5 Post Workout Muscle Recovery
Tips You Should Know
Your rest and recovery have a significant impact on your fitness gains and your performance at the gym and the better your recovery routine, the better your gains and the more effective you are when working out.
While many experienced weight lifters have a detailed and effective recovery routine, most beginners don’t have one. Thankfully, you can easily make one.
Are you a beginner and don’t have a routine? Here are tips to help you come up with a post-workout plan:
Rest and relax
Resting is one of the best ways to recover from an injury or illness, and it works excellently when it comes to recovering after working out.
When you rest, the body recovers at a natural pace that comes in handy at giving you excellent natural gains and allowing you to feel rejuvenated the next morning and you look forward to working out.
The beauty is you don’t need to do much when you are resting. Just take time off and relax. You can go hang out with friends or sit on the couch and watch a movie.
At night, ensure that you get enough sleep as inadequate sleep reduces your tolerance to training, alters your mood, increases your perception of fatigue, and negatively affects the physiological mechanisms responsible for adaptation from the training stresses.
Studies have shown that anabolic (muscle-building) hormones increase when you are sleeping, so the longer you sleep, the higher the concentration of the anabolic hormones that the body releases.
To ensure that your body releases enough of these hormones, make it a habit to develop a sleeping routine and go to bed at the same time every night.
Of course, you should get rid of any distractions such as TVs, computers, Smartphones, and light. If possible, ensure that you have at least 8 hours of deep sleep every night.
If your schedule allows it, take a nap during the day or immediately after working out. In addition to a sufficient night's sleep, taking a 15-20 minutes nap during the day significantly helps in your recovery.
Small naps are also good for your heart, stress levels, blood pressure, and weight.
Studies have shown that the body repairs the worn-out tissues faster when you are asleep, so when you take a nap after coming from the gym, you fasten the tissue repair process, which means you don’t feel pain the next time you are in the gym.
Even if you were taking water when working out, you should still drink more water when recovering. You need to take water because you were losing a lot of it when you were exercising.
You see the sweat you were shedding? That’s water you need to replace. According to the American Council on Exercise, you should drink 8-10 ounces of water after your workout.
To avoid dehydration, fatigue, loss of coordination, and cramps, drink 17-20 ounces of water two hours before exercise and 7-10 ounces every 10-20 minutes when exercising.
Get your nutrients
There is no better time to feed your muscles than during recovery. Two of the essential nutrients you should feed your muscles at this time are proteins and carbohydrates.
You need proteins to rebuild your muscle tissues and supply the building blocks for the various tissues, cells, hormones, and enzymes.
Depending on your training schedule and aspirations, you can take proteins ranging from 1.0 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of your body weight every day.
Carbohydrates are the major energy source for the body, so you should take them in plenty during the recovery period. You can take rice, corn, or any other carbohydrate-rich meal to feed the body.
If you have the means, invest in a recovery drink. You should note that while there are many recovery drinks in the market, few are good and will give you the necessary nutrients.
To avoid wasting your money on junk, take your time and find the best recovery drink for your body. To get the most from the recovery drink, ensure that it contains proteins, carbohydrates, and/or electrolytes.
Studies show that you feel the best when you take the drink immediately after a workout, but this doesn’t mean you should rush home to take the drink or have the drink ready in your car to take as soon as you get out of the gym. You can take the drink at any time during your recovery.
Massage it out
Massage is highly effective at reducing muscle stiffness, promoting circulation, and inducing a state of muscle relaxation.
Some people find massage as expensive as they think they have to have it done by a professional therapist, but it doesn’t have to be the case all the time. While it’s good to have a professional massage now and then, you can self-massage yourself using massage sticks, foam rollers, and even baseballs.
When undertaking self-myofascial release (SMR), gently roll a massage stick or baseball over all the major muscle groups until you find a sensitive spot. You should then apply direct pressure to the area until the pain dissipates.
Roll over the muscle again and repeat if necessary.
Even if the massage doesn’t speed up the recovery, it will make you feel better, so you have a positive attitude and are psyched up to visit the gym the next day.
Schedule enough resting time between your workouts
If you engage in intense training such as heavy weight lifting, ensure that you leave enough time for the body to recover.
If you have been in the gym for some time, you must have experienced delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). This is a sensation you have after lifting weights for extended periods without recovering enough.
DOMS is characterized by stiffness, muscle tenderness, muscle flexibility, force production, and reduced joint range of motion.
When you go back to the gym without recovering fully, you risk incurring a serious injury that might require physiotherapy.
To avoid DOMS, have a 24-72 hour rest between intense training sessions. You don’t need to do anything during the rest sessions—simple relaxation is enough.
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