Updated: Mar 5, 2019
Believe it or not, your workout recovery is actually as important or even more important for your body than your workout itself. The steps you take to rest and heal your muscles can have a huge impact on your gains. Not sure exactly what you should be doing to properly recover? Look no further. Elite has your back.
1. Stretch. Stretching should be done immediately following your workout as well as the next day when your muscles actually feel sore. Stretching helps to lengthen muscles and prevent he buildup of lactic acid, the root of post-workout soreness and stiffness, and can help you have a speedier (not to mention less painful) recovery.
2. Refuel. Intense workouts require us to tap into our bodies’ stored nutrients. Specifically, we break down our muscles glycerine supply, and to build it back up, we need a combination of protein and carbs. Great post-workout foods include (but are not limited to!) chicken, salmon, sweet potato, eggs, fruits, and veggies. Chocolate milk also provides the perfect post-workout combo of carbs and protein, my personal favorite!
3. Hydrate. Hydrate or die, as they say! Drinking water is vital for a proper recovery. Dehydration, which can be caused by excessive heat and sweating that occurs during and after a tough workout is not only threatening to our fitness progress, but to our overall health as well. Your body is made up mostly of water, so make sure to not only drink water periodically throughout the day, but to replenish the supply after exercise to keep your body’s systems in tip top operation.
4. Sleep. Much of your body’s “behind the scenes” fitness work happens while we sleep. This includes processes like the cleansing of toxins and building of stronger muscles. To experience the deepest effects of a workout, getting a full night’s sleep is imperative. Without it, your body won’t have adequate time (or energy!) be able to effectively rebuild and strengthen.
5. ice/heat/ibuprofen. This recovery tip is geared more towards your comfort than the actually healing of your body, although ice is a great way to reduce the swelling and
inflammation of aching muscles to promote a faster recovery. If heat is more your speed, go for that! A warm bath with epsom salts (found at your local grocer) is a great option to relax and rejoivinate sore muscles. If your muscle soreness is affecting your usual daily activities,
don’t be afraid to take one or two tablets of ibuprofen. Ibuprofen is about as noninvasive as a drug can be, is sold over the counter, and is used widely for pain reduction in and outside of the medical field. Of course, if you have never used ibuprofen before or are concerned about the way it will interact with your system, ask a medical professional first.
6. Repeat! You should be practicing proper recovery every time you work out.True athletes are not just those who are dedicated to exercise. They are also dedicated to taking proper care of their bodies in order to reap the full benefits of their hard work.