My clients constantly complain of pain from our work outs..especially when they first begin! From walking down the stairs, to sitting on the toilet seat, to even laughing brings them pain after such a vicious work out. Many people believe that training hard consistently is the key to results. YES it is very important, but so is the proper recovery in between your work outs! If you don't listen to your body and give yourself a chance to recover between workouts, then you won’t get the most out of your performance and results. However, there's more to recovery than being lazy and chilling out in front of the TV for three days. Here are my top choice muscle recovery tips, so you can hit the gym stronger, faster, and more refreshed than ever.
Get plenty of sleep!
One of the simplest yet most effective muscle recovery tips is simply to get a good night's sleep. Have you ever tried working out after a long night of partying or even after a long night of crash studying? It’s a disaster waiting to happen..your work out, more than likely, will suck! Contrary to popular belief, you can’t “catch up” on sleep. Your body just doesn't work that way. You need to get between 7-8 hours of sleep EVERY night. Try to actively plan out when you will go to bed to when you will wake up so that you have adequate amount of sleep.
Proper hydration makes every function of the human body more efficient. Try drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. Especially when you are working it, its even more important. Drinking water during and after your workout helps rid your body of waste products and prevents dehydration. Dehydrated muscles are more likely to be injured and often can result in painful cramps and muscle spasms during and after work outs.
Eat enough protein.
Protein is the building block of muscle tissue, and when you're in the recovery phase of your workout you'll need a lot of it. Keeping your body properly fueled can be challenging, but preparing beforehand and always having healthy snacks, protein shakes, and small prepare meals readily available is key!
Incorporate active recovery.
By simply adding in a few light resistance exercises to the end of your workout or on an off day, you can increase blood flow and nutrients to your muscles after a training session. I always tell me clients to get moving in between session and stay active in between sessions. Active recovery helps remove waste products, like lactic acid, that can hinder muscle recovery. Try going on a light jog after a painful work out and see how much less pain you feel after. Other low intensity exercises good for active recovery include walking, yoga, and swimming.
If you spend the majority of your week lifting heavy weights or performing other high intensity exercises, it's important that you supplement your workout with time off. It’s okay to take a day or two off in between to recover from a vicious work out, so you can go hard for the next work out. Plus, the muscle recovery phase after a workout is the time when your body rebuilds (your muscle fibers) and re-energizes your muscles.
Stretch every day!
One of my best exercise recovery tips that you can follow every time, which was also help prevent future injuries, is stretching. As you exercise your muscles tighten up. Stretching helps you relax muscle tension and decrease soreness the next day. Try to stretch every day, even if it’s just for a couple of minutes. Your body will thank you later.
Roll out sore muscles.
When it comes to muscle recovery tips, foam rollers can be a great help. It may hurt at first over sore muscles, but it will help relax muscle tension, break up knots, increase blood flow, and reduce inflammation. I recommend running the roller over your sore muscle groups in the morning when you wake up, before you got to bed, and before your workout (if you have the time).
Take a hot epsom salt bath
Soaking in warm water can help relax muscles and loosen stiff joints. Add some epsom salt to your bath. The magnesium in it is a mineral your body needs, which can be absorbed through the skin as you are soak in the bath. The mineral helps relax muscles by flushing out lactic acid buildup in the muscles.
By focusing on your rest and recovery in between work outs will help maximize your fitness results. So don’t just pay attention how hard and how often you are exercising, pay attention to your recovery days as well!