How you recover after a workout is essential to your fitness goals. As you build strength, your muscles naturally create micro-tears to allow for growth. Without a proper post-workout recovery routine and rest period, these tears can become injuries and hinder future workouts.
Not all recovery activities are created equal. Your workout intensity, frequency and duration are important factors to consider when crafting a post-workout recovery to fit your health needs and goals. If you’re looking to get the most out of your workouts, recovery needs to be a top priority. Learn how to crush it in the gym and stay at the top of your game with our favorite tips for post-workout recovery.
Cool Down Stretching
Stretching is a key player in muscle growth, and often doesn’t get enough attention. Remaining flexible increases both your muscle pliability and range of motion, helping you properly execute your moves and letting your muscles build to their full potential. Stretching post-workout is effective in releasing lactic acid, relieving muscle tenderness and preventing muscle cramps.
What you consume pre-workout plays a vital role in establishing the tissue-rebuilding process once the workout is finished. It is recommended you consume food two hours prior to exercising in order to avoid digestion problems and cramping. In accordance with the intensity of your workout, you want to reach for lean proteins and complex carbohydrates to help with endurance and stamina.
As your muscles experience natural micro-tears during the muscle building process, you may encounter inflammation, stiffness and pain. CBD oil contains natural compounds that help decrease muscle spasms and alleviate inflammation. CBD is a powerful antioxidant that works to reduce oxidative stress after intense workouts, by fighting free radical damage and aiding in cell regeneration.
Drinking water is crucial to workout performance and recovery. Staying hydrated promotes glycogen synthesis (how your body recovers its energy) and helps regulate body temperature to assist in tissue breakdown. The Institute of Medicine recommends drinking eleven 8 oz. glasses of water per day. Aim for drinking water before, during and after your workouts to remain properly hydrated. It takes 75-120 minutes for water to be fully absorbed into your system, so you want to avoid playing catch-up after your workout when your body is already dehydrated.
Taking a day to rest gives your body a well-deserved break after exhausting your muscles day after day, in addition to giving your body time to rebuild muscle. Remaining physically engaged on rest days is referred to as active recovery. Some active recovery activities include taking a light walk, a slow bike ride or tossing around a football with friends. These light activities don’t push the limits or put strain on your muscles. Non-strenuous cardio and exercises after high-intensity workouts promote blood flow and increases circulation, helping to relieve sore muscles.
A Good Night’s Sleep
Most adults are not getting enough sleep. The recommended 7-9 hours of sleep is necessary in helping your body restore itself. When you do not get enough sleep, you deprive your body of crucial rest time needed to perform protein synthesis, hormone balancing and tissue repair. When you are physically and mentally exhausted, you are more likely to skip a workout and make poor food decisions, depriving your body of much needed fuel to keep you energized throughout the day.
Consuming protein is an excellent way to generate muscle growth and repair, as well as keeping you energized during and after your workout. Protein shakes are one of the most popular and convenient ways to get the protein you need, and also allow you to throw other nutrients into the mix (kale, almonds and other pick-me-ups). Studies show that the optimal time to consume protein is 30-60 minutes after a workout to maximize anabolism (a process that takes energy to build molecules).
Staying consistent with your post-workout recovery plan is essential to getting the most from your workouts. Always be sure to give your body the rest and recovery time it needs to restore itself and prepare for the next workout.