You just clicked the “stop” button on your watch, or did your last burpee, or put away your bike. You’re catching your breath, a little sweaty or a lot sweaty, finished with that workout for the day. What do you do now? If you’re a successful athlete or an exercise person with a big following on social media, I’m sure you have a high-performance recovery routine dialed. If not, you have some options beyond that perfectly formulated post-workout beverage.
Not Stretching or Foam Rolling or Self-Massaging/Torturing with Some Contraption
Ah, yes, now that you’re done, you should probably do some of those exercises or movements or stretches recommended by your physical therapist to prevent future injuries like that one you had last year, or just for general well-being, or to be more prepared for the next physical thing you’re going to do, but…maybe later.
Immediately Sitting Down and Looking at Your Phone for 10 to 45 Minutes
Better make sure your run/ride/inline skate session data uploaded to Strava, and while you have your phone out, might as well cycle through email/texts/Instagram/TikTok/the news/the weather forecast/that other app you always click on because it’s blue but you meant to click on the other blue app. Oh shit, look at the time—what happened? Better get in the shower.
Replying to Emails While Standing Next to the Shower
Just gotta get this one more email out real quick, which will definitely not lead to other emails being produced in response for you to answer later. Yes, this is the urgent one to respond to as you stand here about to step into the shower, or maybe as you stand in the shower, typing with your thumb.
Eating Half a Bag of Chips in 4 Minutes
What was that recovery drink recipe again? Maybe you’ll just grab a handful of chips while you’re looking for the ingredients and getting out the blender—oh yeah, chips, mmm-mmm chips. Chips are so good. Chips chips chips. Recovery chips. Oh wow, you just ate half the bag. Er, maybe half—some of that was air. It always looks full in the store, and then you open it and it’s like, whoa, optical illusion. Anyway, pretty sure you didn’t eat half the bag in like four minutes.
Eating a Whole Bag of Chips in 9 Minutes
Fuck it, you deserve this. A whole bag of chips never killed anyone. You just burned 300 to 800 calories, and how many calories are in this bag of chips, really? Oh. Oh, that’s quite a lot. Ahem, fuck it.
Lying on the Floor with Your Dog
Who’s a good boy/girl? OK, just a few pets, lowers your blood pressure. Good for the dog, too. OK, legs a little tired, gonna squat down here, maybe just take a knee. OK, belly rub. OK, maybe you’ll just get down on the floor here for a second. Oh wow, this isn’t so bad.
Taking Out the Trash
You’ve accomplished a lot today, including that great workout, and to cap it off, you’re going to grab that bag of trash and take it outside before you even take off your exercise-specific shoes. You deserve some kind of award for all this productivity, what with the workout and the completion of a very minor but often procrastinated household task, but for now, you’ll have to make do with the feeling of personal satisfaction and accomplishment. Also, now you don’t have to smoosh the trash down anymore when you’re trying to fit one more thing in there and buy yourself a few more hours.
Recovery Drink, But by “Drink,” I Mean “Leftover Pizza Eaten over the Kitchen Sink”
Sure, you could assemble the four to 15 ingredients and put them in the blender, blend it, drink the drink, and then have to wash the blender, and there would be all sorts of great things in your body like anti-inflammatory things and protein and carbohydrates and antioxidants and all that. But when you open the fridge, oh wow, pizza! Forgot about that. Maybe not the ideal recovery meal, but at least there’s a piece of a vegetable on that slice, so that counts for something. Oh fuck yeah, pizza.
Recovery Drink, But by “Drink,” I Mean “Beer”
There was an ad for beer that you saw somewhere with a photo of a person on a spin bike or something like that, doing something strenuous. Maybe it’s not the same brand of beer you have in the fridge, but it was definitely beer, so it’s probably OK to replace fluids with beer, right?
Bizarre Cramp in Bed Later
You’re just about to fall asleep or have been asleep for several hours and are rolling over and suddenly HOLY FUCK WHAT IS THAT? Something seizes up and you are wildly writhing and contorting in bed, maybe trying to control it a little bit and remain silent so as not to wake up your partner while trying to alleviate the strange pain coming from your…what the shit, is there even a muscle there? What is going on—you didn’t even use that muscle today, did you? So strange you would have a cramp after you did everything right during and after your workout, as far as recovery goes. I mean, it doesn’t say it on the bag, but there have to be “electrolytes” in that bag of chips, right? Super weird.
Brendan Leonard’s new book, I Hate Running and You Can Too, is now available for preorder.
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Lead Illustration: Brendan Leonard