Leading a fit lifestyle means being able to keep a consistent gym routine, but fueling your body properly after a sweat session is just as important, if not more important. Maybe you aren’t seeing the results you feel you should have achieved by now, or you’re lacking energy in the hours after your workout. The problem is probably not what work you’re putting in at the gym, but what you’re doing afterwards. Make your workout count.
This may be obvious, but stretching after a workout can only benefit your active lifestyle and future fitness progress. I find that it serves as a cool down after finishing up a workout. It takes me to a relaxing state of mind and allows me to feel less stiff and wobbly after lifting or cardio. When I stretch, I mainly focus on my lower body and hold a stretch for 30 seconds at a time. Stretching also allows your muscles to release tightness and will allow future muscle growth. Without stretching, muscle tears and joint damage can occur. In addition, your growth in the gym won’t progress in a timely rate. Who wants that?
Aspiring to look fit and feel healthy, I decided to give protein powder a try several years ago. Since then, I have continued my protein powder advocacy. It may be easy to believe that protein powder isn’t as nutritious for your body as solid foods, but for an on-the-go college student, protein shakes are quick and fuel your body. I mix one scoop of my Optimum Nutrition chocolate whey protein powder with water and shake it in a Blender Bottle. Whey protein burns fat at a faster rate and replenishes energy.
I drink the whey protein immediately after I get back to my room or while walking out the gym doors. Post workout is the best time to digest a protein shake because your muscles need healing after working them. The protein repairs the muscle fibers and helps build and maintain muscle. I also notice it helps curve cravings for sweets and makes me feel full. One of my favorite attributes of whey protein is that is prevents my stomach from bloating!
I recommend whey protein in chocolate or vanilla. I choose protein powder based off of the grams of protein in one scoop compared to the amount of calories and fat calories being consumed. The protein brand with the most grams of protein with the least amount of calories is what I look for. Start with the basics and find out what you like best. If you happen to be iffy about the flavor of protein powder, I recommend mixing the powder with cold water or low-fat milk.
Other alternatives to protein powder are a glass of chocolate milk or a pre-made protein shake you could pick up at a grocery store or gas station. The chocolate milk has a balanced mix of protein, sugars and carbs, which is the formula for workout recovery. If you’re interested in purchasing whey protein, try your nearest drugstore or grocery store.
To help with muscle soreness and to assist with protein absorption for my muscles, I drink a Branched-Chain Amino Acid. This also comes in a powder form! I also mix the BCAA with water in my Blender Bottle. Not only do they taste great, but they help with fatigue caused from physical activity. BCAA’s are the building blocks of protein, so that means it allows for quicker muscle growth and health.
I started drinking a BCAA a couple years ago because I learned from fitness professionals that it can help take your personal fitness to the next level with proper nutrition and workouts. Currently, I drink PMD Sports BCAA in the lemonade flavor. It’s refreshing and definitely keeps my energy levels balanced, making it easier to stay awake in class. I purchase these at GNC or even online sites, such as bodybuilding.com. I always choose the cheapest option!
If you don’t want to spend the money on supplements like whey protein or a BCAA for post workout nutrition, try eating some sort of protein source to replenish your muscles. Foods such as, turkey, chicken, and a fruit smoothie are alternatives. As a busy college student, I find it easiest to invest in protein powder because it’s quick, simple and cures my hunger for a period of time after a workout.
Start your post workout routine by stretching and rebooting with the proper fuel. This will ultimately make you stronger and create consistent and fulfilling steps toward to your body goals and health.
If you have any questions about protein powder or BCAA’s, don’t hesitate to send me a message or comment below!
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