7 Top Tips To Speed Up Recovery After a Workout
And 1 to stop it from slowing down
We’ve all hit the gym, given it our all, and then been almost completely bed-bound the next day. It’s tough to remain motivated enduring aches and pains, without an already iron will. I’ve started the gym countless times, and I always end up quitting after a week or so.
I know what my problem is, I push myself too hard and my body aches for days afterwards. After doing some research though, I figured how to reduce those aches and pains as much as possible. Here are my Top Tips to Speed up Recovery after a Workout.
Drinking plenty of water helps to keep both your brain and muscles operating at peak efficiency. The majority of people are dehydrated and don’t even know it. I used to be one of them, only drinking when I’m thirsty and that’s it.
Drinking water only when you’re thirsty is like waiting for your phone battery to completely run out before you charge it. You simply shouldn’t do it. Instead, it’s best to have a bottle of water with you throughout the day and take a sip every 30 minutes or so.
It’s always better to maintain something, then repair it when it’s broken - and your body is no different. This way, you’ll be able to stay fully hydrated and keep your body performing exactly as it’s meant to.
Get plenty of sleep
We all know sleep is great at helping us perform effectively, but did you know that a lack of sleep actually hinders our recovery rate?
How much (or little) sleep we get affects the entire body. Be it the brain, heart, immune system, mood, or metabolism; it’s all reliant on how much rest we get every night.
If you’re regularly sleep-deprived, this will greatly slow down your rate of recovery in the short term: it could also do substantial damage to your body in the long term. It’s best you sacrifice that late night to make sure you get enough sleep, especially if you just seem to be endlessly scrolling on your phone.
+ Increase your protein intake
One of the most important nutrients that your body gets after a workout is protein. It’s the thing that’s responsible for your muscles being able to repair themselves quickly and effectively. So how do you get it?
Chicken. Eggs. Almonds. Greek Yoghurt. Milk.
All of these foods are incredibly rich in proteins, and exactly what you need to be eating in order to make sure your body has everything it needs to keep rebuilding all of those muscle fibres.
Have a rest day
Your body can’t recover if you’re constantly using it. You need to stop every once in a while, if you want your body to repair itself properly. It’s like if you spent time downloading updates for your computer, but never let them install. Everything would just get slower and eventually, it would crash.
That’s not saying you shouldn’t do anything on your rest days. At the very least I would recommend some stretching, but taking up Yoga or Tai Chi is far more beneficial. By doing lighter activities, you allow your body to enter an ‘active recovery’ state. This aids blood flow, bringing more nutrients to your muscles and helps to remove excess lactic acid too.
If you’ve done hard or prolonged exercise of any sort, it’s likely you felt your muscles become tight and ‘knotted’. When this happens you can feel extremely sore, with the muscles themselves feeling completely solid. The best way to relieve this tension is to have a massage on the affected area, though a foam roller could be used as the next best alternative.
Massage therapy has been proven to greatly reduce muscle soreness. Even if you can’t get a professional massage, some kneading of the sore areas can improve circulation and aid your recovery.
Drink some chocolate milk
I know what you’re thinking. “Chocolate milk? That’s a kids drink, how can that help?” Well surprisingly enough, chocolate milk has an outstanding amount of both carbohydrates and proteins.
Both of which your body needs, especially after exercise. When you just finish a workout, your body is desperately searching for any sort of nourishment - and this is the perfect time to have a glass or so of chocolate milk.
The high levels of protein and other nutrients will be able to kickstart your recovery, and decrease overall muscle soreness. Perfect to get you ready for your next workout.
Exercise works by breaking apart the fibres in your muscles, and then repairing said fibres. Vitamin C is a fantastic vitamin that helps to repair the muscle tissue, but most aren’t getting enough of it.
Found primarily in citrus fruits, and several other vegetables, the vast majority of us simply don’t get enough vitamin C in our daily consumption. This is a major problem, and it can leave many of us with a vitamin C deficiency - leading to delayed muscle recovery and tissue repair.
There are two simple solutions, however. You can either change your diet to include more citrus fruits and vegetables, or you can take vitamin supplementals. If you’ve got a busy schedule, or don’t have time to try and change your diet, then I’d say your best bet is to order Vitamin C supplements.
Don’t have a cold bath
For years we’ve been told that a cold water bath is exactly what you need to help muscles recover after exercise. Now though, new studies have shed some light that this may not be the best idea after all.
Two conducted studies have found that bathing in ice-cold water was actually inhibiting the post-exercise recovery of muscles. The temperature of the water was actually putting cells into an anti-growth state, leading to a delayed recovery.
Your best bet is to avoid ice-baths as a form of muscle therapy, and instead go for a warm bath or shower. The heat is able to relax your muscles, without delaying their recovery.
Now it’s your turn
These are all things that I’ve found help me when I work out. I understand that not all of these tips will work for everyone, but even if some are helpful then that’s good enough. Give these a go, and you’ll be able to get those gains without the pains.