’s water bottle.
Add protein to your drink
Even before you’ve stopped sweating, your body has begun to repair itself. Training causes micro-tears in your muscles. In response, your immune system sends in stem cells and growth hormone, which work with amino acids to make new muscle fibres. Adding 30g of protein to your post-workout drink is optimum to support recovery and growth.
Burn calories once you’ve finished your workout
Exercise racks up an energy debt. To return to a state of homoeostasis (steady temperature, hormone production and oxygen levels), your body works overtime, expending extra calories in the process. If you work out at 70 per cent of your maximum effort for 45 minutes, for example, you can increase calorie burn by 37 per cent for 14 hours after your session.
Keep on rolling
As fat burn subsides, your muscles continue to repair. Metabolic stress damages your muscle cell membrane and causes inflammation. This leads to DOMS, or delayed onset muscle soreness, which peaks in pain up to 48 hours later. Roll with the foamies: 15 minutes of massaging your glutes, quads and hamstrings with a foam roller will ease your path towards progress.