After working out, it can feel like a huge high. Between the sweat glistening off your face and the knowledge of knowing you did it, there's definitely a reason to feel fit and energized after a workout. As a certified health coach, I work with clients on finding forms of exercise that excite them and that adapt well to their lifestyles and demands.
It's so important to think of exercise as something fun and powerful, rather than a chore, and so by looking at different types, such as dance, spin, running, yoga and high-intensity interval training (HIIT), among others, and deciding which ones fit with your goals and tastes, you'll be more inclined to stick with a plan and find the workout to be both pleasurable and effective. There are so many possibilities, and I personally, I love to do a bunch of different workouts in the week to boost variety, shock my muscles with new moves, and beat boredom. Here are eleven ways to feel fit and energized during a workout, so that you can feel just as awesome after. Take a shower, eat some protein, and start reaping those powerful health benefits from a solid workout almost instantly!
1. Fuel Up Before The Workout
Your body won't feel as awesome after a workout if it didn't have the proper fuel to get it moving, advises India Paulino, NPC Bikini Competitor and BSN Athlete, over email with me. "I rely on a good pre-workout supplement to help keep my energy up. Most pre-workouts, which you drink just before your gym time, combine caffeine and other nutrients to help maintain energy." She recommends a new BSN N.O. X-PLODE XE EDGE pre-workout formula. "It helps gives me really intense energy and good endurance," she adds.
2. Eat Right After
Having protein, complex carbohydrates and some healthy fat after a workout can help build more muscle, which will allow you to be stronger and fitter. "The more muscle you build the more calories you can burn at rest," says Kari Gans, MS, RD, CDN, and spokesperson for America's Better Sandwich, over email with me. This combination is great for repairing muscles, and she recommends pairing a slice of whole grain bread with something that has fat and protein in it, such as peanut butter.
3. Drink Milk
"Milk can help your body recover from a strenuous workout. Milk contains carbohydrates, which can help refuel your muscles and protein, which can help reduce muscle breakdown and stimulate growth post-exercise," says Matthew Pikosky, PhD, RD / National Dairy Council on DairyGood. Proper fueling after can keep your metabolism high, as noted.
4. Have A Little Bit Of Caffeine
According to running coach and personal trainer Susie Lemmer over email with me, having a little jolt of caffeine after working out can help, as it has been shown to boast recovery benefits and can provide an additional burst of energy. So, grab a cup of joe and enjoy!
5. Take A Shower
As if it wasn't enough to consider taking a shower after a sweaty gym session, here's more reason to! According to Lemmer, "a nice shower always peps me back up." You can also play with heat therapy, by switching between warmer and cooler temperatures to repair muscles or taking a warmer bath, according to Robert Gillanders, physical therapist interviewed by The Washington Post.
6. Keep Moving
Instead of just ending a workout and letting muscles get stiff, sticking with some movement after finishing a hard workout could help keep you more energized, as well as heal muscles, according to Gillanders. Do some dynamic stretching or dance a little to some music after, as it can keep your mood high and legs still a bit warm to cool down in a safe manner.
7. Play Upbeat Music
According to Dr Yuna Ferguson, who authored a study published in The Journal Of Positive Psychology at The University of Missouri, upbeat music can make people happier and boost wellbeing. Thus, by keeping the music on after a workout, you can ride out the energy high and keep enjoying the workout benefits.
8. Have A Post-Workout Shake
According to MATT PIKOSKY, PH.D., RD, FACN, on DairyGood's blog, consuming whey protein is great "because it provides all the essential amino acids and is higher in leucine (~2.5g leucine/20g protein), the key amino acid influencing the process of rebuilding muscle." Plus, "it is quickly digested/absorbed resulting in a fast delivery to muscle."
9. Have Green Tea
"Tea is great to drink post-workout when you need an energy boost," says Simon Cheng - Founder and CEO of Pique Tea, over email with me. "The caffeine found in tea binds to catechins and creates a natural time release of caffeine, meaning no jitter, no crash, and no cortisol production," he explains. Plus, tea tastes great!
10. Use A Foam Roller
According to Dr. Axe, using a foam roller after working out can help alleviate muscle pains and boost the strengthening and growth process, which can make us feel more fit and energized, rather than sore and lethargic post-workout. Other options include massage rollers, as those are very similar and can offer the same benefits.
11. Strike A Yoga Pose
If your workout didn't involve yoga, make sure to end it still on a yoga note. Stretching after working out is always a smart idea, but doing a few yoga poses can keep you energized, according to experts at WebMD. Set down a mat and start doing some confidence-boosting poses to keep you mentally alert and stress-free!
If you feel like your energy sags after a great workout, or you don't seem to have those lasting benefits for as long as you'd like, it's time to look at these tips and start feeling more energized and fit post-workout. With the right foods, habits and confidence, you'll be able to feel awesome for hours.
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