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7 post-workout mistakes that ruin all your gains

7 post-workout mistakes that ruin all your gains Illustrative photo (Freepik)
Author: Maria Kholina

Many people head home after a workout and make common mistakes that can undo all their progress. It's crucial to be aware of seven things that are quite harmful, citing Eat This, Not That!

Caffeine after workout

One of the worst mistakes you can make after finishing a workout is drinking a caffeinated beverage.

Trainer Alyssa Tucker explained that physical exercise is a stressor for the body, and when the body experiences stress, cortisol is released.

Caffeine also raises cortisol levels in the body. Excessive levels of this hormone can lead to many health problems, including inflammation and weight gain.

The expert advises having your morning coffee before the workout and choosing a hydrating drink like water afterward.

Not getting enough sleep

During sleep, your body goes through a recovery phase, making sufficient rest after a workout crucial.

During deep sleep, breathing slows down, and blood pressure drops. The brain also rests, allowing oxygen and nutrients to flow to the muscles, helping them recover and grow.

Maintain good sleep hygiene by limiting screen time before bed, using blue light-blocking glasses, and avoiding alcohol and other stimulants.

Frequent workouts

It turns out some people are obsessed with working out, doing double or high-intensity back-to-back sessions.

Too much high-intensity exercise without adequate recovery time can lead to chronically high cortisol levels, deplete glycogen stores, disrupt metabolism, and increase the risk of injury if done regularly.


If you are constantly stressed, your cortisol levels remain high, which can lead to various health issues and significantly hinder your goals by causing belly fat accumulation.

Insufficient protein intake

If you don't consume enough protein after workouts, you may feel fatigued and weak and not recover efficiently.

To avoid this, enjoy protein within 30-90 minutes after your workout. You can make a smoothie to maximize the rate of muscle protein synthesis post-exercise and help your muscles recover more effectively.

Alcohol consumption

Drinking alcohol after a workout is another mistake to avoid. It can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, digestive issues, and liver disease.

It's important to replenish fluids lost through sweating during exercise, and alcohol, on the contrary, causes further dehydration.

Eating sugary and overly processed foods

Choosing foods and drinks with a high glycemic index can cause rapid blood sugar changes. If this happens regularly, it can lead to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

"After your workout, if you suddenly crave sugar and sweets, this is your body's way of signaling that your glycogen stores need to be replenished and is your reminder to refuel."

Instead of reaching for simple carbs or sugary drinks like soda, opt for whole fruits, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates.