WRITTEN BY THY PHAM AND DR. SWATHI
Your body is constantly pushed through physical and mental limits during a workout. Are you taking the proper steps to making sure your body is cared for after exercising? An effective workout routine doesn’t end after exercising.
What you do to fuel and care for your body outside of the gym is just as important as what you do inside. Besides stretching after a workout and ensuring proper hydration, we’ve gathered 3 tips to help your body benefit the most from a post-workout routine.
Make a protein a priority
Muscle growth is dependent on the body’s ability to synthesize protein. In order to reach maximum muscle growth, it is recommended to have a greater intake of protein compared to the rate of muscle breakdown. The recommended daily consumption of protein for the maximum protein synthesis is 1.3-1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (in 3-4 divided servings).
Beyond intake, timing is also an important factor to enhance muscle growth. Research shows that the optimal time for protein intake is up to 2 hours after a workout. Adding protein powder to a smoothie could be an option for those who want a quick protein rich snack, or who have trouble reaching their desired protein intake. There are various types of protein powders out there, so you can decide what fits best with your specific dietary preferences; examples include but are not limited to whey, casein, pea, hemp, brown rice, chia seed, pumpkin seed, and soy. It is important to mention that protein powders are a supplement to help you reach your daily protein goal and should not be used as meal replacements or as your main source of protein intake.
Clean and rehydrate
Workouts are accompanied by sweat and, oftentimes, even dirt. Both sweat and dirt can lead to acne and uneven skin tones if your body is not cleaned properly. On top of rehydrating with a full bottle (or two) of water, prioritizing a shower after working out can help cleanse and rehydrate your skin, as well as relax overworked muscles. Regardless if you prefer to shower in hot or cold water, studies have shown that either temperature setting is effective in reducing muscle damage after exercising.
Recognize if it’s muscle soreness or injury
If you experience pain after exercising or suffer from an injury, it is best to rest until you feel better. While pain can sometimes be common in athletes, it should not be dismissed. Whether the pain is from muscle soreness or from exercise induced tissue damage, it should always be tended to. Although the two are different, muscle soreness and tissue damage are often both associated with inflammation. For sore muscles, massaging your body or foam rolling may help alleviate pain. CBD has also been shown to help reduce the inflammation of joints without euphoric effects or feelings of being “high”. Topical administration of CBD may help decrease symptoms associated with generalized pain and swelling of the joints.
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This article was edited by Dr. Swathi and was written by Element Apothec Scientific Communications Intern, Thy Pham. She is a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) student at West Coast University School of Pharmacy in Los Angeles, California.