Muscles need time to recover and it is one of the major factors that impact your workouts, performance, and gains. Most people have a good pre-workout and workout plan and follow that too but they forget about the post-workout plan. Hereby the post-workout plan we mean plans to get your muscles what they need to recover. But you don’t have to worry about that because today you will know why recovery is important and how can you give your body what it needs to recover.
What is recovery
Muscle recovery is the process of muscle rebuilding themselves. When you put stress on muscles, lifting the weight, sweating heavily in workout tank tops, and feel little pain, or the body telling you to stop it right there and then is muscles fibers getting damaged and breaking apart. After the workout, you should give proper time to those fibers so they can heal.
Why is it important
This muscle fiber healing process makes the muscles stronger and larger. Our body needs at least 24 hours and depending on the damage and how the works it can take more time, to repair or heal. This will make the body good to work again. If you start working on the same muscles too soon or don’t give them the recovery conditions needed it will result in muscle breakdown instead of making it strong. That is why recovery is so important and working on the same muscle consecutively is not recommended.
Replace the liquid body lost
Whether it be summer, winter or some other season workout and exercises causes the body to sweat. This causes loss of body fluids. Drinking water and sports drinks, that have required electrolytes and salts that the body needs, can fulfill your body fluid loss effectively. Drinking after sweaty workouts feel fulfilling and relishing. This is important because it helps the body transfer nutrients, improves metabolism, and overall body function. Fulfilling the body’s water and salt requirements is even more important for athletes who sweat more.
Rest, sleep, relax and enjoy
Sleep is the best way to relax the body that helps in recovery, not just workout but from any illness or injury. The human body has its own full mechanism for its maintenance. While you are sleeping the muscle fibers are recovering. Depending on the body type, routine, and age we need about 6 to 8 hours of sleep in 24 hours. Sometimes doing nothing is the best you can do. Other than sleeping and relaxing, enjoying bits of help in recovery. If you feel too tired and bored here is how to enjoy your workouts, have a look it will help. Because, if you are enjoying workouts it will help in relaxing later.
Keeping the diet proper that helps with recovery
After putting all of your energy on workouts and exercise, Yes, the body needs to gain back the energy lost to actually make you active and get back on routine. There are many factors that help with this of which food plays a major role. Eat food that helps with recovery, for instance, if you want to gain muscles eat more protein and carbs. Meat, bananas, oats, whole wheat, and whey protein shakes and protein powder are few examples. On top of that, try to eat these within an hour after you finished work out because that is the time when muscles need it most. This does not end there, include these things in your diet throughout the day.
Stretching and Active Recovery Methods
Stretching helps relax the muscles from tension build due to lifting weights and whatnot. Active recovery methods improve blood circulation which helps to deliver the required amount of oxygen, nutrients, etc. to the muscles that need it. Helping in the muscle recovery process.
A warm bath or shower does the same, soothing muscles and relaxing them. Hot Epsom salt baths will not only help soothe muscles but fulfill some salt needs of the body too. Some people prefer a bubble bath and read their favorite book or listen to some podcasts while relaxing. You can also opt for an ice bath if you like.
Take an Ice Bath
You might have seen athletes take ice baths which is the total opposite to hot and bubble baths. Studies say it helps recover faster and reduce muscle soreness and cramps. Here is how it works, cold bath or getting into cold tub contracts and dilates the blood vessels which helps in better blood flow.
After you are done with the workout, take a cold-water shower for 30 seconds and a hot shower for thrice the time. Repeat this a couple of times. If a spa with hot and cold water is available to hop in, personally I prefer the tub method.
All these are ways to relax your body and mind with some other benefits too, like improved blood circulation. Like hot and cold showers massages also helps improving blood circulation and relaxing muscles. If you cannot find someone or someplace to get a massage, or you are on a tight budget then buy a self-massage machine or roller. It helps release muscle tension.
Sleep is magical even when you are not doing anything at all but the body is getting repaired. Isn’t it great! Anyways, we already talked about how important sleep is. Heat this out, if you are sleeping 6 hours already regularly, you can add a short nap of 40 minutes or 1 hour in the middle of the day. If you workout in the day, it can be right after you are done with workout, diet, and shower. What happens is a short nap that makes you fresh and gives energy. Plus, the body makes growth hormone during sleep which helps in muscle recovery and growth.
Try visualizing or mental exercises
There are a million ways to get peace of mind and relaxation, one of which is mental relaxing exercises like yoga or meditation exercises, or things like Tai chi. The goal is to calm yourself, clear the mind, forget anxiety, stress, tension, and everything else. Bouncing around or not caring about thoughts and not taking stress are few ways you can adapt. This helps in mental and physical recovery. Did you know, stress and anxiety can be one of the reasons if you are not getting any gains. Visualizing exercise help in the same way. You can consult your doctor or take help from some professional for these purposes too.
Overtraining is real, stay away from it
It is better to avoid bad food rather than eating it and then getting food poisoning and going to a doctor. Just like that, you should avoid overtraining rather than thinking you will recover fast later on. Overtraining is real but unfortunately, most people don’t recognize it. Lack of rest, improper rest, continuously working on the same muscles, lifting weights or doing exercises you are not yet ready for. Overtraining not only takes you one step back but also it throws away the efforts made.
Notice the indications your body is giving
Listening to the body, what does that mean? Yes, it is really the body is telling you things, all you have to do is pay a little attention. Indications the body is giving are clear, for instance, if you are feeling tired or sore in the middle of a workout, your performance will be decreased and all energy will be lost. This is a clear indication that the body is giving you to stop. So, what you can do is stop there go home and let the body recover. Even take a day off if it feels so. Have a doctor’s checkup because sometimes fever or some other problems can cause performance loss.
Don’t force the body when it is giving up. Pushing your limits is excellent and recommended but forcing the body when it cannot do it anymore. Pay a little more attention and you will start to understand things. Most people ignore the body of the warning gives. But don’t go all the way around and give up just when the muscles are warmed up.
Give up on alcohol
Alcohol consumption acts as a hindrance in the way of muscle recovery. We recommend giving it up from the roots, while you can have some on events like birthdays or weddings, of course. If you cannot do that then at least reduce it to the amount where it cannot harm the body. Above all, alcohol is unhealthy energy, the body feels like it is energized but in reality, you are just using the body’s energy while no source of energy is available. When alcohol enters the body, our system has to deal with it first and muscle growth and recovery become second priority. It may be a boring way but it is effective. For everything you have missed, you have gained something, and for everything you gain, there is something lost.