You probably know this feeling well. The soreness, aches, and pain which come as a result of starting a new workout routine or by pushing yourself harder than before.
On one hand, it does feel like a badge of honor and “proof” that progress was made. On the other hand, it makes it harder for you to go for your next planned session, break plateaus, and actually stay on the right track.
Even though soreness is not the only indicator of a good workout (since you can have great results without feeling sore), it’s still something that you’ll inevitably encounter if you train.
And, if you’re focused on results, one killer workout alone won’t get things going. That means you need a way to recover properly so that soreness doesn’t shut you down.
The Foundation of Muscle Recovery
It may be difficult to completely prevent tired muscles, but there is still a lot you can do to speed up recovery, rejuvenate, and make it very unlikely that you’ll get hurt or be as sore.
However, before we go over the best ways to recover after your workouts, it’s important to remember two of the most effective techniques: sleep and walking.
Sleep is imperative for every person, but for us fitness enthusiasts who exercise regularly, getting a good night’s rest is non-negotiable. The standard number of 8 hours each night will do the trick.
Walking might not feel like much, but it actually is an incredible way to add movement and increase blood flow that will make your joints and muscles feel better. Our body likes movement, but not necessary a challenging one. That is why walking is a perfect approach for reducing soreness.
Best Ways to Improve Muscle Recovery
Now that we have the basics covered, it’s time to look at some additional recovery tips that are exactly what your body needs to bounce back faster!
1. Get Some Protein
Protein shakes are very useful for those seeking to improve muscle recovery and greater their gains.
After a strenuous workout, your body seeks more than just regular nutrition – it needs extra protein to help repair the broken down muscle fibers. This necessary protein is easily accessible by consuming a protein shake, which in turn can help you recover quickly and efficiently.
Additionally, increased protein intake encourages the body to produce vital hormones that promote muscular development and repair.
2. Balanced Post-Workout Meal
Fueling your body with the right foods can make all the difference in muscle recovery, as a balanced post-workout meal is essential for building muscle and repairing damaged tissue. Having a meal high in protein, healthy carbohydrates, and low in fats, will ensure your body has the necessary ingredients to optimize muscle recovery.
Protein is crucial because it contains amino acids muscles use to build and repair themselves. As mentioned, protein needs are the highest after your workout, so without this macronutrient adequate muscle recovery is not possible.
Carbohydrates are essential after a workout since they provide the body with a readily available source of energy that replenishes glycogen stores which have been depleted during exercise. Additionally, carbs stimulate the release of insulin, which aids in muscle protein synthesis, promoting muscle repair and growth. Including carbs in your post-workout meal or snack also helps prevent muscle breakdown and creates a favorable environment for recovery.
Even though fats are very helpful and wanted in our diet, they are not necessary immediately after a workout because they digest slower and may hinder the absorption of other nutrients needed for post-workout recovery.
Things like turmeric, garlic, omega-3's, will help reduce inflammation. As well as supplements like caffeine and beet(s) have nitric oxide which helps improve blood flow and can help with reduce muscle soreness.
3. Range of motion/Mobility
Every day movement or mobility is a vital part of muscle recovery. Not only does it increase blood flow to the muscles, but it also reduces tension. Taking time to move, regen, or work on corrective exercise after any physical activity allows the tissues to recover, increasing their range of motion.
It basically starts the rebuilding process, decreases soreness, improves flexibility, and eliminating toxins released during training.
With just a few range of motion exercises each day, before and after workouts, you can tremendously speed up recovery, allowing you to boost performance in the future.
You’ve probably heard this one over and over again, but it truly is one the quickest and easiest ways to ensure proper muscle recovery.
Increased liquid intake helps to replace the fluids lost during exercise, removing lactic acid and other byproducts created during muscle break down as well.
Hydration flushes out toxins and helps transport essential nutrients to muscles and joints. Drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercise can help replenish energy levels so you can return to the next workout prepared.
A very popular approach to improve muscle recovery among gym goers is creatine. This supplement is widely used to aid in muscular development and post-workout recovery.
Taking creatine can increase your ability to produce energy quickly during intense exercise, helping you build more strength and muscle mass. Besides that, creatine also helps reduce muscle breakdown, meaning better recovery between gym sessions.
Additionally, creatine can aid in mental performance by enhancing brain function and focus.
Supplementing with creatine will help you have better athletic performance and recovery.
There are a lot of things which can speed up muscle recovery. However, as with anything, there is no quick fix. The best thing you can do is to simply implement the basic elements from today’s blog and see what works best for you.
Experiment and see what provides optimal results. And always remember to listen to your body.