5 Workout Recovery Tips
Updated: Feb 18, 2020
Feeling a bit sore? No worries.
There’s nothing quite like the rush of getting into a good workout. But the day after? Yeah, not so much fun. Don’t worry, this just means you’re making progress because you PUSHED yourself, mind, and body! However, if you’re looking for ways to speed up your recovery time and rid away some of those aches and pains quickly, we’ve got five great tips for you.
Feeling sore the day after a workout is a source of pride. It means you KILLED IT in the gym and you’re rebuilding your body into a faster and stronger version of yourself. Though of course, you don’t want to feel so sore the following day that getting out of bed feels like a Herculean task!
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to alleviate some of the more noticeable aches and pains after a workout. That’s why we'd like to share a few tips and tricks to speed up your recovery process, loosen up your muscles, and get you back in the gym sooner!
Roll It Out
Foam rolling effectively loosens up sore spots on your muscles through myofascial release- Helps relax tight muscles, permitting you to enjoy increased flexibility. Though using a foam roller can be a bit painful in the moment, your body will thank you the next day! Your muscles will end up feeling much better and you'll experience faster recovery.
When rolling out, apply light pressure until you feel a sore area. Once you’ve found it, continue rolling over that spot for about 30 seconds. Give yourself a quick break, (under a minute) and then go back to that area to try loosening it up some more. Go 3 times in total. If you experience too much pain, go easier on the amount of pressure you’re applying. You don’t want to make things worse and have to spend even more time recovering!
PRO TIP: We have foam rollers in the club. If you're doing this at home and don’t have access to a foam roller, try using a tennis ball to focus in on specific muscles that are hurting.
Drink Plenty of Water
This seems obvious, but many forget that staying hydrated is a key factor in recovery. This is especially true after a hard workout. Your body loses a ton of water through sweating and needs to be replenished in order to continue functioning at peak performance. Plus, without the right amount of liquids, your body is more susceptible to developing cramps or a headache. Not good.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all rule for how much water you should have in a day, you should always make sure you’re taking in more liquids than usual after a workout and the following day.
For starters, drink at least 8 oz 30 minutes before and after a workout. If an especially intense workout, consider having a sports drink on-hand to replace lost electrolytes (preferably a low sugar version). For a general daily water intake amount, divide your weight in half, and that number is how many ounces of water you should drink daily. For example: Say you weigh 120 lbs. 120/2=60. Therefore, you should generally drink at least 60 oz of water per day. Always use your best judgment with how much water you're taking in. Stay hydrated and don't fall thirsty!
Try This: Feeling a little bored with H2O? Try infusing your water to liven things up!
Make sure you’re giving your body the proper time it needs to recover. If you don’t, you’re putting yourself at risk for injury.
It’s recommended to give the muscle group you’ve been working on about 24-48 hours hours of rest between heavy lifting sessions. Not only will this help you prevent fatigue, but also an unhealthy gym routine. If you head right back to the gym without allowing time for recovery, you will not be able to maximize performance in your workout, resulting in less potential progress attainable, as well as put a dent on all the hard work you put in. By not allocating appropriate recovery time, you’ll break down your muscles before they're fully healed!
Another important factor in recovery is to get enough sleep, especially the night following a hard workout. In fact, if you don’t get enough sleep, you may undo all the work you have already put in. Without proper rest, your metabolism will fail to run optimally and your muscles won't recover properly. Besides, achieving a good night’s sleep allows you to workout harder when you ARE ready to return to the gym!
- Create a sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Put away your phone an hour before bed.
- Make sure your room is dark enough to sleep comfortably!
Eating the right kind of foods after a workout is one of the best things you can do to speed up your recovery process. As we mentioned earlier, when you exercise, you break down your muscles and the stored up glycogen (chemically converted sugar) inside of them. Following exercise, your goal should be to build your muscles and stamina back up as quickly and efficiently as possible, correct? Yes! But, how so?
Loading up on proteins and carbohydrates helps supply your body with the right kind of nutrients to bring your energy back to pre-workout levels. Some great choices to have in the following hours or next day we'd recommend: sweet potatoes, rice, oatmeal, pasta, and even chocolate milk!
When it comes to getting your protein fix, try eating salmon, eggs, chicken, or Greek yogurt. If you’re pressed for time, a protein bar will also be helpful (much like the sports drink, low sugar is ideal!).
Pro tip: To make the most of all your time in the gym, try and eat a healthy, protein-packed meal within an hour after working out.
If you don’t want to miss out on a day of exercise, opt for a lighter workout, such as walking or biking on your rest days. For example, if you’re training for a half-marathon, go for a slow jog the following day after an intense workout. If you did a heavy day of weightlifting, consider your follow-up workout to be a session of restorative Yoga.
The point of an active recovery day is to avoid breaking down your muscles all over again, but also keep your body moving so that your sore and healing muscles don't tighten up too bad. If you overdo it during recovery, you’ll only be holding yourself back in your fitness journey. Active recovery sessions are meant to and will give you the mental health benefits of exercising, all while keeping healthy blood flow throughout your body, reducing overall soreness, stress, and aiding in recovery. Not a bad way to spend your day off. Remember, just don’t overdo it!