When you finish a hard workout, you always feel simply amazing and beaming with pride in your accomplishments. However, pushing yourself to the max and setting your muscles on fire doesn’t come without a price. When you finish your workout, this is where the real battle starts—recovery!
Working out does a lot of good for your body, but it also tears your body apart which can be very painful. Recovery comes naturally with time, but what can you do to speed up recovery and minimize pain and injuries? Here are some of the best things that will benefit your post-workout recovery.
Eating after a workout is a great way to boost your recovery, especially if you reach for some protein. It’s best to stick to healthy and “real” foods like meat, eggs, yogurt and oatmeal. And if you often experience food cravings during the day, you can start your morning with a high-protein breakfast or chug a protein shake. Also, get ready for a little treat! Drinking chocolate milk after a workout can further improve your muscle recovery.
Chocolate milk is an effective recovery aid that will also provide you with a little reward for your hard work at the gym. If you’re serious about dieting, you can even make your own version of chocolate milk by mixing milk, cocoa powder and honey or stevia.
Water plays an important role in recovery. Drinking water after any workout can help you flush out toxins and prevent dehydration. Dehydrated muscles usually become painful very quickly, so proper hydration is important. On average, you need at least two liters of water per day, more if you’re especially prone to sweating or if you have especially hard workout days.
And it’s easier to have access to water today than ever before. There are durable reusable water bottles you can keep in your gym bag, on your work desk and next to your bed.
Turn to supplements
While there are plenty of natural ways to recover after a workout, people who take their fitness very seriously might want to check out some additions to their recovery program. You can easily include a BCAA and EAA powder supplements into your post-workout regime in order to decrease muscle soreness and improve recovery after an especially intense workout.
Additionally, this supplement can boost the immune functions of your body, so you might feel in top shape to tackle any sort of physical activity.
Take ice baths
Some athletes love taking ice baths or doing contrast water therapy after a workout in order to improve recovery time and reduce muscle soreness. Contrast water therapy involves alternating hot and cold showers, and according to limited research, the repeated constriction and dilation of blood vessels flushes out toxins from the tissue faster.
You can try this for yourself during your post-workout shower. Alternate hot and cold water (2 minutes of hot, 30 seconds of cold water with a minute of moderate temperature water in between two extremes) and enjoy your invigorating spa treatment.
One of the best things you can do for your overall health and wellbeing is stretching. This activity helps with muscle soreness and recovery and it can also prevent future injuries providing you with the best potential for success. And don’t skip your days off.
Just because you didn’t hit the gym, it doesn’t mean your muscles don’t need a stretch. If you’re very tight with time, you can concentrate on less-localized stretches and choose full-body movement and even light exercises like squats, plank and lunges.
Foam rollers are a great tool to have in your workout bag. They are cheap and effective when it comes to breaking up those painful knots and especially sore spots. What rolling does is break up scar tissue in your fascia (a sheet of connective tissue that separates muscles and organs).
These knots and scars are the main reason why we develop sore muscles and joints, so it’s very important to tackle them before they wreak havoc in your body. And rolling out your muscles is easy and fast: a few minutes of rolling in the morning and evening will sort out those sore spots and ensure you feel pain-free and ready to kill your workouts.
This is probably one of the easiest and most satisfying ways to battle muscle soreness and boost recovery. Down-time is a necessity of every human, and if you think you can function just fine on 5 or 6 hours of sleep per night, just know that you’re not providing your body with enough time to recover. This can result in reduced recovery time and even potential injuries in the future. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep per night and you’ll see how fresh you feel in the morning.
With these recovery tips up your sleeve, you will feel better than ever after your workout. Knowing your muscles are in good shape and safe from injury will motivate you to push yourself even harder and achieve even better results.