trainers finish workout

The gym can be an intimidating place, especially for someone who last stepped foot in one while wearing a high school P.E. shirt and—regrettably—neon-hued blue braces. (It’s okay—we all made that mistake.) You have to figure out where equipment is and, um, WTF it is and how to use it. Plus, if you aren’t joining in on a group class or working with a trainer, you have to actually put together a workout for yourself, beginning to end.

Well, if there’s one thing I’ve learned from working in the wellness world for the better part of a decade, it’s this: When you’re lost—be it in a yoga class, perusing the menu of a trendy plant-based cafe, or aimlessly wandering the floor of a gym thinking “How does one work out, exactly?”—imitating what you see others doing while being smart about it (maybe don’t try to lift your bodyweight if you haven’t worked out in years), can be a good place to start. And the best people to copy? The ones who really know what they’re doing—trainers.

So, to help any newbies out there wrap up their workouts on the right foot, we asked five Philly pros to share how they like to end their sweat sessions. Because, it’s easy to dive into a workout, but knowing how to wrap it up is a whole different ballgame. Read up, then take their routines for a spin and find what fits for you!

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Daniel Kocotas, City Fitness Graduate Hospital

“As a strength athlete, I always finish my workouts the way they begin: foam rolling and stretching. After lots of heavy Olympic lifts and squats, I find that rolling and stretching for five to 10 minutes at the end of my session keeps my muscles from tightening up too much. My joints feel less achy, and I feel more refreshed for the next day’s training session.”

Gabby Drucker, Philly Phitness

“I like to finish my workouts with a high-intensity AMRAP (as many rounds as possible), combining core-focused exercises with high-intensity moves to really push myself during the last few minutes of a sweat session. I’ll set my timer for eight minutes and do a circuit of four exercises nonstop until the timer goes off. AMRAP’s are awesome because by increasing your heart rate and working your muscles as hard as possible in this short amount of time, you will continue to burn fat and calories long after your workout is done. This type of workout also inhibits you from getting distracted between reps by your phone (due to the lack of rest time), because, really … who doesn’t have that issue? My favorite AMRAP at the moment consists of 10 burpees, 10 straight-leg sit-ups, 10 spider push-ups and 10 v-ups. Set that timer and get after it!”

Alana Messina, City Fitness Fishtown

“I end my workouts with a short yoga/animal flow and 30 to 60 seconds of static hip stretches like frog pose and splits. I want to make sure my hip mobility is the best it can be so I move fluidly and within my full range of motion. I have been working on my handstand for a while now and like to get inverted as the very last thing I do. It’s a strange feeling to be upside down, so I’m practice-practice-practicing.”

Holly Waters, Fitness Alive

“One of my favorite ways to end a workout, whether it’s my own workout or for clients, is with some social time—either getting my rounds in at the gym and cheering others on through the end of a tough workout, or I always give my boot camp class time at the end of the workout to get to know each other. When you have friends where you work out, it makes it easier to go back when it’s the last thing you want to do!”

Lauren Beckley, City Fitness Graduate Hospital

“Whether I’m doing a personal workout or working out a group, I like to finish off with some kind of short-duration conditioning. I’m not a fan of tons of aerobic work for myself or the average client, so I keep to short-duration, high-intensity anaerobic work. It’s the icing on the cake and you should be gassed when it’s over.”