Although working hard and blowing off steam during your workout feels great, it can start to become frustrating when fatigue kicks in and progressing to the next level seems all but a distant dream.
This is why recovery and rest are essential elements in any fitness program, with many coaches and personal trainers actually arguing that understanding this is more important than the workout itself. The bottom line is, your muscles must recover before any progress can be made. So just how can you help your muscles recover faster?
Tweak your post workout protein plan
Ever wondered why your fellow gym goers are chugging down a shake immediately after the workout? Well, they are actually supplying their muscles with the necessary fuel to improve growth. A protein fix before and straight after your workout can help your body repair itself efficiently.
Sleep it off
Getting plenty of sleep is probably the most effective natural treatment. The right amount of sleep will not only contribute towards your muscular recovery, it also aids in improving your mental health and hormonal balance. Anywhere between seven to ten hours is enough for most athletes.
Top tips for sleeping after a workout:
If you’ve had a particularly gruelling workout, especially in the evening, the endorphins and adrenaline will be coursing through your body. This can result in you feeling both exhausted and energised at the same time, which can lead to difficulties when trying to get to sleep. Here are Wellman’s top tips for getting rest after an evening workout:
- Sleep in a natural setting, preferably in darkness and with no artificial lighting
- Avoid playing on your phone before bed
- If possible, wake up naturally with the sun
- Cooler temperatures and fresh air will help improve sleep quality
- Magnesium contributes to the normal release of energy and also contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. A magnesium supplement added into your daily routine may help with both of these.
As a standard recommendation, most health authorities agree that you should drink two litres of water a day. However, after exercise, you obviously need a bit extra. Once your workout comes to an end, you will no doubt be thirsty. Drinking plenty of water post workout will ensure that you restore your fluid levels, which means your muscles will recover faster, too.
- Check your urine – the darker it is, the more dehydrated you are
- Don’t be tempted by sports drinks just because they taste good. Sports drinks are often full of sugar, which can defeat the purpose of your training regime. They should be saved for the most gruelling workouts.
For better or for worse, everything we consume affects our body. As is painfully obvious by now, processed foods, alcohol and cigarettes all contain toxins that harm your body. The best thing you can do is eat clean and balanced meals that contain all the essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. Consider also using vitamin supplements to help safeguard your daily intake of key nutrients for muscle health and recovery.
- Write down a meal plan and buy only what you need for the week
- Buy healthy foods to snack on, such as fruits and nuts
Ice ice baby
One simple hack you can use to speed up muscle recovery is to apply an icepack after a tough workout, since doing so will help reduce unnecessary swelling and preserve your muscles for the next session.
Don’t forget to stretch
Stretching is essential for muscle recovery, especially on your off days. Consider taking up yoga, since this type of active recovery will not only help you destress, it will take all of your joints and muscles through a safe range of motion. If you are strapped for time, try some light body stretches such as planks, lunges and squats.
By combining these tips you should see your muscles well on the way to recovery in between future workouts moving forward!