Devoting some time for your workout session is a good habit.
It not only helps you burn more calories and aids weight loss, there’s a long list of other health benefits, too. Some of the top benefits include building a healthier heart, reducing the risk of diabetes, increasing your metabolism, building muscles, boosting happiness levels, improving sleep quality, making you more energetic, increasing your strength and flexibility, and boosting memory power.
While it is true that working up a sweat can help you remain physically and mentally fit, to reap the benefits you need to make some smart and healthy decisions after your workout is over.
In particular, your decision regarding what to drink after a workout can have a huge impact on the results of your hard work.
You do lose a lot of water while working out due to sweating. To make up for the loss, hydrating your body is important. Drinking a glass or two of water right after your workout is healthy.
But many times, instead of water, we reach for other beverages that are not healthy at all.
Here are some of the things you should never drink after a workout.
1. Sports Drinks
Sports drinks are marketed as the perfect post-workout drink, and it’s common to see people drinking these beverages at the end of a workout.
But sports drinks are unhealthy. They are loaded with sugar and calories and contain little to no nutrition. There might be some added vitamins and electrolytes in some brands, but the high sugar content is the biggest reason to avoid these drinks completely.
The sugar in sports drinks goes right through your system and causes an energy crash later on. Moreover, such drinks are loaded with artificial flavors that have a negative impact on the body.
If you exercise in the evening and then head to the bar for a glass of wine, you are making a big mistake.
Alcohol is dehydrating in nature and after sweating in the gym, you need to hydrate your body rather than going for a dehydrating drink. Also, the diuretic effect of alcohol in the body can cause a nasty hangover.
Alcoholic drinks also contain empty calories and do not provide any nutrients. Drinking these empty calories will only postpone the fat-burning process and contribute to increased fat storage.
Moreover, alcoholic drinks have an inflammatory effect on the body, and can negatively impact balance and your decision-making ability.
3. Carbonated Beverages
Fizzy drinks like soda are a big “NO” after your workout session.
Drinking soda only means you are giving your body nothing but a concentrated amount of simple sugars. The sugary beverage will work as a quick-acting energy boost, but soon it’s going to cause you to crash. Moreover, it has no nutritional benefits.
If you think switching to diet soda from regular soda is okay, you need to think again. The artificial sweeteners in diet sodas can wreak havoc on your exercise benefits.
4. Packaged Fruit Juice
Opening a fruit juice bottle might make you feel like you’re making a healthy choice. But packaged fruit juice is just not the best choice to drink after your workout.
Most packaged drinks are loaded with high-fructose corn syrup, which can lead to obesity and increase your risk of metabolic syndrome diseases.
Moreover, packaged fruit juices do not contain the vitamins and nutritious fiber that you find in real fruit. The nutritional value of fruits gets lost in the juicing process, and you end up consuming pure sugar in the form of fructose.
After a workout, many of us look forward to drinking a cup of coffee. But as your heart is pumping already from your workout, it’s not good to drink coffee or anything that has caffeine in it.
Drinking coffee after exercising can lead to side effects like the jitters, heart palpitations, and even sleep disorders.
Moreover, coffee has a dehydrating effect on the body.
6. Best Post-Workout Hydrating Drinks
Water is the best option for proper post-workout hydration, which is important for proper recovery and maintaining endurance. When it comes to water, it should be room temperature, not cold! Cold water can have a negative impact on your warm intestines and can interfere with enzymes, causing digestive issues.
But plain water can be boring. So, you can try some healthy options like:
- Flavored water, which you can easily make at home. All you need to do is cut water-rich fruits and vegetables and put them in a jug. Fill it with drinking water and set it aside for several hours. You can carry this water along with you to enjoy the flavorful water.
- A glass of homemade chocolate milk has double the carbohydrates compared to plain milk, which makes it a great choice for your post-workout recovery.
- Natural coconut water contains high levels of electrolytes, such as potassium and magnesium. This is great for rehydrating your body and replenishing electrolytes after a workout.
- Any kind of tart juice like cherry juice also makes a great drink to have after your workout session. Being rich in antioxidants, such types of juice aid in reducing inflammation and benefits muscle recovery and functioning.
- If you are a tea lover, enjoy a cup of green or black tea. The compounds in green and black tea can be effective in the fat oxidation process during aerobic exercise and the post-workout recovery.
Some other things that you should remember to follow after a workout:
- Once you finished your workout, lie down for some time to help your body cool down and make your blood pressure return to normal.
- It is also important to stretch for a few minutes after a workout, to prevent your muscles from contracting and help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness.
- After a long workout, you must eat a healthy snack. A protein-based snack is ideal, as it will provide your body the energy to repair and refuel itself.
- Do not rub your eyes or touch your face after a workout with your dirty hands, as it can spread bacteria.
- Always take a shower after completing your workout session.
- Keep track of your workouts to monitor your progress. This will keep you motivated.
- While your workout clothes are comfortable, it is best to change them immediately. Wearing sweaty clothes for a long time can lead to yeast infections or body acne.
- It is very important to get a good night’s rest after an intense workout to help your body heal and repair.
- Just because you worked out doesn’t mean you can just sit around the rest of the day. You must remain active throughout the day.