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1. REFUEL YOUR SKIN
Training is hard for your muscles, but can be even tougher on your skin: a 45-minute sweat session can cause your skin to lose almost a litre of water and, even if you glug down that much immediately after your workout, your skin is far from your body's number one hydration priority. Neglect to moisturize before leaving the gym and you leave your skin more susceptible to environmental stress that can lead to premature ageing.
2. TRACK YOUR PROGRESS
Without a written record of your workouts you'll struggle to make effective progress or gauge how best to change things up. The endorphin flood incited by a decent training session often lasts a lot longer than your memory of what, specifically, it was you did to trigger those feelgood hormones. And those who forget the past, as the saying goes, are doomed to repeat it…
Fix it . You don't need to use a fancy tracking app or build up a complicated spreadsheet. Simply keeping notes on your phone or scribbling in a diary is enough. Jot down what you did, any weights you used, how you felt, and any other significant details.
3. FILL UP WITH PROTEIN
You've worked out, right? So you can have a slightly filthier lunch than usual. And a slice of that cake that was going round the office earlier. And, well, maybe a drink or two after work? Oh, and a KitKat. Four fingers. Because you worked out, right? So it's all OK. It's all fine.
Fix it . A boosted appetite is one of the many happy consequences of training hard but, while your palate might be craving calorific treats, your body needs protein. Whether you get your hit from a shake or feed your muscles with lean meats and brown rice, just make sure you chow down on some nutritious grub within an hour or two of your workout. It'll fill you up more effectively than carbs, and ensure all your hard work tones your muscles and burns fat most effectively.
4. BUT DO REWARD YOURSELF!
Not that you need neglect those sweet treats entirely. You did, after all, work out. You deserve to indulge. Give yourself a high five and a little bit of what you fancy. Maybe not the filthy lunch and the cake and the booze and the KitKat. But certainly the cake. And maybe the KitKat? Two fingers?
Fix it Have the damn cake. It's called balance. It's important.
5. AIM FOR EIGHT HOURS SLEEP
Your body repairs itself most effectively when you're out for the count. Fail to prioritize sleep in the same way you do your workouts and nutrition and you'll wear yourself down or, worse, burn yourself out. Train hard; eat well; sleep deep.
Fix it. If you're struggling to grab enough time between the sheets, or waking up groggy despite heading to bed early, try the following duo of tips. Switch off all screens (smartphones, TVs, laptops) at least an hour before heading to the bed – and keep your socks on! The blue light emitted by electronic screens signals to your body that it's daytime and stunts production of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin. And the socks? Swiss researchers have found that keeping your extremities warm leads you to drop off 50% quicker.