It is a common misconception that fit bodies are made in the gym; the truth of the matter is that the actual time you spend exercising plays about half the role – perhaps even lesser. How you spend your time out of the training room makes a huge difference in your overall well-being.
The one topic that immediately comes to mind is proper nutrition; clearly you are not going to get the desired results if you’re going to use “but I workout now” as an excuse to munch on nastiest of fast-foods.
Similarly, there are many other avenues in this lifestyle that you must be aware of so you’re not wasting time getting hurt/sick in the process. Here are 7 things that you’re doing wrong after your workout that could be wrecking your body.
1. Passing on the Cooldown
While most are aware of the importance of stretching before exercising, most do not take into consideration the importance of cooling down. “Light aerobic work at 20% or less intensity at the end of a workout helps to flush the body out, and is paramount to recovery,” says physical therapist and personal trainer Scott Weiss, D.P.T., C.S.C.S., in New York City. Many people usually skip this step because they may be short on time – unfortunately, accommodations must be made. Not stretching properly is also the reason why one feels extremely sore the next two days (especially beginners). It is especially worse to skip cooling down and jumping directly in the shower; the changes in temperature are disastrous to your overall health.
2. Not changing Clothes
This condition may not apply to everyone as most feel really disgusted with their workout attires – but you may want to change your ways just in case you do fit the description. “If sweat builds up on your skin, it will clog your pores, not allowing your skin to breath. If you have a cut or skin abrasion, bacteria can get trapped in there and can cause an infection.” says David E. Bank, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.
To add to this, it is also advised that you never re-use your gear without washing it first. “You can contract both bacterial and fungal infections from re-wearing unwashed workout clothing,” Banks says. “The most vulnerable areas are those with hair, as these infectious organisms can travel down the hair follicle, causing a deeper skin infection.”
3. Walking Barefoot in the Locker Room
Foot fungus and wart viruses are just a few of the conditions that can cling to your feet. Along with germs, one can even pick up traces of urine and feces by walking around barefoot in the locker room. “After the shower, dry your feet thoroughly with a clean towel, even in between your toes,” Bank says. “Lay a clean towel on the floor to stand on while dressing so you don’t defeat everything you have just done to keep your feet clean.”
Another simple way to avoid this is by bringing a pair of flip-flops.
4. Consuming Excessive Amounts of Protein
It is true that people with vigorous workout regimens do have to consume higher amounts of protein to help with recovering. “Research has shown that consuming more-than-required protein just becomes calories that your body stores as fat and carbs, says registered dietician and personal trainer Joey Gochnour, R.D.N., NASM-CPT. This is especially noteworthy for people that consume multiple servings of protein shakes – some shakes go as far as having 40 grams of protein; taking two of these, and still consuming protein rich foods is how most people overdo it.
At the end of the day, it all depends on your intentions – maybe consuming large amounts is okay if you are training to be a professional body builder; but insane amounts of protein is completely unnecessary if the purpose is to tone your physique or lose weight.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
Many people may ridicule ‘meatheads’ at the gym for carrying around a gallon of water with them – but they are the ones who are actually doing it right! One can lose pounds of weight through sweating especially during long cardio sessions – and this fluid must be replaced. Not only should you replenish yourself during your workout, it is highly encouraged to continue drinking water post-work outs as well. “For each pound (16 ounces) of weight lost during the workout, the rule of thumb is to replenish that by 1.5 times with water—so two pounds lost equals 48 ounces of water,” says Gochnour. It is also encouraged that you replish yourself with electrolytes (potassium , magnesium, and sodium become quite depleted) – small amounts of salty snacks and fruits do a great trick if you wish to avoid taking commercial sport drinks (we understand that it contains questionable ingredients). Coconut water is also a great option.
In case you continue to feel hungry after eating your post-out meal, you may be confusing hunger with thirst – so start by drinking water; hungriness is a symptom of dehydration.
6. Not Having Enough Rest
#norestdays is a common saying found amongst hardcore trainers, however, it’s a mindset that causes more harm than good. “If one does not have adequate rest periods, he is risking performance, injury, and total body fatigue, which has been linked to psychological manifestations like depression or anxiety,” says Weiss. Not only do you need enough recovery time to have a better performance the next time you train, but also so your body can hold onto those gains.
7. Resting Too Much
While having a rest day or two are quite important, resting beyond that can easily enable you to quit your program altogether; simply because you get too comfortable. “I believe when the average person thinks about rest, they perceive simply laying down and being still. I give the analogy of a sitting pond versus a flowing river; one collects, and one keeps things moving.” Weiss says. The best way to do accommodate this is by training different parts of the body on different days – when one gets worked on, the other gets to relax (or get worked lesser ).