There are many things to consider—beyond the time you spend in the gym—when trying to maximize your workouts.
Let’s say you spend 60 minutes in a gym, four times a week. What about the other 23 hours of the day?Your workout is the catalyst to changing your body, but it’s the quality of your recovery process that’ll ensure you keep improving.
Let’s take a closer look at the best post-workout recovery tips.
When it comes to the importance of sleep, there are no myths or exaggerations. The majority of healing and regeneration happens when we sleep.
We spend a third of our lives sleeping. If that doesn’t dictate the importance of sleep to you, maybe some other facts will. Getting a good night’s rest is essential even for people who don’t train, but for fitness enthusiasts, the need is even higher because our bodies are under more stress.
Your muscle builds and repairs in your sleep.
So does your brain and every other cell that makes up your body. Interrupted or poor-quality sleep can impede your fitness goals significantly by slowing down the fat burn, impeding your workouts, and increasing overall fatigue.
Quality sleep boosts every function of the mind and body and sets you up for the next day ahead, recharged and revitalized. If for nothing else, quality sleep keeps your hormones and mood in the right place.
Tip: Consider buying a quality mattress. It’s one of the best investments you can make for your body.
Learn more in this article on how to get quality sleep.
The next most important thing that helps you recover after a workout is nutrition. If your body is an engine, then food is your fuel to run efficiently.
Without proper attention to your diet, your training efforts will be futile. If you aren’t getting enough protein, fats or carbohydrates then your body can suffer in many ways and you will witness an impaired immune system among other problems.
A lack of protein will lead to impaired muscle gains, a lack of fats can disrupt your hormonal balance, and a lack of carbohydrates means you are depriving the body of its preferred source of energy.
We all have a basic metabolic rate, which is measured by how many calories we burn individually in a 24 hour period. Once you have worked this out, you need to work out how many calories you need for your specific goals compared to how many you burn.
Drinking enough fluids is possibly one of the most neglected areas of a fitness regime.
Hydration is important because water helps with the digestion of the food and transport of nutrients around the body. (Your body is made up of 70 percent water.)
Lack of hydration can lead to fatigue, excess fluid retention, dry, and loss of strength.
Tip: A popular method to combat dehydration is to drink from a measured container each day so that by the end of the day when you’ve consumed the fluid in your container, you can know for sure that you’ve reached your target intake for the day.
I know, I know. You know this…but then why aren’t you doing it?
There are a lot of myths when it comes to stretching and how it actually helps with recovery. The main goal is to apply force on a muscle to improve the range of motion, decrease stiffness and improve recovery or aid in preparation for physical activity.
Stretching after your workout helps realign your muscles back to their original state and therefore decreases the risks of stiffness in the days to come.
While there are a lot of conflicting studies on when is the best time to do each study, your recovery will go much better if you add stretching as part of your training plan.
Active recovery is great for people who just can’t keep themselves out of the gym. This type of physical activity is less about intensity and more about bringing your body back to optimal performance.
Light cardio or weight sessions have a lot of therapeutic effects on your nervous system. It may include anything from taking a walk to being active in, yes, the bedroom.
When done correctly, massage therapy can have significant benefits on your recovery from a workout.
For best results it is recommended to get them on a regular basis, but even after one massage, you can expect a reduction in inflammation, improved blood circulation and release of any tightness.
The more you train, the more beneficial massage therapy will be to you. A deep tissue sports massage can alleviate problems you weren’t even aware you had. That is why it’s the best type of massage to help recover from a workout.
Of course, there are less extreme types of massage available that are more comfortable and will still enhance your recovery after a workout.
Using a sauna after a workout can help your body get rid of any toxins and waste materials that are a byproduct of physical activity, and have been proved to speed up the recovery process after a workout.
They can also temporarily relieve pain due and help you relax after a workout.
It doesn’t matter whether you try a traditional Finnish steam sauna or a dry infrared sauna. There are many sauna health benefits and both types will help you with the recovery from your sore muscles.
It is very important to stay hydrated and drink more fluid than normal when you use a sauna, otherwise, you can run the risk of heat exhaustion and impede your overall performance.
Another great way to prevent sore muscles is through contrast water therapy. The idea is very simple: switch between hot and cold water repeatedly during your shower or bath.
Similarly to massages and saunas, this improves blood circulations, prevents muscle soreness, and can benefit your immune system.
It’s all very simple.
Recovery is an essential part of every fitness and workout routine. If it sounds complicated, just remember that it all comes down to one thing: listening to your body.
As you’ll keep moving forward, you will find out what recovery methods work the best for you.