[IMGCAP(1)]Business professionals–just like everyone else—get excited and love to tell everyone in the office about their amazing workout. They are simply ecstatic when they get their butt kicked by their rigorous regimen. Of course, there is much pride in finishing difficult workouts—I have been guilty of patting my own back plenty of times. Regardless of the workout intensity (though I believe intense workouts to be much more beneficial than long walks on the beach—or in between cubicles), it’s what happens between your workout sessions that are important. It’s the post-workout routines that determine your fitness-related results. This is where all the fat burning, muscle growth and weight loss happens.

Post-Workout Rebuilding
The cardiovascular demands, breakdown of muscular tissue, and hormonal responses of a workout are directly correlated to its intensity. The harder you work, the greater the disruption to your body’s homeostasis. In layman’s terms, this means that more time and energy is required to return your body to its normal function. This crucial rebuilding process is where fitness-related results actually occur. It does not happen during the workout, since this only represents the initial breakdown. What happens after your workout is much more important than what happens during.

Optimal Nutrition
That post-workout shake in your hand has more importance than you think. After intense bouts of physical movement—a.k.a. “working out” (yes, this is my one allotted smart-ass moment)—your body requires vitamins, minerals and nutrients to rebuild the broken-down muscle tissue. The faster your body receives this recharging fuel, the faster it can get you back to normal function. Insulin plays a crucial role here, as it is responsible for shuttling nutrients from your shake to the muscles that need to recover. The quality of your post-workout nutrition plays a significant role in how well your body recovers. Though there is much debate in the perfect formula for a post-workout shake, make sure that it has an adequate ratio (2:1) of carbohydrates and protein. If fat loss is your goal, however, you may want to stay away from those carbs.

Rest & Relaxation
Your career, relationships, and other lifestyle factors, such as alcohol consumption and food choices, can cause the release of the stress hormone cortisol. The more stressed your body becomes, the more likely fitness results will be hindered—since a stressed body cannot recover efficiently. Though working out has countless benefits, it too can increase cortisol levels in your system. It is important to lower cortisol levels as quickly as possible when recovering from a training session. The best thing to do after an intense workout would be to take a nap. Unfortunately, this option is difficult for most individuals. Meditating and breathing exercises for as little as 10 minutes can have similar effects on cortisol levels, as well as nutritional supplements like antioxidants. In other words, you need to relax to achieve results.

Luke Sniewski currently works as a CPA and fitness consultant. He works by weaving the health and wellness world with the business professional world. Working with companies and business professionals, his organization, LEAF, teaches the PAIN CPE course series that aims to improve the overall quality of life through the implementation of proactive lifestyles. Visit www.leaflifestyle.com for more details.