There are many stereotypes and faulty impressions we have to fight when teaching exercise, or helping people plan their workout regimen. For instance, many people may think that losing weight in certain areas of the body is possible. Certain guides that teach you ‘how to lose belly fat in 30 days!’ rarely elect to tell you that losing weight cannot be targeted.
Additionally, it’s not uncommon for men to think that working out multiple times a day with weights will lead to getting the biggest and best muscles possible – not understanding that even as a beginner they could be overtraining. Furthermore, women may find themselves worrying about lifting weights, especially free weights, as they may not wish to look too ‘bulky,’ or overly muscular – luckily, no one falls into this accidentally and without real directed and long term intent.
However, perhaps the most harmful false impressions are that of ignoring essential exercise aftercare. Without the following habits, workouts will often be for nothing:
Exercise isn’t a restorative habit regarding what’s going on physically. When you lift a weight, you strain your muscle fibers and often break them down. You do not ‘build muscle’ under the barbell, rather you provide the stimulus for your body to encourage a natural adaption to this new physical need. Often, that takes place when you sleep, and rest. Getting good sleep (at least eight hours and sometimes over if training hard) as well as resting as appropriate (in the form of deload weeks every few months) is essential. This way, your body can heal. If you’re finding your progress is stuttering, consider your sleep cycle and how well that’s been curated. Go to sleep at the same time every night and work on your sleep hygiene. You’ll be in a much better position.
It’s essential to eat well. They say abs aren’t made in the gym but in the kitchen, and there’s some real truth to that. Eating well and keeping your macros aligned is important. Healthy fats, proteins (a gram per pound of your bodyweight is good if compound lifting, less is needed for cardio) can help you stimulate muscle growth and repair. Supplements like BCAA’s (Branched Chain Amino Acids, the building blocks of protein synthesis) and plenty of fibrous and leafy green vegetables is essential. Minerals and vitamins can also be supplemented. Here, you’re giving your body what it needs to grow, feel better, and become healthier. A KB Wellness integrated nutritionist can work wonders here.
It might seem as though stretching is just something you take part in when you’re old, but your joints need attention now, and your muscles need to be warmed up properly and warmed ‘down’ effectively. At the start of an exercise, dynamic stretches are key. They help warm up your body and muscles and will help you prevent injury. After a workout, isometric or static stretches (the static stretches you may be most familiar with like held lunges) are the most effective at relaxing the muscle. This keeps you flexible, and able to work out another day.
With this advice, we’re sure you’ll commit to the best aftercare you can – as even the best workout regimen is nothing without it.
This is a contributed post. If you’d like to publish an article, please contact me.