So, you’ve completed your workout. You’re probably at least a little sweaty, breathing hard, your heart is racing, and you are READY for that post-workout calm time. We don’t mean to burst your bubble or anything, but there’s still a liiiittle bit more work you have to do to ensure your body is ready for not only the rest of your day, but also the rest of the week. Without a post-workout routine, you will be more sore, dehydrated, and your muscles may not bounce back as quickly as you’d like them to.
First things first: The Cool Down. After your workout, do you take time to get back to your normal state, or do you just go about your day? Your body needs the opportunity to return to normal; during exercise, your body temperature rises and your blood vessels widen. Without a cool-down, you may feel lightheaded or dizzy after you suddenly stop exercising. Cooling down could be as simple as just walking for a few minutes, just to slow your heart rate a bit.
After you cool down, you’ll want to Stretch. The best part about stretching after a workout? It’s easier than it is going into it cold (like a pre-workout stretch, which you should be doing too!), because your muscles are already warm and more pliable. Stretching helps you increase your range of motion, decreases soreness, and accelerates your recovery process. A foam roller is also great in combination with stretching, as it stretches muscles and tendons and breaks down soft tissue adhesions and scar tissue. Basically, that means it has the same benefits of stretching, but on a bit deeper level. As a heads’ up, foam rolling can be unpleasant at first as you roll out your muscles. This is normal, keep your first few foam roller sessions shorter as you get used to it.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but Drink Water. As you work out, you lose water through sweating and muscle use. Drinking water helps to replenish your body’s water supply, increase muscle stability and strength, and decrease muscle soreness. Drink about 2-3 cups of water per pound of weight lost during the workout.
You’re sweaty, you’re starting to get that post-workout chill, so Change Clothes. Remove any wet clothing, especially bras, underwear, and socks. Any trapped moisture is a bacterium, yeast, and fungus HAVEN and we’d rather not have a breakout or a skin infection, thanks. 🤪 Don’t get trench foot because you keep forgetting to take your socks off after a hard workout, it is not worth it.
On the same note, Take a Shower. A lower temperature shower (not an ice bath, just cool) can decrease muscle inflammation and increase the healing process, meaning you’ll be less sore tomorrow.
Within 30-60 minutes of your workout, you should Eat. Protein and carbohydrates are great to replenish your energy and optimize recovery. Don’t deny your body the fuel it needs to keep going. Need ideas on good post-workout meals? Check out our nutrition guide and for some awesome post-workout munches.
Lastly, Take a Rest Day. Give your body the time it needs to recover – more isn’t always better. Mix up your workouts by targeting a different area of muscles each day to allow the previous muscles time to heal, schedule a lighter workout, or even take a day off after an intense workout.
Roller Derby Athletics is here for you in all stages of your workout, from warming up, to working out, to cooling down, and even fueling up. We want to make sure you get the most out of your exercises, and we do that by having personal Coaches for our members who help them target areas they need more support in, set great Habits, and build up those muscles! Check out a or as an Essentials or MVP member, we would love to have you!