We all know that exercise is great for us but it’s also important to understand that exercise is essentially self-inflicted physical stress. As such, we need to ensure that as soon as we finish an exercise session, we allow the body to recover from this stress so that it can repair, improve and adapt.

Unfortunately, people often make a number of mistakes that impede recovery and therefore limit the results they are getting from their exercise regime.

So, here are 3 common mistakes to avoid immediately after exercise:

1. Not using a protein supplement.

Love them or hate them, protein supplements have been scientifically proven time and time again to aid in the recovery process and therefore boost metabolic rate (meaning better fat loss). Avoiding protein powders in the fear of ‘getting too big/bulky/fat’ is a seriously inaccurate myth. If you’d like to reap the fat-burning, body-shaping results you are trying to achieve from the exercise you do, using a quality protein powder after exercise is a must.

2. Not eating any solid food for hours.

It’s common for people who exercise early in the morning to fly straight off to work or appointments or meetings. Sadly, eating any solid food usually gets forgotten about until early afternoon. Unfortunately, this will seriously hinder recovery and keep metabolic rate low. So, aim to eat some healthy solid food within the first hour after exercising.

3.  Drinking coffee.

Exercise naturally stimulates a release of the hormone Cortisol. Cortisol aids in the performance of exercising but should ideally drop back down as soon as possible after the session has finished. However, caffeine also stimulates Cortisol production which means that cup of coffee you enjoy so much after exercising is keeping your cortisol level elevated during the exact time that you should be aiming to reduce it. Elevated cortisol levels for long periods of time waste away precious muscle tissue and reduces long term fat loss (as well as increasing your risk of serious illness). Aim to wait at least a couple of hours after exercise before having that cup of coffee.