So, you’ve decided to get a head start on next summer’s beach bod. Now that you’re back in the gym, you may have overlooked an important activity that can make or break your gains: showering.

Yes, showering.

While you likely engage in this seemingly insignificant activity after working out, showering matters. What happens in the shower will affect how well you build muscle and recover from your workouts. Here’s how.

Getting Back In The Gym

Returning to the gym is no easy feat. Although what happens while you’re at the gym may seem like the most important part of fitness, what you do outside of the gym will also affect how easily you achieve your athletic goals.

While there’s truly no better feeling than showering off sweat from an intense workout, not all showers were created equally. As it turns out, several factors like water temperature, shower frequency, and shower duration may be affecting your body in ways you haven’t considered.

Here are a few showering tips you should definitely consider if you’ve been hitting the gym recently.

Cool It Down

Forget warm showers. If you’re a current or returning athlete, strongly consider showering with cold water. Although this may seem like an uncomfortable activity, your fitness goals will thank you.

By being exposed to cold water, your muscles will feel less sore. This reduction in muscle soreness will also speed up muscle recovery, making your next leg day all that much easier. What’s more, cold showers can actually activate certain types of fat in the body, contributing to weight loss.

Keep It Short And Sweet

Try to limit your showers to one per day. This is important, as taking multiple showers each day can lead to irritated, dry skin. Extra showering can also contribute to itching, flaking, and redness and of the skin.

Taking too long of showers can also negatively affect the skin. It’s best to keep showering time to under five minutes, so you won’t strip your skin of necessary oils.

If you still seek the luxurious feeling of a long shower, consider sitting in the sauna after your workout. This will give you the relaxing feeling of a long shower without the nasty, overdrying effects.