Recovering After Strength Training
What you do after strength training is almost as important as what you do during your training. If you don't take care of yourself you'll be hindering your own progress.
These are simple guidelines for what to do after your strength training. They aren't rocket science, but if you don't do them you'll just be getting in your own way.
So, take a look below to get that extra edge on your training...
Eating after strength training is extremely important. This can make or break your gains!
There is a 45 minute window of time after you've done strenuous exercise when your body desperately needs protein to build itself up. If you can eat something with lots of protein (eggs, meat of some kind, a protein shake, tofu, beans, fish, etc.) you can gain muscle very fast.
But if you neglect this, your gains will be slower. This is a simple and relatively easy step to take, and it will really benefit your strength training in the long run.
Don't Do Other Training
If you've tired yourself out after strength training, if you're just beat, do not do more training! Don't!
When you're tired (and soon to be sore) from exercise, your body is trying to tell you something. In this case it's, "I'm tired! Let me rest and rebuild myself."
Which is great advice. If you genuinely worked out, all you need to do is rest.
After all, working out just makes you weaker by tearing down your muscles. Resting is the time when you actually get stronger, and your body is built up.
Drink Lots of Water
Water is best. And drinking water will revitalize you and keep you going.
Some people I know don't drink enough water because they're trying to lose weight. Let me be clear: Drop fat, not water.
A wrestler trying to weight-in at a lower weight class will do tons of running on the treadmill to drop weight right before a meet. Others will do that to get more 'ripped' looking. But dropping water to lose weight or look better will only work in the short term.
Long term, water is good for you. If you want to lose weight and gain muscle, do the hard work at the gym and then drink as much water as you need. You need water to repair your body, to be healthy - basically, to live.
So, drink water.
Sleep is great. Resting is good, but sleep will help your body rebuild like nothing else.
If you're doing heavy, intense strength training then getting a good 8 hours of sleep is a must. Otherwise you'll just be digging yourself into a big hole of exhaustion and over-training.
If you only train intermittently, or are young, you can keep training on very little sleep, but don't push yourself to those extremes if you don't have to. The idea is create a stronger body, not wear it down.
Maybe Take a Supplement
I hesitate to say this, but taking a supplement right after strength training is beneficial. It's the right time, just when the body is yearning for nutrients to make itself stronger.
I am hesitant to say this because most people don't need supplements. And certainly not more than one; I don't want you to have your own pharmacy for after the gym.
But a protean supplement can help you. Creatine as well, since it is one of the few supplements proven to help build muscle.
However, the real road to strength is sweat and hard work regardless of what herbs or pills you take after the training. Better to work hard and not take a supplement, than go easy and try to make up for it with magic beans.
How should you work hard? What lifts or workout routine should you use? Well...
I'm Aaron McCloud and I run Complete Strength Training, a site devoted to providing high quality information about strength training. Go there to get more info about building strength, or you can sign up for my e-zine Starting Strong to save time by getting monthly updates with top-notch strength training information. I've been lifting heavy things and practicing Japanese martial arts for quite a while, so there's a lot of info about how to get stronger, more powerful, and more ripped. -
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