Congrats – you just finished an awesome heart pounding workout and you feel great! And you should feel good about yourself for prioritizing exercise, fitness is important for so many reasons. But, working out isn’t the only thing that matters; what you do afterwards is critical to building muscles and improving your health. I see many people make the following post-exercise mistakes.

3 Post-Exercise Mistakes That so Many People Make

1. You eat too much after exercising.

Yes, it’s important to eat something not long after a workout to refuel yourself. But, you don’t need calorie and sugar filled, processed junk foods. It’s way too easy to eat more calories than you just burned off during your workout session. Many of us burn about 500-600 calories during an intense one-hour workout. In comparison, a McDonald’s Big Mac and fries equates to almost 1000 calories – double what you just burned in the gym! So stay away from fast food after working out, and eat whole foods instead. It’s preferable to consume protein dense foods to replenish your energy stores that have been depleted. Protein helps build muscles and it aids with your recovery after exercising. Some great post-exercise foods ideas include: tuna salad, hard boiled eggs, chicken lettuce wraps or veggies and hummus.

2. You forget to re-hydrate yourself.

This mistake goes hand in hand with mistake #1. A lot of the time when we feel hungry, we are actually dehydrated. Most of us walk around each day chronically dehydrated. Our bodies are made up of more than 50% water, so it makes sense that it’s essential to always drink enough water.

Stay hydrated before, during and especially after your workout. To avoid dehydration, I always try to drink 500mL of water 30 minutes before I exercise. During my workout I drink at least another 750mL (the size of a standard water bottle). And within an hour after exercising I consume at least another 500mL. It may seem like a lot, but it’s crucial to your health. Start off by drinking one glass of water before, during and after a workout and build up from there.

Stay hydrated before, during and after a workout.

3. You laze around the rest of the day after your workout.

So many people have a great exercise session in the morning and then they barely walk 1000 steps for the rest of the day. I instruct all of my personal training clients to make frequent movement a part of their lifestyle even if they’ve worked out that day. It’s so important to get at least 10K steps into most of your days.

Here are a few tips that have worked for my clients to get more movement into their whole day:

  • Take the stairs whenever you can.
  • Park in the furthest parking spot wherever you go.
  • While working, get up from your desk every hour to grab a glass of water or to stretch.
  • Walk over to a co-worker’s desk to ask a question instead of emailing or messaging them.
  • Ask a friend to go for a walk around the neighborhood with you while catching-up, versus just sitting on the couch while talking.

This extra NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is really important to increasing you energy and stamina, and dropping inches around your frame!

To Sum it up…Top 3 Post-Exercise Mistakes

It is fantastic that you’re fitting exercise into your regular weekly schedule. You are already a head of many Canadians when it comes to your health, because of your fitness routine. Just ensure that you aren’t guilty of the most common post-exercise mistakes that I see by watching what you eat, and staying hydrated after your workout. Also, make sure that you stay active through the whole day, and not just the one hour that you are exercising. If you’re having problems with any of these post-exercise mistakes, please reach out, I’d love to help you.