How you recover is just as important as how much you put into your workouts. Too many people focus only on getting in a good workout, that they neglect the important part of post-workout recovery.
Hard workouts can leave your muscles fatigued and sore, sometimes for days. Taking the time and effort to recover after a lengthy workout will help minimize soreness, reduce the risk of injury, and help you build muscle more effectively.
As a beginner, the idea of workout recovery sounds daunting, but think of it as a way to rest in between hard workouts. Here are some of the top things to incorporate into your routine.
Seven Things to Incorporate Into Your Muscle Recovery Routine
There are many ways you can speed muscle recovery. Here are seven things you should definitely consider…
No matter what you’re doing, getting adequate protein is imperative. Most people don’t get enough as it is, and when you’re building muscle, it’s even more important. Contrary to popular belief, eating protein won’t make you look like a bodybuilder. But, if you want to look like a bodybuilder, protein is an essential building block. For most people, focusing on eating protein rich foods in your normal diet is enough for basic strength workouts. But for others, it may be wise to add in a protein shake or serving of protein like a small steak after you are done exercising.
Protein becomes the building block that helps your muscles grow, repairs muscle tears, and gives you energy. By adding nutritious protein, you’ll get everything you need to support your fitness goals.
Have you ever had a massage? It’s incredible for improving circulation, speeding up muscle recovery, improving flexibility, and it just feels good. A skilled masseuse can work knots out of your muscles as well. And when they use organic massage oils, it can help reduce inflammation as well. While it would be nice to have a massage after every workout, if that’s not feasible, try and get one at least a couple of times a month. You’ll be amazed at how much better your body feels. Another option is to get a massage wand or a massage seat cover to get regular massages at home.
3. Cool Baths
Have you ever watched a polar bear plunge where people willingly jump into freezing ocean water? You sometimes wonder what’s going through their minds. The truth is that there are many benefits to taking an ice bath. After workouts, just a few minutes on ice or in a cool bath can alleviate pain and reduce the time it takes to recover. If you did a heavy leg workout for instance, just fill the bottom of a tub with cool water and sit in it as long as you can stand it. For people also trying to lose weight, there is some research that these cold dips can accelerate fat loss.
In between your high intensity workouts, you want to keep moving. Something low impact like walking will help get the lactic acid out of your muscles, without over straining them. Walking is an excellent way to exercise. It also keeps your muscles active on days where you need more rest. Take time to walk daily, and make sure you get extra steps in on your rest days.
There is a reason athletes like stretching exercises like Yoga and Pilates. They both do a wonderful job of loosening muscles. Not only do you want strong muscles, you also need strong, flexible muscle fibers to help reduce injury to your musculoskeletal system. Stretching improves circulation as well and helps you avoid injury. Having flexible joints also improves posture and how well your body uptakes nutrients.
6. Muscle Roller
Using a foam roller on your muscles takes just minutes a day. But this time makes a huge impact in the effectiveness of your workouts and in how well you recover afterwards. Want your muscles to feel less sore? What about decreasing muscle tension? Take 5 minutes to roll them out after an intense workout session.
7. Electronic Stimulation
Relax your muscles and improve recovery times using electronic stimulation on your muscles. This process starts with putting electrodes on your muscles and then running a light electrical current through them. This more advanced recovery technique is known for relaxing your muscles and giving them relief when they are in pain. It’s not only used for athletes and avid exercisers, but it’s also used for recovery from injuries.
Those who skip out on post-workout muscle recovery protocols often hit a plateau or experience full on burnout. Therefore, the importance of muscle recovery simply cannot be overlooked.
Decreasing your muscle soreness as quickly as possible will help you get back into the gym faster and take you much further towards achieving your overall health and fitness goals.
Try some of the items discussed in this post to help you recover faster and stay in the game!