5 Easy Ways To Maximize Your Post-Workout Recovery

Madhura Mohan

Posted on August 26 2020

If you are the one looking to change your body composition or increase your muscle mass, how do you think your muscles grow? If you answered, by lifting weights, you are partially right. You only set the foundation for muscle building when you lift weights, your actual muscle building happens during the recovery period. I am sure those of you who have followed our blog, The Importance Of Proper Recovery After A Workout know that already. Well, in today’s post, you are going to learn how to make recovery happen...

 

A Need To Focus On Post-Workout Recovery

Following an intense workout, there will be micro-trauma or tears in the muscle fibres. This damage will stimulate muscle cell activity (hypertrophy in the long term) and help in the repair and strengthening of the muscles. Failing to compensate for the muscle tissue damage and going to the gym prematurely only increases your risk of getting injured.

Your tired muscles provide inadequate support for tendons, ligaments, joints, increasing the risk of stress and strains. Proper recovery provides your muscles and tissues the necessary time to repair and rebuild themselves between workouts.

 

Your post-workout recovery routine has a big impact on your fitness gains and performance.

 

1. POST WORKOUT NUTRITION

The proper nutrient intake and nutrient timing are the chief attributes which allow for enhanced recovery and tissue repair following high volume exercise. You’ll have depleted your energy stores after your exercise and not restoring them with the right fuel will lead to compromised results. Muscle growth depends on protein synthesis being greater than protein breakdown. To counteract the breakdown of muscle protein that is currently underway, look to take protein immediately after a workout. Individuals training in a calorie-deficit state significantly require more protein to offset any potential loss of muscle mass.

Ideally, you should try to get the nutrition within 60 minutes of the end of your workout.

When it comes to post-workout meal, make sure to get high-quality, fast-digesting, lean protein along with some complex carbohydrates. Always opt for unprocessed/cold-processed, natural sources of micro and macronutrients.

A protein shake post-workout gives your muscles a quick shot of amino acids to jump-start recovery, while also helping you meet your total protein requirements.

Whey protein, plant protein, oatmeal, almonds, peanut butter, electrolytes, spinach, berries, chia seeds, water, eggs, omega 3 fatty acids, curcumin (anti-inflammatory), green tea(may help process carbs and protein effectively), minerals like zinc, magnesium are some of the best post-workout nutrients that help the body recover faster.

Right workout with the right fuel at the right timing will get the right results…

 

2. REST & RELAX

Those new into the fitness arena or inexperienced gym-goers believe that the more their muscles hurt, the better the training sessions will be. Overworking without planned rest/recovery phase in the pursuit of achieving a better physique will give you zero results. It takes nearly 24 to 48 hours for the muscles to repair and rebuild, and working them again too soon leads to tissue breakdown instead of building. Here comes your second recovery point of priority…

While adequate sleep is becoming increasingly compromised in current times, proper sleep is especially crucial if you are looking to change body composition, and increase muscle mass.

-> Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone release.

-> To achieve your fitness goals, you’ll need high levels of focus and motivation, which can get hampered without adequate sleep.

-> Sufficient rest will allow your body to adapt well to the training stimulus.

-> Hard workouts take more of a toll on your body, hence your immune function will be impaired without adequate sleep.

-> Elevated levels of cortisol produced during intense exercise can lead to increased blood pressure or weight gain. It is important to give yourself adequate rest and sleep to calm the stress hormones and to rebuild physical and mental strength.

 

3. PROPER HYDRATION

You often hear fitness trainers saying adequate hydration is must, but it has to be emphasized again. Dehydration harms your performance potential, hampers circulation of oxygen, electrolyte balance, makes you feel lethargic, and reduces motivation.

The National Academics Of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine have determined that the minimum amount of fluid intake per day for males should be 3.7 litres per day and 2.7 litres per day for females.

Loss of water through sweat produced by exercising makes hydration very necessary. Proper fluid replacement becomes crucial for endurance athletes who lose large amounts of water during hours of sweating.

Proper hydration lubricates the joints, transports nutrients all over the body to keep you energized, regulates your body temperature, leads to less fatigue, cramps and dizziness after your workout.

 

4. STRETCHING

A good performance or movement is dependent on the amount of range of motion or joints, which is nothing but flexibility. It is achieved through muscle stretching. Muscle stretching aims for better joint mobility and the avoidance of injuries. Your intense workout may limit your range of motion mainly due to the muscle tightness which results from an increase in tension in muscles due to contraction. The muscle tightness limits the range of motion and may create a muscle imbalance, decreases neural excitability.

Stretching exercises post-workout focus on increasing the muscle length as decreased muscular tension is related to increased muscle length. Relieving muscular tension in the last phase of workout plays a crucial role in restoring the length and elasticity of injured muscles and reduce muscle pain that occurs after an intensive workout.

Stretching can boost your flexibility, reduce the risk of injury, improve your performance, decreases muscle tension, reduces muscle stiffness. CAUTION: Your stretching exercises should be performed in such a way as to not cause pain.

 

5. COLD WATER BATH

Immersing yourself in cold water immediately after an intense workout session reduces muscle inflammation and muscle soreness.

-> Cold water can alleviate muscle pain by reducing the speed of nerve conduction. This will cause the pain signals between your muscles and your brain to slow down, so you hardly feel pain.

-> The cold bath will cause constriction of blood vessels. This has been suggested as a mechanism that helps with the flushing of waste products, such as lactic acid, out of the affected tissue.

-> The cold water bath helps speed up recovery after exercise by reducing body temperature, blood flow and inflammation in tissues of the muscles, helps reduce tissue breakdown.

-> The advantage of cold water submersion is that a large area of intertwined musculature can be treated, rather than limiting the cold therapy to a concentrated area with a localized ice pack.

Note: Your immersion in cold water should be restricted to 6 to 10 minutes.

 

Reducing muscle soreness is the cornerstone objective of enhancing recovery post-workout…

Focus on all the elements stated above along with right training to have an edge in and out of the gym…

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Also read: Curcumin- the master anti-inflammatory herb

 

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