When you first decide to get in shape, your instinct is going to be to work out as hard as you can every single day. Resist this urge! If you work yourself to the limit every day, you aren’t likely to get anywhere. Why? Because every workout is, essentially, tearing down the muscles in your body. By giving them time to heal, you’re helping them to heal to be stronger than they were before the workout. This is why, over time, people get in better and better shape–they’re helping their muscles rebuild continuously stronger and stronger.
This doesn’t mean that you should slack off, though! Instead of one day totally “on” and one day totally “off,” alternate your workouts by difficulty, switching between easy and hard each day. And on the easy days, make sure you pamper yourself and your muscles after your lighter workout. Here are a few tips on how to do that.
First, give your body a good scrub. Use an exfoliating scrub and exfoliating loofah to really dig out the dirt, sweat and other grime that has built up. This helps improve the health of your skin while helping you feel refreshed and clean. After you’re very clean, it’s spa time!
Don’t worry if you don’t have the funds on hand to go to a fancy spa. You can set one up for yourself at home. Run yourself a hot bath, infuse it with some essential oils from livingearthcrafts.com, play your favorite ambient playlist and let yourself relax. The hot water will help soften and relax the muscles and the essential oils can help you relax physically and emotionally as well.
Get a massage! There are scientifically proven benefits to getting regular massages. You don’t necessarily have to get one every day, but once a week is a good idea. In addition to the physical benefits provided by massage, research has proven that there are mental health benefits to getting a massage as well. And trust us when we tell you: having a professional work out any knots or muscle cramps brought on by a tough workout will feel much better than simply trying to wait them out!
Treat Your Feet!
Your feet get put through a lot when you workout, so it’s good to pamper them regularly. Give them their own bath in a foot spa (or a small tub if you don’t want to spring for an actual foot spa). Add some Epsom salt to help counteract blisters and hot spots. After a good 10-15 minute soak, dab your feet dry and then lather them with some thick foot-specific lotion (try something mint-based to energize your feet) and tuck those toesies into some fluffy warm socks. Then, put your feet up! Stretch out and prop your feet up on a pillow and get the weight off of them!
Sure you could go for something kale based or enhanced with protein powder, and if you genuinely enjoy those smoothies, go for it! If the idea of yet another super healthy smoothie makes you want to skip working out altogether, indulge in a milkshake or a latte! The milk will be a good protein source and the flavor syrups give you some energy boosting carbs.
Your Neck and Hands Need Attention Too!
Get one of those bean-bag style microwaveable heating pads. Before you put your feet up, warm up this cushion and then drape it around your neck and shoulders to help relax those muscles. Then, once you’re settled in place and you’ve brought up your favorite show on Netflix, massage some hand lotion into your hands and tuck them into some thick and fluffy mittens. Your hands get very dried out and sore during a workout and it’s good to pamper them too.
Take a Nap
If binge watching Netflix (or whatever your favorite streaming media provider may be) isn’t your thing, and you don’t want to have to hold a book or a kindle, why not take a nap? Letting yourself lie down and close your eyes is another fantastic way to indulge your body when you are between workouts. Most of us do not get enough sleep each night. Even this out by taking regular naps!
Of course, you don’t have to stay home and physically pamper yourself on your “easy” days. There are other ways to indulge and treat yourself. Take yourself shopping. Go see a movie. Go out for a nice dinner with friends. See a concert. Do what makes you happy.
Perhaps the best thing about these indulgences is that, in addition to feeling great, they can be fantastic motivation on the “hard” days–when you need it most!