Hey, brothers! Your buddy, Nelson, stepping into the ring again. This time, I would like to put emphasis and focus on something that you might be skipping. It came to me as I was doing my usual routines at the gym. Newbies would often do their circuits, whether it involves lifts or the current hotness, CrossFit, and then NOT do any cool down steps.
THAT IS A BIG NO-NO.
What is the Big Deal About Doing Cool Downs?
“Well, you know, I can handle it.”
“I think I will do it later”.
“I am just too tired at this point to bother”.
“What is the point of light exercises after doing the heavier stuff?”
I am paraphrasing, but these are the usual responses that I get whenever I inquire as to why these boys skip cool downs. They may vary in delivery and tone, but it boils down to one thing. They do not feel that this step is absolutely essential. As a result, they do not feel motivated in doing it.
But as any workout veteran will tell you, doing the cool down after the main workout regimen is positively necessary.
I understand where the sentiment comes from, though. After all, I was once one of them, too. It is tiring enough to go through a battery of reps and heavy lifting. Why put yourself through so much more if you don’t have to, right?
Well, the thing is, you do have to. And I experienced why this is first-hand. And this was me doing these workouts at home when I started my fitness journey.
Reasons for Cool Down
When I was just starting out, I was very hyper energetic. I wanted to get things done fast and powerful. Sure, I did warm ups prior to the workout. But after an explosive routine, I was pretty much ready to call it a day. At first, I would even just lay flat on the bed immediately afterward.
And that was a big mistake. And I suffered for my pig-headedness. Let us break down why not doing any cool down is not the Alpha Male thing to do (no matter how tough you think you are).
Stress buster – A good exercise session should get those “happy juices” flowing. These include dopamine and other neurochemicals that make you feel elated and relaxed. If you have heard the saying “exercise is as good as sex”, this effect is what they were referring to.
But here is the catch: it takes some time for your body to settle into this euphoric state. This is why a cool down is necessary. It allows your body to adjust from the built up and heightened state to absorb the gains. Without the cool down, you will likely find yourself even more stressed than before your exercise!
Blood Circulation – The blood pumps heavily during your exercise routine. That is a fact. The heavier your routine, the more blood is moved across different parts of the body. This is to compensate for the increased activity that you are putting it through. However, this also means the blood will not immediately be reprocessed back up to your heart if you stop immediately after the hard exercise the body was subjected to.
Ever felt like instead of just getting your body to a rested state, you feel like passing out? Did you feel lightheaded? This is what happens due to lack of blood. Now, if this was the only concern, it’s one thing. However, fainting suddenly can lead to more serious accidents. Assuming you drive to and from the gym, imagine how this occurrence would turn out for you.
By doing a proper cool down, the veins gradually compensate as you slowly adjust from your earlier exercise.
Injury Prevention – While we are on the topic of preventing injuries, there is more to it than just passing out from the improper blood circulation. The muscles, after a heavy workout, will tend to be rough shod. More than that, these muscles will be packed tight and inflexible. Doing a full stop after exercise means they do not get the chance to flex back into place comfortably.
This leads to increased soreness and even cramping. Even the toughest bodybuilder will tell you, cramping is serious business. The pain you will feel when this occurs is downright debilitating. In some cases, it would be enough for folks to quit training again altogether.
Do 10 minutes of stretching, hopping, jogging in place, or even walking after your main exercise set. Take the time for these cool downs to allow your body to settle into a more relaxed state. In the end, your body will thank you for it. Trust me. I’ve been there.
This is why I am grateful for finding Tom Venuto’s Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle system. It has been an invaluable resource for getting the right amount of exercise and diet to get fit the smart way. So check back again for more alpha male essentials on MaleMatter.com!