The Ideal Post-Gym Evening Routine for Optimal Recovery -
Written by Daisy Moss

Making sure that we prioritize our recovery after the gym is so vital, to prevent injury and to help us recover quickly and train harder in our next session. If you’ve not put much thought into your post-gym routine, we’re here to help, with a few simple things you can do to give your body the rest and recovery it needs to perform at its best. We know it’s tempting to get home, flop on the sofa and not move for the rest of the night, but with a few small alterations to your routine, you may notice significant differences to how you feel.

Stay Hydrated

First up, as soon as you’ve finished your workout, it’s important that you make fluid replacement a priority. It helps you to regulate your body temperature, it’s crucial in muscle recovery, it helps maintain healthy blood pressure and overall, it helps our bodily functions to work properly. It also ensures that our blood can effectively carry glucose, oxygen and nutrients around the body, as well as lubricating our joints. We could go on and on here, as the benefits of hydration are endless, so making sure this is a priority after you’ve been to the gym is key for optimal recovery.

Have A Good Stretch

Whether it’s when you’re still in the gym or when you get home, spend time having a good stretch. Focus predominantly on the muscle groups that you have worked most (e.g. a longer leg stretch, if you’ve done a run, or a long back stretch on pull day), as well as a few full-body stretches. We know this is probably the last thing you want to do, but it’s really key to help the body cool down, release any lactic acid build up and support blood circulation to the muscles, all of which helps with recovery. We like to make a bit of an occasion of it, throwing on a loungewear set or tracksuit, putting on some calm music and just helping you adjust from a big gym session into a more relaxed state of mind for the evening.

When you’re regularly stretching, it also helps to improve your flexibility and range of movement in general, enabling you to achieve more depth in a range of movements, therefore improving your performance and ability to build muscle effectively. Even if it’s just a 5-minute stretch after your workout, then one slightly longer stretch once a week, it can transform your body’s ability to train and recover.

High Protein, Nutritious Meal

We all know how important protein is after a workout, to fuel our muscles with the amino acids they need to repair and rebuild, so focusing on a high protein, nutritious meal is key. Start out with a protein source, aiming for at least 30g worth of protein depending on your goals. Then, add your carbs, whether it’s sweet potato if you’re cutting or a big portion of rice for those bulking.

Don’t forget your nutrient dense foods, so finish your plate with a good stack of veggies, perhaps a few nuts and seeds as well for healthy fats. You’ve worked hard, and you deserve for your food to taste good, so forget your plain chicken and rice. Don’t be afraid to add seasonings and make your food taste great as dry seasonings don’t change your macros. Be a bit more thoughtful when you’re throwing lots of different sauces on your food if you are trying to hit your macros, but a post-gym meal should be good for your body and soul, so add a bit of flavour!

Prioritize Your Sleep

Now that you’ve eaten a good meal, you’re hydrated and you’ve had a good rest, it’s time to start prioritising your sleep. Our bodies do the majority of recovery whilst we’re asleep, so it should be at the top of our list when it comes to a post-gym evening routine. When we sleep, the pituitary gland releases growth hormones, which is what helps our body to repair and build muscle. This is essential to keep us healthy, to prevent injury and to help us reap the rewards of our gym sessions!

So, start by putting your phone away an hour before bed. The blue light from our phones can impact the quality of our sleep, as it can disrupt the production of melatonin which our bodies need to sleep. Instead, to set yourself up for a good night's sleep, choose a relaxing activity for the hour before you go to bed, whether it’s a nice long bath, reading your book, doing skincare, listening to a podcast or anything else you find relaxing.

Then, you need to prioritize getting enough sleep. The optimal amount of sleep for adults is 6-8 hours, so if you’re not currently getting this, you need to adjust your routine to help you fit them in, whether it’s going to bed slightly earlier or getting up a bit later if that’s an option. Getting enough sleep should be a non-negotiable part of your post-gym evening routine.

Final Thoughts

If you’re giving your all in the gym, it’s only right you give your body the same care and attention afterwards, to help you make the most of the effort you’ve put in. By staying hydrated, having a good stretch, fueling your body with the right foods and prioritizing your sleep, you’ll be well on the way to meeting your fitness goals and feeling much more energized generally.

ExerciseExercise advicePost workoutTrainingWhat to do after your workout

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