Train, recover, repeat. It’s the workout mantra on everybody’s lips. But are you giving your body the recovery it deserves, or do you spend day after day feeling like no matter which way you move, something hurts? You may feel a sense of accomplishment but that is no way to live. No matter if you are a dedicated yogi, a runner or a gym fanatic, if you want to get the most out of your workout you need to prioritise your post-workout recovery. We have listed our top ways to recover after a workout, so that you will be able to experience both exercise and rest days to their full potential.
1. Hydrate for Recovery
A better recovery could be a glass of water away. No matter how sweaty you get during a workout, if you are exercising heavily, you should be drinking 2-3 litres of water per day. You may be tempted to buy a coffee or energy drink after a tiring workout, but what your body really craves is water. It will help you maintain high energy levels and strong performance, as well as aiding proper recovery.
2. Replenish Macronutrients
Amino acids are the building blocks of our tissues, fats are essential for every cell in our body, and, unless you are on a keto-type diet, carbohydrates are a major source of energy for our muscles. Some advocate a zero-carb approach to diet but for many of us it is important that we have all 3 in our diet so that our tissues, hormones, etc, are rebuilt, repaired, and re-energised. If you are famished post-workout, don’t reach for the first thing you see. Although it may seem like a nice idea to treat yourself after a hard workout – this can develop bad habits. Nourish your body with whole food nutrients today, so your body will feel better tomorrow.
3. Supportive herbs
Working out utilises the muscle’s ability to adapt to stress, making the muscle cells grow; however, this can cause tense muscles, post-workout. Curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, is used in many supplements and can easily be incorporated into the daily dietary regimen. Turmeric supports recovery meaning less time feeling stiff and more time enjoying each day.
Known as the muscle mineral, magnesium is important for energy production and muscle contractions, however it also relaxes our muscles for improved function and recovery. Increased stress, both physical and mental, and a high sugar diet deplete the body of magnesium. Deficiency symptoms include tension, fatigue, weakness, worry, and poor sleep. If you are exercising regularly and suffering from these symptoms, you may need more magnesium. Wholegrains, legumes, nuts, and green leafy vegetables are touted as a great source of magnesium, but the bioavailability is low. Animal food-sourced magnesium, while in slightly lower amounts, is much more easily absorbed. Shellfish are the exception, being very high in magnesium and one of the richest, most bioavailable sources you can get. Magnesium can also be taken as a supplement or rubbed directly onto the skin for quick absorption. You may also need to watch your other electrolytes – sodium, potassium, etc, and overall mineral balance, if you’re consistently performing at a high intensity, or for long periods in the heat.
5. Stretch It Out
Stretching post-workout can make a world of difference to how you are feeling the next day. Stretching out muscles can help them to lengthen, reduce knots and prevent imbalances from forming. If you want to go one step further, grab yourself a foam roller and hit the floor. Foam roll before exercise to increase blood flow and post-workout (or in the days after) to reduce pestering pain.
6. Get More Sleep
Sleep deprivation can have a negative effect on both your performance and recovery. It can reduce motivation, increase fatigue, and reduce your tolerance to training. To perform better, endure for longer and recover faster, develop a regular sleep routine. Make sure you are getting around 8 hours sleep each night, remove distracting devices (and harmful blue light), and make sleep a priority in your exercise routine.
Before a yoga practise ends, 10-15 minutes is set aside for savasana. Said to be the most crucial posture, savasana focuses on rest and recuperation so that your body and mind may recharge. It may look simple, but the art of relaxation is harder than it looks. No matter if you are practising yoga, undertaking a HIIT workout or going for a walk, take a similar period to completely relax. Lie down, be mindful and breathe. You will be left in a state of rejuvenation that will aid your recovery and leave you feeling refreshed.
Why is post-workout recovery important?
Post-workout recovery is essential because it allows your body to repair and adapt to the stress placed on it during exercise. It helps reduce the risk of injury, improves muscle growth, and ensures you’re ready for your next workout.
What role does nutrition play in post-workout recovery?
Nutrition plays a crucial role in post-workout recovery by providing the body with the necessary nutrients to repair tissue and replenish fuel stores. Consuming an animal-based, protein-rich meal or snack after exercise helps with muscle recovery, reduces muscle soreness, and optimizes overall recovery processes. If you are carb cycling, post-workout is an ideal time to utilise healthy carbohydrates.