As a follow up to our Pre-Training post, it’s time to talk about what you should do AFTER your training session. Just like prior to working out or training, there are essential steps you should be taking afterwards to ensure the most efficient recovery and growth through your training. So let’s get started:
1. The First Step is to COOL DOWN
One of the most important things to do post training, is to begin a cool down phase. This is done in order to bring your heart rate and breathing back to a calm, resting state, through dynamic stretching and slower moments.
Sudden stops in physically activity affect your blood pressure and heart rate, causing dizziness and in some, even more serious conditions. Your goal is to bring the effort level of your body from a higher level, back down to it’s resting rate, which is generally around 100 to 120 heart beats per minute.'
2. Stretch, Stretch and STRETCH
After your cool down and your muscles have begun to relax, it’s best to stretch them out in order to avoid cramping, tension or having them seize up.Your muscles at this point, should be well passed a warm up and should be elastic and pliable, perfect for stretching. Try performing a series of stretches that cover your entire body, ranging from a total of 5 to 10 minutes, focusing 15 to 20 seconds per individual stretch.
Post training stretches, can also help to realign the body’s skeletal system, after your joints just experienced the different types of motions. Things such as torquing, twisting, jumping or up and down movements, associated with the martial arts.
3. Re-Fuel and HYDRATE!
It is extremely important to hydrate after training, so that you replenish all of the fluids you just lost. Most active people or athletes, can generally recover with a normal meal and regular water. However, if you are seriously dehydrated, you need to aggressively rehydrate and add some extra sodium to your meal, in order to retain water.
You should try and drink 50 percent more fluid, than what you lost in sweat. Drinking fluids throughout your training session, will help with your hydration recovery.
4. RECOVER With a Protein Shake
Another step after rehydrating, is drinking a post workout protein or recovery drink. Generally, it’s best to drink a protein shake 15 to 30 minutes after you workout, when you are more reactive to absorbing nutrients and your metabolic window is open.
A good protein shake has about four grams of carbs for every gram of protein. There are a variety of different proteins to take, from Whey to Casein, as well as plant based alternatives. Whey and Casein protein are the most popular, with Whey being a fast acting protein, while Casein will be absorbed over a longer period of time.
5. Consume CARBS, POTASSIUM and SODIUM!
During your recovery time, is when proper nutrition is the most essential and your muscle tissues need the proper nutrients to supply the building blocks of your cells, tissues, enzymes, and hormones.
First, eating carbs are essential for your muscles and their major source of energy. Eating carbs after a workout will help properly repair muscle and restore energy stores lost in the body.
Next is potassium; an essential mineral that helps organs function properly and muscles to contract and relax. This is why potassium is so helpful in preventing cramping.
Finally, returning sodium to your body after a training session is a very important step. Without proper amounts of sodium, the body can experience hyponatremia. This can cause the nausea, vomiting, difficulty concentrating, confusion, agitation and headaches.
6. Wash Up and CLEAN OFF!
After a hard day training, your body is now sweaty and you’ve probably been interacting with other people, coming into contact with foreign entities, covered in sweat, dead skins cells and dirt.
Not only do you most likely smell bad but, allowing sweat to linger on your skin can cause bacteria to proliferate. Leading these bacteria to cause rashes and breakouts or microabrasion, which allows microbes to get into your skin and create infections like staph or ring worm.
7. Chill, Take a Breather and RELAX!
One of the easiest tasks on this list is to simply kick back and relax. Whether that’s reading a book, watching TV or playing a video game, just taking the time to let your body relax and get the proper recovery time from anything strenuous will go along way.
8. REFLECT on the Training You Just Completed
Don’t forget to reflect on your training session. Don’t put the things you learned in the back of your mind to be forgotten. What did you do right? What did you do wrong? What could be better or adjusted? What can you do to be better than you were today? Reflect on the lessons of the day to come back stronger the next.
9. PREPARE for the Day to Come
What will you need? Do you need to prepare anything? How much time will you have from work or school until your class? Will you be rushed? How can you save time? What are you goals tomorrow? What do you want to accomplish? Be set and ready to go for the next day!
10. Get Lots of SLEEP!
After a long day, it’s time for the most crucial part of your training and that is sleep. Generally, 8 to 9 hours of good nights sleep, will allow you to wake up refreshed, recovered and ready to conquer another day. Without proper sleep, your body will not recover adequately and will become open to infection. Eventually, lack of sleep will begin to show in your training and you will not perform at your best.
By using these tips and following the steps laid about above, your training should reach new heights and attain new levels in your martial arts journey!