Getting through a tough CrossFit workout is one of the most rewarding feelings we can experience. Knowing that the time and effort you put in has made you stronger, happier and healthier is great. But it’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking that it’s the right moment to reward yourself by immediately hopping onto the couch, or scoffing down a tasty snack.
This, among a variety of other no-no’s should be avoided at all costs. All they’ll do is revert your hard work and put you back at square one, never mind risking the chance of getting injured. With this in mind, here are six post-workout habits that you’d be better off avoiding.
Not Cooling Down
The first and foremost thing you should do after a workout is to properly cool down and bring your body back to resting level. Whether it’s a simple stretch routine, some light yoga or carefully using a foam roller, this will help you lower your heart rate and recover faster. Be sure to focus on stretching the muscles you targeted in the workout.
Overloading After the Cooldown
While it’s important to have an effective cooldown routine, it shouldn’t be too strenuous. In the same light, give yourself some time to facilitate the proper restoration of your nervous system. It can be difficult to avoid tending to all your other daily obligations, but a few minutes of rest will prevent burnout and make everything feel more manageable afterwards.
Eating Empty Carbs
Empty carbs are processed foods that have high sugar contents, such as snack bars, pastries and candy. They become a lot more enticing after a workout as your muscles consume more glucose during exercise, leaving you with a lower blood sugar level that makes you feel shaky.
So, while refueling with empty carbs will temporarily spike your sugar and make you feel more energized, your blood sugar levels will only drop to an even lower level within a few hours. They also don’t do your body or mind any favors when it comes to replenishing your depleted nutrients.
This is why it’s important to stick to nutritious food that complements your workout, instead of food that has short-term benefits and long-term consequences. The right supplements support your training, so be sure to watch what you eat after your workout.
Consuming Energy Drinks
In the same way empty carbs result in an inevitable sugar crash, energy drinks do the exact same thing. It’s easy to fall for the supposed nutrition and vitamins that Red Bulls, Gatorades and Powerades provide, but they’re also loaded with the worst kind of sugar. Stick to water and you’ll feel much better.
Touching Your Face
All that sweaty gym equipment is the perfect breeding ground for nasty germs, so touching your face is the last thing you want to do. If you’re not able to shower afterwards, be sure to thoroughly wash your hands or bring some cleansing wipes along to keep your hands and face free from unwanted bacteria.
Not Tracking Your Progress
Tracking your progress with a fitness band, workout app or even a simple pen and paper is key to understanding your performance and how you can improve.
It’s also a great way to keep yourself motivated, as you can reflect on the days when you pushed hard and those you didn’t. Answer questions such as where you went wrong and what you want to achieve the next day.
Finally, be sure to get some quality sleep when the sun goes down. Both your body and mind need this crucial time to recharge and prepare for the day ahead. Avoiding the above habits will go a long way in helping you get the most out of every workout.