Where effort meets information
You've finally finished that grueling workout and you think you're done. You're not. You have just put your body through hell. You've torn through muscle fibers, depleted energy stores, and put every molecule in your body under stress. Now you have to repair it. The post-workout time is critical when it comes to repairing and rebuilding.
We've all skipped out on it way more than we've done it. You're tired and hungry and you just want to go home. But you're body needs a way to cool down properly. Stretching after your workout is one of the easiest and most efficient ways of doing this. Stretching before a workout is a little risky. Your muscles aren't as warm and sometimes you are sapping your body of some strength you should save for your workout.
After your workout there is a build-up of lactic acid in your muscles. That's what you feel when you run out of gas on a rep and feel intense soreness the next day. By stretching you are circulating blood through the muscle and relieving it from the acid. You also give your brain some time to cool down and your blood pressure will normalize.
In other words: no excuses, just do it.
But feed me wisely! We all have been there. Absolutely starving and craving everything under the sun. You pass fast food places all the way home. Don't do it.
It is true that sugar and other simple carbohydrates can spike insulin and replenish glycogen stores that were burned up. Also, if you are properly eating before and during your workouts, post workout nutrition isn't as critical. However, this is sometimes difficult for people so arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible.But don't worry about that stuff until you have your diet down.
You've just accomplished something most people haven't. You exercised, hard. Don't ruin it by putting junk back in.
I am a big believer in drinking amino acids during my workout. This helps me get longer workouts without gassing out, and not having to eat. For my size, I just don't like to eat a ton of food all the time so supplementation is where I turn.