So we already know that exercise is good for you for about a million reasons—it can boost brainpower, make us look and feel good, and alleviate stress, just to name a few. But it's not always rainbows and butterflies after hitting the gym: Dealing with stink, sweat, and aches and pains can be tough. While there's likely no way to stop the unfortunate side effects of working out (besides becoming a couch potato), we're here to recognize each and every downside, plus offer up some solutions and know-how for when unforeseen consequences strike.
1. You often wake up when it's still dark out.
No one enjoys an alarm sounding at the crack of dawn, but facing a morning sweat sesh may make the prospect of peeling the covers back even more miserable. On the bright side, research suggests it's sometimes easier to stick with a morning workout routine, so that's all the more reason to get your tush out of bed. Become an a.m. athlete with these science-backed tips.
2. You need to pay attention to (and interact with) bad weather.
You've got one designated hour to get sweaty, but unfortunately the sky decided to break a sweat at the very same time. Whether it's raining, snowing, sleeting, or just too darn hot (or cold) to imagine being outdoors, there are still viable options to stay active. The good news is that exercising in cold and hot temps is generally quite safe as long as you take proper precautions.
-Before heading out in the cold, follow this chilly weather checklist.
-If it's too wet, cold, or hot out, try out one of these treadmill workouts.
-Keep this 30-minute, no-gym bodyweight workout on hand for super-wet days.
-Beat the heat and stay active in the summer with these tips.
3. Your phone or MP3 player gets sweat in, on, and around it.
Like many runners, I can't jog four feet without coming down with a bad case of really sweaty palms (like, really sweaty). While it's obvious that sweat and electronics don't mix, who has time (and money) to rig up a waterproof armband every time they want to work out? Try these strategies to keep your technology clean and dry.
4. You need to go back to work looking like a grease ball and smelling like a Hunger Games contestant.
Squeezing in a run or a Pilates class during your lunch break is an admirable feat, until you realize you smell like feet upon return to the office. When there's no time to shower, try one of these time-honored ways to fake it.
-Remove makeup before working out (then apply just the basics afterward).
-Turn to cleansing wipes, baby powder, and dry shampoo to soak up extra moisture.
-Change out of sweaty clothes ASAP. Wet clothes are stinky clothes.
5. Your hair feels like a matted, sweaty rat's nest.
There's nothing worse after a workout than sporting a 'do that resembles the Hunchback of Notre Dame. To get rid of the dreaded ponytail hair bump—and avoid a super sweaty hairline—it's best to prevent it in the first place.
-Use gentle ribbon hair ties (or make your own) instead of crease-causing hair elastics.
-Bring back the sweatband and pull it high and let it dry.
-Sport double French braids for a wavy post-workout 'do.
-If the damage is done, spritz the crease with a little water and blow-dry it straight.
6. Your hair also looks like straw and your skin feels like sandpaper from so much showering.
Sexy, right? Washing off all that sweat is the logical conclusion to most workouts. But extra time under the H20 means soap and water will remove protective oils that the skin naturally produces. Turn to the pantry for some frugal fixes.
-If you can get away with just rinsing hair (rather than shampooing every day or even twice a day), it will help maintain hair's natural oils.
-Combat winter winds and dry air with these tips and tricks.
-Take care of your skin from the inside out with these 27 super-meals.
7. You have a lot of stuff to carry around.
Forget important documents—your work bag is weighed down with sneakers, sports socks, clothes, and gym locks. Adding toiletries and other goodies, like a cumbersome yoga mat or shower shoes, means you'll probably have to invest in a gym bag to tote your extra stuff around. Pack that bag in a smart and efficient way before heading out the door.
-Learn how to carry your stuff safely by keeping your bag close to the body, using two straps, and stashing the heaviest things at the bottom.
-Whittle your bag down to just the essentials. Travel-size deodorant and an extra pair of undies won't take up that much space.
8. You need to do laundry more often.
Unless you're an avid fan of naked yoga, it's an undeniable fact that the laundry pile grows with each and every workout. From wearing multiple pairs of undies in one day (God forbid you wear sweaty britches all day), to layering up for an outdoor workout, some weeks feel like they require a full bottle of laundry detergent. These easy tips will keep your clothes fresher, longer.
-Look on the bright side: Doing laundry counts as fitness.
-Let your clothes dry out. Hanging up clothes to air them out (rather than letting them fester in a plastic bag) means you can re-wear certain garments like running shorts or a sports bra.
-Soak extra stinky stuff in one part vinegar to four parts hot water to help disinfect.
9. You're all sorts of hungry.
If you've ever emptied the fridge after an intense gym session, you know all about exercise-induced hunger pangs. Since exercise burns calories, working up a sweat can make us pretty hungry afterward. Unfortunately, many of us don't refuel properly (chips and Diet Coke don't count) after a workout. Thankfully, there are tasty, easy solutions for that rumbling tummy!
-Check out these post-workout snack ideas.
-Sip some low-fat chocolate milk after a gym sesh.
-Nosh on a portable high-protein snack, like any of these Greek yogurt recipes, after a workout to tide you over ‘til lunch or dinner.
10. Some days, you walk like a sleepy penguin ‘cause your muscles hurt.
While exercising generally does the body good, muscle soreness after a hard workout is uncomfortable. Sore muscles are a normal—but annoying—side effect of the muscle rebuilding process. The good news is, when torn muscle fibers rebuild they become stronger, and there are plenty of ways to relieve the aches and pains. Boo yah!
-Find out why our muscles get sore after exercise here.
-When muscles are particularly tender, it may be a good idea to dial down subsequent workouts to give the body a little rest and speed healing.
-For some gym buffs, icing sore muscles may be just the ticket. The cold helps numb pain as well as narrow blood vessels, which helps limit the amount of swelling.
-If you'd rather pass on the chilly temps, head to the masseuse or try out some self-myofascial release with a foam roller to ease fatigued muscles.
For 10 more irritating but unavoidable side effects of working out, check out the full story on Greatist.com.