Throwback Thursday: The awesomeness of the post-workout shower

This post was first published on February 24, 2014 and I’m reminded of it today because yesterday I finally got in a super-duper workout under less-than-ideal conditions. Under hot and humid skies in an area of the country I used to run in all the time but no longer do (especially in that kind of weather), I jogged two miles after walking two miles along one of my favorite stretches of water ever – the Charles River in Cambridge, MA. At first I thought, naaaah, I can’t run outside in this heat! (Yes, I did the 2012 Boston Marathon in 87-degree temperatures so perhaps I was a little spooked.) And then I started walking and saw tons of people running – just gettin’ it done, water in hand, pace reasonable for the conditions, following all the good-sense rules.

And, oh, that post-workout shower was a delight. In that spirit, I bring you the original post from February. Have a great day!

The post-workout shower, and giving it your all.

I love this part of my workout. It's a renewal, it's an energy blast, it's a baptism. Life looks better after an hour of sweat and ten minutes of hot water.
I love this part of my workout. It’s a renewal, it’s an energy blast, it’s a baptism. Life looks better after an hour of sweat and ten minutes of hot water.

It’s true. This is a rockin’ part of every intense workout I’ve ever done.

Maybe it’s kind of counterintuitive that I’m talking about  the end of the workout as being one of my favorite things about the workout, right? But it’s not really counterintuitive. The workout is still happening in our bodies, even after we’ve stopped running, walking, pedaling, swimming, or doing whatever it is we do in our workouts. I can feel it even as I step into the shower, as the cool water starts to wash off the effort and the grit of the workout. It’s more than cleansing. It feels renewing.

I can feel during that post-workout shower that my body is still sorting itself out, in all the right ways. My heart is still beating pretty hard, my capillaries coursing with oxygen and nutrients,  and my muscle fibers are finally getting a chance to rest and say, ahhhh, that was awesome. I am totally serious about this. I can feel my body settling into its renewed, happy, thoroughly worked-out post-exercise state.

Give your all. You’ll get it back.

I kind of love this meme.
I kind of love this meme.

When I taught spinning classes a while back, I encouraged all of the people in the class to give their all. We did it for the whole class, but we really pushed it during the last “work song” of the class – the one right before the cooldown and stretch. Give it everything you’ve got left, I would tell them, because the moment you walk through that door back into the real world, you’re going to get all of your energy back, and then some.

This is exactly what happens to me after a hard workout.

Last week I was in Los Angeles for work and a writing conference. It wasn’t the least stressful trip I’ve ever taken. There was a huge work deadline to meet, and a couple of very long workdays involved. I got good, solid workouts in on both of the really intense work days – one six-mile run and one really phenomenal spin class, all before 9 a.m. Those workouts gave me the energy and confidence I needed to face the workday, to make (relatively) good nutrition decisions during the day, and to follow through with a challenging work schedule and get things done. That energy kept me focused even during a few moments of work despair (you know what I’m talking about: the moments when you want to drive a cement truck over everyone who’s ever suggested you become a professional whatever-you-are and go into the mountains and become a sheep farmer). And the work-despair clouds eventually parted, and stuff got done.

Stuff got done, because the first thing that got done was my workout.

That’s the moral of this particular story. And it was in the shower after both of those key workouts that I first felt it: yes. I’m back. The energy is here. Now let’s get down to business.

Yesterday’s #Every48 workout: [Back in real time – July 3, 2014] A two-mile WALK along the Charles River in Boston; then went back out there and RAN the same two-mile loop. Before that, my Daily Dozen from Fit By Nature with a one-minute plank. Ouch, but great. But ouch. But great.

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