This post is sponsored by Premier Protein. However, all opinions are 100% mine. Thank you for supporting brands that make College with Caitlyn possible.
I love to workout. This shouldn’t be a real shocker to you if you follow me on any social media. But while I’m always sharing my actual workouts, I never let you in on what I’m doing before and after I hit the gym. You may be thinking, Caitlyn, why do I care what you do before and after the gym? Well, because what you do in these time periods can help maximize the outcome of your sweat sesh! Hooked yet?
Today I’m sharing the four things I always do after a workout. Maybe in the future I’ll clue you into what I do before, too!
For some, getting themselves to go to the gym and completing a workout it hard enough. So it can be tempting to finish off that last lap around the track, grab your stuff, and just head home. But you must resist this urge!
Related: How to Get Motivated to Hit the Gym
Properly cooling down is just as important as doing a proper warm-up. I’m going to be honest and say that sometimes I skip this step. But I usually count my walk back to my dorm as my cooldown, since it’s almost a mile away.
A good way to cool down is to just walk about 5 minutes or a half mile on the treadmill before you leave the gym. You can even get on your phone during this time and browse through Twitter or read your favorite blogs. It doesn’t have to be Olympic speed walking!
Yet another highly looked over part of every workout. Stretching after your workout is extremely helpful and necessary. Especially if your workout that day involved any cardio, or leg and back exercises.
It can be a simple less than five minute stretch or a full on yoga session. Whatever you want to do. Just set aside time after your workout to stretch out your muscles.
Or if you prefer, you could give foam rolling a try. I’ve only ever used a foam roller for my lower body, but I do know you can use it for you back. Most gyms have one, but if you not you can easily buy one at a sporting store or even Target. Foam rolling is basically like giving your muscles a deep tissue massage, so it can hurt, but it all helps in the end.
Last thing: don’t tell yourself you’ll just stretch when you get back to your dorm. Because you won’t. Speaking from experience here.
Really obvious one here, but I feel I have to touch on it anyway. After you sweat, you need to wipe down or wash off as soon as you can. Leaving sweat on your face can cause clogged pores, especially if you workout with makeup on. Walking around in sweaty clothes can cause chafing, and leaving on sweaty underwear puts you at higher risk for a yeast infection.
If you’re hitting the gym between classes it’s a good idea to hop in your gym’s shower real quick and at least change your undergarments. Don’t have time for a shower? Check out Abigail’s guide to nailing the quick freshening up routine.
Get some protein and carbs
You need to eat something after you workout. It doesn’t have to be right away, but within an hour would be a good time frame to aim for.
A lot of people swear by drinking chocolate milk after workouts because of the protein to carb ratio, but 1) I don’t drink cow’s milk and 2) I never liked chocolate milk anyway. Instead, I like to opt for a nice cool drink. Sometimes I pick up a smoothie and have protein powder added to it, but lately I’ve been downing these Premier Protein Clear drinks after hitting the gym.
I was so excited to try these because I’m not the biggest fan of real protein shakes. (Throwback to four years ago when I used to drink them after my weight lifting PE class because I wanted to be like one of the guys). These remind me of sports drinks, but way less fruity and sugary. Which is a total plus for me because I don’t like really sugary drinks or fruity things that aren’t fruit. My favorite one is the Raspberry flavor!
The only downside to these is that they leave a hint of a chalky taste on your tongue. Of course, most protein drinks do so this was to be expected. I’m just glad it’s not overwhelming or I wouldn’t have been able to finish half of a bottle. But, to be honest, I like them so much I usually chug them down in a couple minutes. Oops.
Premier Protein was also kind enough to send me some samples of their original protein shakes to try out. I was very scared to try these because as I said before, I really don’t like protein shakes. Mostly because of their chalky and milk-like texture. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the vanilla one and actually liked it. It had the same thickness as milk but didn’t taste like it, which I really appreciate. (If I ever drink real milk I immediately want to gag and vomit).
I also discovered the best use for these shakes. Pop some frozen fruit and one of these shakes in a blender and you have the healthiest milkshake on the planet. You have to try it. There was absolutely no chalky aftertaste at all in the milkshake either, which was the biggest bonus.
What I love the most about both of these products is that they aren’t high in calories. While it is important to consume a decent amount of calories after an intense workout, I don’t want to use them all up on a drink. I prefer to eat my calories.
When I’m wanting to actually eat something I tend to opt for veggie burgers or a vegetable. Some of my favorite protein filled vegetables are peas, edamame, and lima beans. I usually buy them frozen so I can heat them up real quick in boiling water and have my post-workout snack as soon as possible.
There you have it, my post-workout routine! I’m still struggling to convince myself to stretch after every workout but I’m working on it! I really love foam rolling, and I have one in my dorm, so that’s really helping with that step.
What do reach for after a workout?