A common misconception regarding fitness is that the more frequently you train the better the results. It sounds logical enough, however, it’s been proven that the actual workout process is not where your body is forced to take shape or tone. That can only happen during the recovery process.
The Importance Of Rest And Recovery
Your rest and recovery routine is a vital component of your overall fitness goals, and if you want the best results possible you’re going to need a foolproof post-workout plan that will quickly boost your performance and maximize your gains. Getting plenty of rest allows the body to recover from tissue damage and replenish energy. The more intense the exercise the more critical it is that your body repairs itself. This is the time when the muscle tissue is forced to rebuild and become stronger than it was before. Taking the right approach to this process may accelerate the recovery phase and be more effective in the long run.
Tips For Faster & More Effective Recovery
Drink Lots of Water
Your body expels massive amounts of fluid during a workout in order to naturally cool itself. It’s important to the recovery process that you rehydrate the body after intense physical activity. This will help you avoid muscle fatigue and soreness by nourishing the tissue with oxygen. Water is always the preferred liquid to hydrate the body, but there are other beverages that can improve recovery specifically designed for recovery, including post workout smoothies or homemade juices. If you are going to use packaged powders or supplements for recovery, make sure that you opt for varieties that are plant-based and free of added sugars and flavors.
Get At Least 8 Hours of Sleep
Not only is it important to get a good night’s sleep in general, but sleep is especially important after you’ve put the body through extreme physical activity. It’s also natural to feel tired or sleepy after a workout. Don’t fight your body’s urge to rest because your body is signaling you that it needs to recharge. Getting a sufficient amount of rest (between 7-8 hours is the ideal time you should sleep for every night) is the best way to speed up the recovery process. When you sleep your body works to repair damaged cells and tissues, making it so they can withstand future resistance during exercise. This is how you’re able to gain muscle and strength as you proceed in your exercise regimen.
Stretching is not only good before you engage in exercise, but it’s also very effective post workout. It’s a quick and simple way to release tension from the muscles in order to avoid cramping and future injuries. After working on a particular muscle group, take time to perform a full stretch routine to help relax the muscles and accelerate the recovery process. Nothing’s worse than experiencing muscle spasms or cramps that are so painful that they awaken you from deep sleep. Be sure to stretch before and after every exercise session.
Eat A Healthy High-Protein Meal
A nutritious post workout meal will leave you feeling fueled and energized, putting your body on the fast track to recovery. Eat a healthy balanced meal right after your workout and the following meal for the best results. It’s highly recommended that you omit dairy, fried foods, and processed foods from your post workout meals. Unhealthy foods that are packed with preservatives and saturated fats will not only hinder you recovery and add more toxins and mucus to your body. This will minimize your gains and prolong the amount of time your body needs to recover since your cells are being deprived of healthy enzymes.
Take An Ice Bath
A staple with many of today’s top athletes and fitness gurus, ice baths are used to reduce muscle soreness and prevent tears and injuries. If a full bath of ice is too much cold to handle, use an icepack on the sore areas for approximately 20 minutes to help with your recovery time. The ice decreases inflammation in the sore area and acts like a mild anesthetic by numbing the muscle tissue to relieve any aches or pain that comes with having sore muscles.
Do Not Over-Train
This goes without saying, but overtraining undermines the recovery process and can prolong muscle fatigue. The lack of rest will diminish muscle gains, since your cell tissues are not given ample time to rebuild. Try taking at least two days off that specific muscle group to give it time to recover.
Get A Massage
Nothing feels better on sore muscles than a good massage that relaxes muscle fibers and breaks down fascia for release. Massaging the tissue after an intense workout will improve blood circulation and relieve tension. It also helps heal scar tissue and provides relief to muscle aches and cramps.