From Fat to Fit: How I Recover from a Hard Workout

Many of my clients seek out personal training because they’re overweight. Christine is one of those clients, and over the next few months she’ll be sharing her progress with us. This post was originally published July 9, 2013. I'm reposting it here because my blog has moved!


I’m learning—mainly by not taking care of myself—that what I do after a personal training session is as important as what I do during my workout. If I follow the post-workout routine below, I find that I recover much faster and have more energy the following day.

Here’s what I need to get the best results possible:

  • Thorough Stretching. Honestly, I hate stretching after my personal training sessions. I’ve already taken an hour and a half out of my busy day, and more than anything I want to hop in the shower and move on to my next commitments. But what you hear is true—stretching after a workout reduces muscle fatigue, which means you’ll feel less sore and be more likely to follow through with your workout routine the following day. My actual stretches vary based on what muscles groups were targeted.
  • Protein—Fast! You may have heard that it’s important to refuel your muscles with protein within two hours of working out. According to Andrea, the window is actually much shorter—more like 15 minutes. Sometimes I bring a protein shake with me to the gym, but usually I make getting some protein my first priority when I get home. I may want to crash on the couch, but I know that I’ll feel much better long-term if I give my body the nutrition it needs.
  • Proper Hydration. I invariably chug a bunch of water after my personal training sessions with Andrea—I’m always dripping with sweat, and I know proper hydration will help my recovery. However, what I didn’t know until recently is that it’s important to make sure you’re also replenishing your electrolytes. A few weeks ago, I started feeling really lightheaded during workouts and whenever I stood up. As it turns out, I was losing lots of sodium and potassium along with all that sweat. While Gatorade is obviously a favorite of many athletes, you can get the same benefits from coconut water, which is much lower in sugar. Unfortunately, coconut water is super expensive, so I’m still looking for a third option that’s affordable but won’t slow down my weight loss. I’ll keep you updated on what I learn.

This post-routine is still somewhat new (mainly the electrolytes and stretching at home), but I’m interested to see if my energy increases over the next few weeks now that I’m caring for myself properly. It’s another perk of having a personal trainer who knows her stuff—you get a lot of insight into how the body works and what you need to do for optimal performance.