There’s so many fads that present themselves as real bodybuilding science. All these myths and propaganda is erected to fuel the sales of commodities and “fitness” regimes. It seems everyone is running to tell you, out of the goodness of their hearts, about things you can do to reap the most rewards out of your workout at the gym, or to be more efficient at yoga, or more athletic at Zumba. But here’s the deal, you don’t need all of that pseudoscientific nonsense to actually gain weight. And yet, these make-believe theories are all one encounters when you log into basically any fitness site. So we’re going to do something opposite to that, we’ll tell you about what you shouldn’t do after your workout session.
Without further ado, here are the worst things you can do after your workout.
1. Eat Junk Food
No, your 2 hours at the gym doesn’t earn you two scoops of ice cream! Just because you’re working out doesn’t mean you can pump yourself full of fat and calories every time you have a craving. A big part of the fitness lifestyle is mental discipline. Fight that craving, even if you don’t win every time.
Eating junk food enables a negative mentality towards fitness that slows down your progress to your desired state of health or appearance.
Burning through that extra bunch of calories needs more exercise, and that isn’t the best thing for your fitness always.
Your body needs nutrients post workout. Junk food has too many calories for far too little protein and vitamins. It’s always better to fill yourself up with something sumptuous that has a proper ratio of nutrients.
Also, Junk food isn’t all that harmless, even if you’re very hungry. Junk food often bloats you up, and leaves you with less appetite when there’s healthier options available.
2. Drink Alcohol
Alcohol is pretty much another junk food, but it is marketed as some sort of miracle water that cures all ailments like some sort of ambrosia. Some forms of alcohol can have some medical benefits, but you’re better off without those calories as far as a holistic perspective is concerned.
Alcohol can lower your testosterone levels. This is bad, because testosterone is crucial for gaining muscle mass.
Alcohol doesn’t give you a good feeling post workout. Our bodies are designed to enjoy a good exercise, though that mechanism can take some time to be cognized for beginners. Regardless, if you have even a modicum of experience in the gymnasium, you don’t need alcohol.
It’s ok to drink a few beers once in a while. But an excess of alcohol, pegged at 7 beers for a 150 pound person, can work against even the anabolic effect on protein consumption.
3. Take a Cold Shower/Ice Bath
Popularly known as the Wim Hof method, people think they can shed the pounds quicker by plunging themselves into cold water after a workout. That is by far the most uncomfortable thing you can do to yourself. Plus, it doesnt work! The technique has never been proven to work, despite the wild reviews it receives online and the word of popularity it seems to enjoy only in the USA. In fact, plunging yourself into cold water can trigger an unhealthy release of the stress hormone cortisol. That sort of biotic stress is just undesirable. You can just cool down like a normal person, take a shower with normal or warm water to remove the dirt and grime and go about with the rest of your day! Like a normal person!
4. Rush to eat a meal
OK I know this sounds crazy, but the Anabolic window isn’t that big of a deal! Research form divorced sources suggests a beginner’s body absorbs protein post the same session of workout for as long as 72 hours! For experienced gym rats too, the time period runs into several hours! So if you’re a beginner, your primary concern is better kept on meeting your daily protein intake.
5. Skip Stretching and cooldowns
Somehow people believe they can walk into the showers after an intense session of cardio and go home smiling. It just doesn’t work that way! Stretching and cooling down are vital and unsubstitutable. Stretching ensures your body develops in the proper, desirable shape and contour, and that it doesn’t end up with a posture deformity over time. Of the other hand, cooling down makes sure your heart slows down gradually and not arhythmically. It brings your lungs to a normal breathing rate, brings the temperature down, and also allows your body to begin the post-workout healing process.
6. Plop into bed
It’s understandable that you’re tired after workout. For a lot of us, that is how we define our ideal workout. But it is not a good idea to rush home and jump into bed for a nap. When you get home, you’re better off eating, doing a few chores, keeping yourself active. Napping is pretty great for bodybuilding, but it mustn’t come immediately after burning so many calories, when your body’s engines are running at an efficient rate. Keep yourself active. Your heart pumping blood at a normal rate will help your body run those engines, and promote healing and maintenance.
7. Not getting enough sleep
Conversely, if you’re skipping hours of sleep to be able to incorporate gym and other stuff, that isn’t going to help your case either. Sleep is essential because it helps heal and rejuvenate your body after an intense workout. Muscle repair, shifting on information from short term to long term memory and flushing out of toxins from the brain happens during sleep. Also, when you’re working out, your sleep requirement can go up to 9 hours, and it isn’t wise to cut it short to stick to the old routine. Take a nap during daytime, if you cannot afford to sleep in.
8. Sports Drinks. Enough said!
There is no bigger marketing gimmick than sports drinks. No matter what brand of fancy flavored glucose syrup you’re drinking, it is doing nothing to help you workout, except maybe give you an ephemeral sugar high. You’re much, much better drinking plain simple water, eating your protein and consuming a healthy amount of calories through your meals. It is important to stay hydrated, but anything that is not plain water, your body processes as food, and kicks in with mechanisms to extract calories. So be it some fancy brew of tea, an energy drink or just some glucose mixed in water, if water is what you’re drinking it for, then just carry a bottle of water with you!
I hope this helps you out. There is far too much pseudoscience parading as genuine workout science in the fitness industry. Is there another myth you know? Tell us in the comments below.