10 Tips On How To Speed Up Muscle Recovery After A Workout
If you’re a person who spends a large part of week working out, that’s awesome and we applaud you. But you’ll surely know – as we know – that you have to give your muscles a chance to recover between workouts. And if you didn’t know this already, we’re pretty sure you’ve found out by now. Ouch.
Unfortunately, a lot of people get muscle recovery wrong. Rather than speed it up, they slow it down. Rather than do the right things to optimise recovery, they pig out in front of the television with junk food, until it’s time to hit the gym again. But what you do on your days-off is just as important as what you do during your days on. So to help you maximise your muscle rehabilitation program, let’s take a look at 10 tips on how to speed up muscle recovery after a workout.
1. Work Your Joints And Improve Your Circulation
The problem a lot of us have after a workout is that we feel so accomplished that we believe we can just rest for a few days. Relax, take it easy. Maybe we stick a De Caprio movie on, put our feet up and eat some junk. After all, we just did a massive workout session, so we deserve it, right?!
Sorry, no! Instead, you have to stay nimble and active – even on your days off. Working out is a full-time vocation, it’s not something you can do on and off. On your days off you should keep moving your wrists, arms and knees. Open and close those joints to introduce fresh synovial fluids that will hydrate any dry areas. Because a dry limb is a sore limb.
2. Always Hydrate
If you don’t drink enough water after a workout, your body can dehydrate, which can lead to painful muscles. Moreover, if you fail to hydrate properly after a workout, your body won’t be flushed of harmful toxins. We recommend absorbing around 2-3 litres of water on the day you exercise.
3. Reduce Muscle Tension With A Foam Roller
Pain after a workout is natural, and is often a result of muscle tension. To help reduce this pain, you can use a semi-soft foam roller that massages your muscles. This method is fabulous and helps to break up scar tissue. If you don’t break up this niggling scar tissue, it can continue to cause the kinds of aches and pains that keep you awake at night. You should use your foam roller before and after bed.
4. Implement Isometrics Instead of High-Intensity Exercises
Nope, this is not mathematics we’re talking about here. Isometrics are gentle, controlled strength-building moves that include lots of stretching. On your day off, we recommend indulging in isometrics in a bid to aid recovery, because if you hold a specific position for a longer duration (which is what isometrics is), you’re still engaging your muscles, but at a much lower intensity. In this way, your body is being pumped with the right amount of nutrients and blood in preparation for your next workout.
5. Use Muscle Creams
One of the biggest complaints we hear from women after a workout is that they often find it too painful to sit. Hard surfaces are a definite no-no, and this kind of niggling pain is often enough to put some of us off from ever working out again. To remedy this pain, you should apply muscle creams. Muscle creams, such as IcyHot, are fantastic for soothing our muscle pain and they are an essential part of the recovery process for a lot of people.
6. Do Overhead Squats
If you’re exhausted after a workout session and just want a day off, the last thing you’ll want to hear right now is us telling you to do some overhead squats. But if there has ever been a queen of mobility exercises, it’s the overhead squat, and if you can master it, your workouts will improve 50%. Overhead squats help muscle recovery by strengthening your joints and promoting blood flow, which consequently reduces the chances of aching joints and soreness during the recovery period. Yay.
If you’re one of those workout people who lives a very active lifestyle, and who firmly believes that you’re at the top of your game and don’t need to get much sleep – you’re wrong. Our bodies need sleep, and sleep is never more vital than it is after a draining workout session.
When we sleep, our body heals. If you think you only need 5 hours rest after a workout, you’re just not listening to your body, nor do you give it the time it needs to recover. If you want to speed up muscle recovery, we suggest at least 7-8 hours a night.
8. Eat Foods Rich In Potassium
In terms of post-workout food, potassium-rich foods should be high up in your list. As well as protein, potassium is a key nutrient in your post-workout recovery regime, and it’s a fundamental mineral that plays a key role in muscular energy. Without enough potassium, your muscles will feel exhausted, and the speed at which they recovery will be much slower.
Excellent food sources include bananas and potatoes, and because these foods are so convenient and versatile, you can mix them up with a whole tonne of other foods.
9. Ice Up
One of the easiest and yet most effective ways to aid muscle recovery after a workout is to apply an icepack to any painful muscles. They won’t be soothed immediately, but recovering process will be much quicker than it would be otherwise. This is almost like an old wives tale, but it’s so effective that we just love it.
10. Drink Chocolate Milk
But you didn’t think you’d see chocolate on this list, did you? Well, think again! Chocolate milk comes with a whole host of health benefits for our body, not least because it is loaded with flavorins that look after our heart. It also comes with protein and it’s this potent combination that makes it a super recovery aid after an intense workout.
And if you’re concerned about chocolate milk from a general store being unhealthy, you can always make your own. You just need some almond milk or coconut cream, cocoa or carob powder and honey. Perfect.