After any type of exercise, your muscles need between 24 and 48 hours to fully recover. Working them again too soon will simply break down muscle tissue and potentially eliminate any gains you made the previous day. This is what makes recovery an essential part of your workout routine.
With an effective recovery plan, you can get the most out of your workouts and still feel great after intense sessions. A simple post-workout routine is easy to follow and has a number of benefits, allowing you to train more effectively and reach your goals faster.
Five Important Tips to Improve Post-Workout Recovery
If you want to get back into the gym feeling your best and maximize gains, you’re going to need to give your muscles and overall body the necessary time to recover after each and every exercise session. Here are five ways you can easily improve your post-workout recovery.
Whether you’ve just gone for a quick run or finished an endurance session, your body has lost a lot of fluid. Stocking up on sufficient amounts of water should be the first step in your recovery routine. When it comes to exercise, water is essential for nutrient transfer and maintaining metabolic function.
By staying hydrated, your body will get what it needs to heal faster and keep functioning at peak performance. Try to stay away from sugary energy drinks during this time. While the initial energy boost may feel good, the crash that comes afterwards will only make you feel more tired at the end of the day.
#2. Eating Right
Your body needs to replenish its energy stores with good food just as much as it needs water. Fill up on complex carbohydrates, vitamins and protein within an hour of finishing your exercise routine. This way, your body can get what it needs to repair tissue and maintain energy levels in time for the next session.
We all know that stretching is key to an effective workout both before and after your session. This warms up your muscles and prevents a number of exercise related injuries. Include a gentle, comprehensive set of stretches in your post-workout routine.
If you participate in intense or endurance exercise, consider stretch therapy to ensure your muscles are in peak condition. This is also great for recovering from injuries, as it helps your muscles stay active without putting any pressure on them.
#4. Contrast Water Therapy
You’ve probably heard of famous athletes that swear by ice baths. The idea is that it relaxes your muscles and reduces pain. Contrast water therapy is a similar concept. This involves alternating between hot and cold showers. In doing so, your blood vessels are repeatedly constricted, helping your body flush out waste that builds up in your muscle tissue.
#5. Days Off
Many beginners think that by exercising as frequently as possible, you can gain muscle faster. This is unfortunately incorrect. Taking a day or two off between intense sessions will prove to be significantly more beneficial to your gains and allows your body to properly recover, preventing pain and injury.
If you still feel tired or sore on your off days, it may be a sign that you need to improve your recovery routine or simply slow down a little. Pay attention to your body and tend to its needs instead of fighting to push further. You’ll feel much better in the end.
The Bottom Line
Rest and recovery is crucial to maximize muscle growth and improve your overall health and well-being. Without the necessary post-workout care, you will simply see slower results and increase your risk of injury. For these reasons alone, it is critical that you don’t skip recovery. The seven tips here are a surefire way to improve your recovery times so you can focus on your fitness goals and do what you do best, workout!