Being a Fitness Coach I can safely say one of the most overlooked aspects of exercise is stretching after a strenuous workout. Stretching tired and sore muscles after a workout is essential as it enhances flexibility and reduces muscle tension after a workout.
Stretching should be a part of any well-balanced workout routine or programs, given the same importance as strength and cardiovascular training.
Stretching after working out should not only highly recommended practice but must be practise without failing. The benefits of stretching before a workout are often discussed, emphasizing its role in injury prevention. When you stretch after a workout, you benefit from both physiological and psychological effects.
Your muscles should be warm before you begin your stretching. Do a warmup before a workout that simulates the movements, you’ll be doing to warm up and prepare your body. Stretch after the workout when your muscles are already warm.
Improved Blood circulation
When you indulge in an intense workout, the body pumps blood faster to the heart making it beat at a rapid rate. Stretching allows the body to cool down and helps the heartbeat to return to normalcy. The release of lactic acid during an intense workout is broken with stretching.
This allows muscle recovery and repair. The blood circulation to the muscles is once again resumed with stretching. This also allows the heart rate to come back to its original resting rate.
Eliminates Lactic Acid
The moment you work out muscles, the body produces lactic acid which makes the muscles fatigued and sore. Hence, it is important to stretch as stretching eliminates the lactic acid that has accumulated inside the body and relaxes the muscles.
One of the foremost benefits of stretching is increased and enhanced flexibility of the different muscle groups. It helps constricted and contracted muscles release back to their more comfortable state and your body will eventually become more flexible, which can help prevent injuries
With consistent post -workout stretching, the body becomes more flexible. You will find it easier to bend, stand, squat and do a host of other flexibility related exercises, which would have otherwise not been possible. It has been seen that leg stretches done after a long run increases muscular power and endurance especially for runners.
Stretching properly after a workout will not dissipate the pain but will minimize it to a large extent. On the other hand, if your muscles remain tight after a workout, it increases your risk of muscle injury. Stretching can minimize and reduce your predisposition to injuries.
Improved Range of Motion
Muscles that have not been stretched tend to remain constricted which prevents you from using them to their full capacity.
If you use your muscles and stretch them after a workout, you will be able to utilize the same muscles towards a greater range of motion. This will get your better results because you will have used your muscles to their maximum capacity.
Increased Muscular Coordination
Enhanced muscle coordination is a common benefit of stretching, especially for people participating in strength training. When you stretch tired muscles, you give them better functional mobility and allow them to synchronize properly.
Gradually slows down the body
When you go through an intense bout of exercise, your body can feel drained and fatigued, but stretching and breathing techniques will help you feel rested and relaxed. By gradually slowing down the body, as opposed to just stopping cold, you maximize the benefits of your workout.
Mental clarity and mind-body connection
Stretching isn’t just for the muscles. It also helps harmonize your mind, relax your mood, and relieve stress. Stretching also gives you a chance to tune into your body, taking notice of any sore muscles or joints that need extra attention or a break.
The best exercise I do in any of my training programs only takes a minute.
Granted, it is often the longest and most gruelling 60 seconds of my life. I sweat, I shake, and I often collapse in relief when it’s over. But spending quality time in a plank pose always pays off.
The plank pose is where you hold a push-up position while resting on your forearms. This simple move is the ideal exercise for strengthening crucial core muscles. As you go about your day, almost every move you make revolves around your core — from picking up items on the floor to twisting to see if the coast is clear when driving.
Why is it important to have a strong core?
Your core is made up of several muscle groups and covers your abdominals, back, hips, pelvis, and buttocks. A weak core can cause all kinds of problems. It can lead to poor posture, and inevitably to neck and shoulder pain. Sore knees and hips often can be traced to a weak core.
But the biggest issue with core weakness is pain lower Back muscles and your core help to stabilize your body before any movement. If your core is weak, the other surrounding muscles must compensate. Over time, these muscles can suffer strain, which leads to lingering pain.
More Planks and Less sit-up
The standard sit-up is often the go-to core strengthened, but it has limits. “It only targets a portion of the core musculature, and the bending-forward motion can strain the neck and lower back,”
By comparison, the plank pose activates all the core muscles at once and doesn’t require extra movements that can cause stress or injury. “And because it has many modifications, it can be done by almost anyone, regardless of current fitness level,”
How long should you hold a plank?
The world record for holding a plank is more than four hours, but thankfully, you don’t need to devote that much time. Most experts suggest anywhere from 10 up to 30 seconds is plenty. “Focus on doing multiple sets of smaller amounts of time
As you progress, you can extend your plank for up to one or even two minutes, but don’t go beyond that. “Two minutes is often considered the maximum, and you don’t get much more benefit after that.
How often should you do planks?
You can perform a plank every day, on alternate days, or simply as part of your regular workouts. (I personal add plank in my routines every training days with different progressions and regressions.)
you are looking to trim your waistline, get rid of extra body fat or get totally ripped, combining both strength training and cardio into your workout regimen is key.
For cardio junkies, like myself I found out that if you are incorporating a strength-training routine can help you improve your form, endurance, and daily calorie burn. Adding muscle has the benefit of increasing the efficiency of movement, allowing you to go farther and move with more power. The added muscle also has the benefit of increasing your metabolism. Thus, by adding strength training, you can break through weight-loss plateaus and/or your personal record time.
Conversely, if you are one those who always in the weight room, you will find that incorporating cardio is a more effective way of burning off body fat than weight training alone. Certain brands of cardio, such as HIIT and TABATA will also help you build muscle – not deteriorate it.
Combining cardio and strength training can also complement each other, even when done on the same day. That is, studies show that strength training does not negate the gains of endurance training when done on the same day. Likewise, cardio will not negate the growth of muscles when done on the same day.
To effectively combine strength training and cardio.
Two Best Method Of How To Combine Cardio and Strength Training
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT is by far the most efficient way to burn fat, burn calories, and improve aerobic capacity. For instance, a 10-minute HIIT routine can burn as many calories as 30 minutes on the treadmill. Another study by the American College of Sports Medicine found that engaging in just two weeks of HIIT is equivalent to six to eight weeks of endurance training.
You might be wondering what exactly is it? HIIT combines super high-intensity cardio with recovery intervals (like strength training exercises) at a 1:4 ratio. High-intensity intervals are at 80% of your maximum capacity, while recovery intervals are around 40% of your maximum capacity.
An example of an interval cycle can include one minute of mountain climbers, followed by one minute each of squats, Deadlifts, Press Ups , and Planks. Repeat this cycle four to six times or follow up with different 1:4 combinations.
Train Every Major Muscle Group Once Per Week
If you are a cardio junkie Like me, then you should looking to incorporate strength training, keep in mind you need to train every muscle group – core, legs, back, etc. – once per week. By training every muscle group, you’ll be maintaining physical balance. You’ll also be reducing your risk of injury by not over training. Muscles need between 48 – 72 hours to fully recover and grow from resistance training. Without that rest, training muscles too frequently will lead to atrophy and/or loss of strength.
One strategy is to intensely hit one major muscle group for a 30-minute workout for five out of seven days per week. Another strategy is to do a longer full-body workout, two days per week.
Either way, you can do the strength training workout alone, or before your cardio session that day. Most experts agree that strength training is best before cardio to ensure you have enough energy to perform the exercises with proper form.
Note, however, if you’re an endurance athlete, a study on endurance runners suggests you should combine the two only on days the cardio will be at “submaximal intensities.” The study found a strength training session of the lower extremities can hamper a hard run for up to 24 hours but has no effect on light or moderate running sessions.
After hitting the gym and eating right, you may be noticing that your pants can’t be cinched with a belt anymore or even your tops are starting to hang off your shoulders. Yes! Finally, you beginning to see the healthy weight loss results you’ve been working so hard to achieve, and it’s time to go shopping and buy some new clothes. Now the million-pound question, what do you do with all your old clothes? Do you keep them, just in case you pack few kg back on or doing keep them because they are brand name, and you are afraid to replace them because you don’t really want to break the bank.
I am going to share with you some helpful tips for shopping for smaller clothes that won't break the bank as you continue your weight loss journey, these tips are what I have used successful during my own weight loss Journey.
The first thing! look at the clothing that’s in your closet now. Weed out anything that’s too loose or oversized in a way that’s no longer fashionable — these, you can donate! Or even sell them on E-bay make a little extra cash to go towards your shopping. Now select anything that’s more than a full size too small, and stash these in a way for the future. The items that are left are your foundation, so lay them out on your bed to determine which new pieces will help you complete various outfits. You might find yourself with a bottom and only need a nice top or the other way around. This will give you a better idea of what to shop far.
Picking The Right Clothes
When shopping for smaller clothes after you've lost weight, focus on closet staples. You’ll most likely need a new pair of jeans, dress pants, shorts, shirts ect. Because your body shape has likely changed, don’t be afraid to try on different types of fits. You never know, those skinny fit jeans may look amazing compared to those baggy boots cut jeans you had
been wearing! Perfect opportunity to try something new.
If you are like me and 95% of other person on a weight loss, then you probably was self-conscious about your weight in the past, you may have relied on loose-fitting clothes or oversized styles to hide it, I remember going to the gym I used deck out track bottoms and sweat shirts.. and now, those days are in the past — it’s time to show off your new figure, your new body the new you! To complement your stretchy knit basics, some gym leggings, skinny jeans, look for a handful of structured pieces that will highlight your assets. This might mean a tailored blazer or some new gym gear, that will not just complement, the new you but enhance your workout, you may be surprised at how many styles flatter you now.
You already know you’ll likely have to go shopping again in a few months — so now is not the time to look for investment pieces or designer brands. Stick with reasonably priced mall retailers or boutiques and look for basic pieces that work as part of more than one outfit. You may also need to adjust your mindset regarding where you can shop. If you’re dramatically smaller, you may have “shrunk out” of a larger size. Yep you!
This blog is updated by Tranquillity 360 fitness personal trainers, as well as other guest bloggers.