(BlackDoctor.org) — Sometimes, nothing feels as good as knowing you’ve sweat it out and burned calories. But before you think you’re done, make sure you do these four things after your workout (and avoid doing the last one!).
Tired muscles need to be kept flexible to prevent future tightness or injuries, so make sure you spend a few minutes after a workout stretching as part of your cool down. And don’t forget to foam roll any stubborn knots away for the same reasons.
Muscles need fuel, especially after you’ve spent a while working them. Eat within two hours of a workout in order to repair muscles, keep them strong, and prevent them from breaking down. Choose foods that are high in carbs with a little bit of protein — the ratio of 4:1 carbs to protein is recommended after your workout.
Do: Get Ready For the Next Day
Don’t just throw off sweaty clothes or stuff them in your bag and forget them. Take a few extra minutes to prep for the next day, whether that means repacking your gym bag, spraying down a dirty yoga mat, or organizing your equipment at home, so that you won’t have to think about prepping for your next workout when you’re busy or tired.
Do: Assess Your Goals
Pat yourself on the back, and then cross that workout off your list! It’s motivating to see how much you’ve accomplished for the week, that you’ve stuck to your plan, or that you’ve exceeded the calorie burn, miles run, or other goals that you set for yourself that week.
Don’t: Undo Your Hard Work
You’re sweaty and starving, and that pizza joint or breakfast sandwich has your name all over it. But think before you bite — you should definitely feel proud that you’ve completed what you set out to do, but a 300-calorie-burning workout doesn’t always entitle you to gorge on a super indulgent meal afterward (or, at least, shouldn’t be your excuse!).