What you do post workout can enhance or ruin the hard work you’re putting in. Personal trainer Julia Buckley says little tweaks can improve the impact of your session. ‘What you eat and drink, how you warm up and down, what you do with your kit, all these little things can make a difference to results,’ says Julia.
Here she reveals the nine most common mistakes women are making when it comes to their workout – and how to fix them.
You’re not cooling down
Lots of people know warming up is important but cooling down can reduce DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness,’ says Julia. A recent study from California found cooling down decreased soreness after 24 to 48 hours. ‘Take your time and reduce the intensity of your workout gradually to allow your heart rate and breathing to return to their normal rhythm.’
If you’ve skipped your cool down and experience any muscle soreness don’t fret too much though, as cold therapy can help minimise damage and reduce recovery time on strained muscles. It does this by activating signals to the brain that help dilute any discomfort you feel. Deep Freeze Pain Relief Glide-On Gel – a scientifically-proven cold therapy – can help ease muscular pain after exercise and be carried in your kit bag and used on-the-go.
Stretching in a warm up
Confusing stretching with warming up is a common mistake. ‘Static stretching is not recommended before exercise,’ says Julia. Studies have found static stretching increases the range of motion in muscles but it can also de-stabilise them before exercise, especially if muscles are not warm, which could cause injury. Save static stretches for post work out where they can aid reduce soreness and help increase flexibility and swap in dynamic stretches pre-workout. Spending some time doing lighter intensity activity that mimics your upcoming workout is a good way to warm up.’
Not washing kit right away
‘Lots of people give their leave their gym kit festering in their bag all day, especially after a morning workout or even leave it a couple of sessions before washing it,’ says Julia. ‘But it’s essential to wash kit soon after every single session no matter how little you think you’ve sweated. Otherwise bacteria build up can lead to yeast infections, dermatitis and irritated skin.’
Taking pain killers for soreness
Sore muscles mean you reach for an anti-inflammatory oral painkiller, right? Wrong. ‘Sore muscles are the first sign of healing so if you artificially supress the natural inflammatory response in the body you could be neutralizing the benefits of the exercise you’ve done,’ says Julia. Reaching for Deep Freeze Glide-On Gel will give your muscles and joints the icy burst needed to temper down soreness and minimise further damage. Cold therapy helps to reduce blood flow around a joint or tendon which helps to reduce inflammation and swelling that causes pain so try a topical treatment as an alternative to oral painkiller.
Juice is much like a sugary drink, but fibre in whole fruit means it doesn’t mess with your insulin levels and makes you feel much fuller than a juice. A protein shake can be good too for muscle repair, especially when it’s a tasty treat as well as a sports supplement – add soma cacao nibs if you want a healthy chocolatey kick.”
Not recording your workout stats
‘If you want to see real achievement, make sure you record your sessions and try and improve your results,’ says Julia. ‘In the same way that gratitude journals have been found to improve mood, recording your workouts not only shows you how hard you’re working but also lets you see how far you’ve come since you started and helps you set mini goals for your next workout.’
Overusing sports drinks and energy gels
‘Unless you’re doing a long distance run of over an hour or are planning a gym session that’s longer than an hour you don’t need electrolyte replacements or isotonic replacements,’ says Julia. ‘Your regular diet will be enough to recharge you so don’t be tempted to consume tonnes of sugar and calories you don’t need. Energy gels should only be used an hour into exercise and then every 45 minutes afterwards so don’t go gel mad if you’re working out for any less time.’
Post work out wine
‘I see it all the time that women are tempted to treat themselves to a glass after a tough work out,’ says Julia. ‘But when your heart rate is up and you’re in recovery mode, alcohol is absorbed much faster than normal which can inhibit muscle recovery. I’d recommend not drinking at all the same day you work out but if you can’t avoid it then make sure you leave several hours between your session and your prosecco.’
Post session treat
‘With fitness trackers, it’s easy to see how many calories you’ve burned off in a session,’ says Julia. ‘So it can be tempting to reward yourself with that chocolate bar or piece of cake, but post work out your body needs quality fuel not junk. Sweet treats after a gym session can really mess with your insulin levels not to mention the fact they slow the digestion process and inhibit the absorption of any nutrients you might be eating too.’
The expert quoted in this article does not endorse any brands.