Preserving the Sexy: How to Keep Hair in Shape Before & After Exercise

True Story: I’m quite low-maintenance when it comes to my hair. And pretty much on any given day, women at the gym will compliment me on my hair, while also assuming that a) because I workout often and b) because I’m also natural-haired, that my hair care regimen must be “complex” or “time consuming.” But once we get to talking, these women are totally surprised to learn that my hair care regimen is as easy-breezy as it can get.

And here's why:

I love working out and I enjoy breaking a good sweat. I’m in the gym or some type of fitness facility practically every single day of the week. On my own, I exercise 6-7 days a week, and then my job as a Sports Medicine physician and trainer also requires that I workout with clients approximately 5 days a week. So oftentimes I’m actually doing two-a-days, and I’ll be perfectly blunt− I ain’t got time to fuss over my hair. Now don’t get me wrong, I do take very good care of my hair, and in fact I wrote a great book on how to grow healthy, beautiful natural hair. So yes, I do primp from time to time and I like my hair to look nice (I like it to look HOT actually), and oftentimes you’ll find me rockin’ my hair in its own uniquely carefree twisted style that perfectly fits my personality and lifestyle.

Overall, my motto is “Health first, hair second.” Plus, I think messy hair is sexy hair, which is precisely why I’m so low maintenance, and don’t spend an inordinate amount of time primping, blow drying, straightening, etc… But as I said earlier, I do take very good care of my hair, and I like having a full, healthy head of flowing hair. So for any of you natural girls− or better said− for all ladies looking for tips on how to keep your hair in shape when exercising, I’d be happy to offer up some tips:

1.      Skip the tight hair accessories

I’m not a fan of putting tension on the hairline, and the following types of accessories: tight hair elastics, metal clips and hair pins can literally murder your edges. So skip the tight hair elastics, hair pins, and metal clips, and instead pull your hair back from your face with a soft handkerchief, cloth headband, or a loosely tightened scrunchie or hair claw clip.

2.      Scale back on shampoo− amp up moisturizing and conditioning

As a general rule, if you sweat a lot during your workouts, or if you exercise more than 4 hours a week, you should be washing your hair at minimum 2 times a week.  Problem is, frequent washing with shampoo can strip hair of moisture, leaving it dry and prone to breakage. To avoid this, consider using dry shampoo and scale back on regular shampoo to once a week (or once every 2 weeks). And co-wash if you choose to shampoo more than once a week. Furthermore, you should moisturize your hair every single day, especially on days that you exercise outdoors or in heated spaces. Click here, to learn more about my line of deep conditioner and moisturizing+detangling mist. FYI, they're both scented with a yummy mix of coconut and lemongrass. WARNING: The scent alone might make you want to eat your hair ;)

3.  Skip the heat, go low maintenance and air-dry

Blow dryers, flat-irons and other heat styling tools come at a price− damaged hair. And the more frequently you use these types of heat styling tools, the more stress you’ll end up putting on your hair, which ultimately leads hair breakage. I don’t know of any woman that enjoys hair breakage or split ends, so the simplest way to avoid this is to cut back on heat and start air drying your hair. And if you absolutely can’t fathom giving up heat styling, then at the very least apply a heat protectant to your hair before heat styling. Now I must confess, I used to be a habitual heat-styler before I went natural, but those days are looooong done. It’s been well over 8 years since I last used a blow dryer, and I know it can take some getting used to, but I truly believe that when you just embrace your natural hair, and learn to work with your natural hair, everything will fall into place and hair maintenance will become so much simpler.

4.      Stay up on fitness and nutrition

You may be surprised to learn that regular exercise and staying fit is actually good for hair growth because it promotes things like blood flow to the hair follicle and hormonal regulation. And as far as nutrition, first and foremost, be sure to maintain a healthy diet, and then supplement with a hair vitamin if you wish. Remember, your hair is made up of protein, and your scalp lubricates and protects itself with sebum (which is derived from fat). So in terms of hair growth and scalp health, it’s very important to eat healthy and get adequate nutrition, specifically from protein and healthy fats. Click here, to learn more about my premium hair growth supplement, BeautyELITE.

Do you struggle with maintaining an active lifestyle while also maintaining your hair? What pre and post workout haircare tips can you share? Let me know on my website. – Doc

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Dr. Phoenyx Austin is Sports Medicine Physician, Certified Trainer, creator of BeautyElite & BodyElite advanced supplements, and #1 Bestselling Author of And That’s Why You’re Fat and If You Love It, It Will Grow. Dr. Phoenyx's passion is fitness and her goal is to help people achieve their best bodies. Connect with the Doc on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.

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