A fitness routine can help get you in shape and keep you healthy. But sometimes, even if you’ve already beat yourself up working out, you still fail to build good muscles.
The thing is muscle growth happens the moment you end your lifting session, and this is impossible to achieve without an appropriate post-workout recovery routine.
It is essential to know that muscle growth doesn’t occur in the gym; this takes place after. Lifting weights result in micro-tears in your muscle fibers. The causation and repair of these micro tears are what make your muscles grow.
To achieve optimum muscle growth, you need to perform your workouts in a manner that will cause optimal micro-tearing. Aside from this, you also need to have proper post-workout nutrition and an adequate amount of rest.
If you want to gain visible results from your workout sessions, it’s important to maximize your recovery, too. This article will show you the fastest ways to recover after your workout so you can achieve your fitness goals.
Have a proper pre-workout nutrition
So, what helps muscle recovery after a workout? A lot. And this is great news as you can do more than just one thing to help your muscles recover faster.
Many fitness buffs and enthusiasts already know the role their post-workout diet plays in their recovery. But apparently, the foods you eat prior to your workout can likewise contribute to your muscle recovery.
An adequate and appropriate pre-workout nutrition helps pre-empt the process of rebuilding tissues after the workout is done.
Because of this, it is essential to select your foods wisely. Include in your pre-workout meal plan complex carbohydrates, and high-quality, lean protein, especially if you are to perform an intense workout routine.
It is also best to consume your pre-nutrition meals two hours before you get moving to prevent cramps and other digestive problems.
Stretch, stretch, stretch
Stretching is often taken out of the equation when it actually plays an important role in muscle growth as well. To maximize your workout routines, you need to make your muscles flexible and pliable.
Stretching helps prepare your muscles for the workout it’s about to experience, preventing the risk of injuries as well.
Stretching exercises also help improve your posture, range of motion, and coordination so you can do your routine exercises optimally, and reap its maximum benefits.
Take note: After you’re done with your workout routine, it’s also essential to cool down. Stretching still plays an important role in the cooling down process.
Post-workout stretches help prevent stiff, sore, and tired muscles by calming them down before going back to a normal pace.
So, to maximize your fitness routine, prevent injuries, and help your muscles recover faster, remember to stretch before and after your workout. It will do your muscles good, so avoid skipping it.
Push yourself but not too much
We’ve heard it a lot of times: “No pain, no gain.” And while it’s a good thing to push yourself beyond your limits, sometimes you just find yourself asking how far should you go?
Fitness experts believe that tormenting the muscles can stimulate muscle growth, but not too much that it hurts your muscles for days; worse, cause muscle damage.
The emphasis is put on how effective your recovery is, and not so much on how fast it’s been. By regularly pushing your muscles to outright exhaustion, you may cause damage that will eventually accumulate over time.
When this happens, your body will exert its energy on repairing the damages’ effects instead of building new muscles.
Simply put, the secret is to push yourself beyond your comfort zones, trying to do more and better than your previous workouts.
But, avoid sabotaging yourself altogether. By exerting extra effort up to a certain extent, you are more likely to create steady progress.
Take protein supplements
Some people don’t believe in protein supplements, but they actually help your muscles grow and improve. Protein consumption is vital after your workout especially if you haven’t consumed anything for the duration of your routine.
The ideal amount of protein consumption highly depends on your bodyweight. Twenty grams of protein typically works for most women, while men’s protein intake ranges between 30 and 42 grams, depending on their weight.
Many gym and fitness buffs consume whey protein after their workout. It proves to be the most convenient protein supplement as it is easy to mix, and offers an excellent absorption rate.
Because of this, whey protein makes a good post-workout recovery tool. By taking a fast-absorbing protein right after your fitness routine, you’re providing your muscles with the amino acids essential for their repair and growth.
Consume foods that are rich in potassium
Speaking of post-workout nutrition, you should also consume foods that are rich in potassium. This is because your body’s potassium reserves will cripple following an intense workout routine.
Potassium is one of the key nutrients for muscular energy.
Potatoes and bananas are examples of rich potassium sources. Bananas are versatile and can be added to a variety of post-workout snacks. But mashed potatoes prove to be a great choice, too!
Get quality sleep
What’s a great fitness program without adequate rest? Following an intense workout, your body needs to relax and recover. Sleep is an essential downtime for your body’s restoration.
Without quality sleep, your body won’t be able to recover from your training sessions. Sleep deprivation can also adversely affect your fitness training performance.
Aside from this, you are also exposing yourself to the risk of various and even cognitive impairment.
The ideal amount of sleep ranges between six to eight hours, but some people including athletes may need up to nine hours.
It is essential to look for ways to achieve your target sleep range and change certain lifestyle habits that will let you sleep earlier.
For example, you can impose a “technology blackout” during which you can no longer use your gadgets or watch TV after a specific time like 9 P.M.
Perform some active recovery drills
Rest days allow your muscles to recover and have a break from all those tedious workouts in the gym.
But some light activities such as slow walking, making the bed, throwing a Frisbee, and other light to moderate mobility drills could promote recovery effects, too. These activities are called “active” recovery.
Light cardio and bodyweight exercises following an intense training session alleviate soreness by stimulating and improving the blood flow and circulation to your muscles. If you are experiencing muscle tightness, there are ways by which you can combat this such as foam rolling.
The soreness that your muscles feel during and after a workout happens when your muscles and fascia become knotted. Rolling out your muscles with the help of semi-rigid or foam rollers can help eliminate those knots and reduce the risk of muscle imbalances.
The benefits are far more worth than the little displeasure you may feel while using the rollers.
Another effective way on how to recover muscles faster after a workout is stress reduction. Nothing ever good happens when we let ourselves be carried away by stress.
While some forms of stress are a good thing such as the kind you experience from workouts, chronic stress can negatively affect your recovery. Some of the sources of chronic stress include inadequate sleep and tight deadlines.
These stressors can significantly influence how you feel about yourself, and how quickly you can recover from your workouts. Stress, if not handled and managed properly, can drastically prolong your recovery time between your fitness routines.
When an overworked body meets with chronic stress, you are likely to experience lackluster results, and even severe injury. Stress, no matter what shape they take, can take a toll on your general health and overall wellness.
Try your best to avoid stress to make sure you can recover faster. Enjoy your favorite activities more, find something that will make you laugh, and most importantly, surround yourself with people who make you happy.
The best thing that you can do to recover faster is to listen to your body’s needs. If your muscles feel incredibly sore or you feel very exhausted, you may need to extend your recovery period or take a break from your workout routines altogether.
But, if you’re feeling stronger the day following your training session, you also don’t need to force yourself to slow down.
The key is to pay close attention to your body as in most cases, it will tell you what it needs. Unfortunately, though, many of us don’t listen to the warnings our bodies give us or dismiss them easily.
Sometimes, we just resort to convincing ourselves that it could be just plain exhaustion and push ourselves even further. But, this could potentially hurt us in the end.
Recovery plays a crucial role in any fitness routine. No matter what your goal for fitness is, you’ll need to add these tips to your recovery plan to make sure you’ll reap the maximum benefits of your hard work!