If you just had a great workout, the last thing you want to do is sabotage your results by eating a bunch of junk as soon as you get home from the gym. But here’s the rub: you shouldn’t avoid eating altogether, either.
The fact is, you actually need to eat to stock up on calories after a workout—but they have to be the right calories. Read on to find out what to eat, when to eat it, and why it’s important for your body, whether your goal is weight loss or muscle building. Here are a few rules to follow when creating your post-workout meal plan.
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It’s two days after your workout and you can barely move. It hurts to put your shirt on, it hurts to get up out of a chair, it even hurts to get out of bed. Unfortunately, muscle soreness is a part of life when you’re an avid gym-goer. The big question is: Should you hit the gym when you’re sore from yesterday’s workout, or take a rest day? The answer may depend on how sore you are and what exercise you want to do.
Why Am I So Sore?
Muscle soreness happens when you create small tears in the connective tissue around the muscle. Don’t worry, this is not the same as a muscle tear. Muscle soreness is a part of the healing process. When sore muscles rest, they rebuild and repair into stronger muscles. So make sure you don’t interrupt this process by doing heavy, intense exercise.
How Sore Is Too Sore?
If you’re extremely sore—i.e. so sore you can’t even shampoo your hair—you probably overdid it at the gym. This much soreness is common for people who are working out for the first time in a while. The bad news: this type of usually soreness gets worse on the second day. This level of soreness calls for three to four days of rest. On the third or fourth day (depending on when you feel better), you should stick to light cardio to help loosen you up.
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As a person whose career is built on correcting exercise form, it’s hard for me to go to the gym and not notice a few (or few dozen) people doing common exercises incorrectly. Using incorrect form wastes time and energy, and can drastically increase your chances of injury. I usually notice one of three culprits: you’re not concentrating, you’re using too much weight, or you have no idea how to do the exercise correctly to begin with.
Allow me to take this opportunity to clear a few things up. Here are four moves I see people do wrong all the time, plus tips for how to make sure you’re doing ‘em right.