After a long, hard day at the gym, your body might make you feel like you never want to leave your hot tub. If you’re eager to feel 100 percent once more, try some of these easy steps to quicken your recovery times.
1. Sleep Really Is The Miracle Cure
Hitting the pillow can be just as important as hitting the weights. While you’re sleeping, your body goes through much of its daily protein synthesis, allowing your muscles to become stronger and giving you more endurance.
Sleep has also been shown to add a significant boost to willpower and performance, so make sure you get a good night’s rest to ensure a productive day at the gym when you wake up.
For a boost to your protein synthesizing mechanisms, consider snacking on a protein rich (but light) snack before bed and downing a high protein breakfast in the morning.
2. Try These Foods
When you think of recovery foods, thick protein shakes and lots of water come to mind, but some other unsung heroes have been shown to take a chunk out of your downtime.
Tart cherry juice can ease the swelling that results from damaged muscles, and chocolate milk’s rich carbs and protein content both provide an ample boost to muscle recovery.
Consider grabbing a protein filled snack right after (and before) your workout to ensure that your body has what it needs to keep repairing itself throughout the day.
Conversely, you’ll want to avoid foods and beverages that slow your body’s metabolism down, like alcohol. And while a nice cup of coffee might be great before a workout, you should trade it for a few glasses of water afterward, as your body needs essential fluids to run smoothly, just like a car motor.
3. Massage And Therapy
A professional massage is an excellent way to help reduce the stiffness that comes with muscle repair as well as break up scar tissue that forms from healing.
If you’re more of a do-it-yourself person, consider practicing what’s called “self-myofascial release,” or SMR, which involves using foam rollers to smooth out knots in your connective tissue.
4. Take A Swim
Taking a cold, full body bath has been shown to cut down on inflammation and soreness significantly after a tough workout. Similarly, putting ice on a sore spot can help keep the swelling down during recovery.
5. What Are You Wearing?
Compression clothes, like the ones worn by American football players, can help reduce recovery time by reducing unwanted movement while working out.
There’s no point in exercising the same muscle group repeatedly.
Try breaking up your workouts into different days of the week, like working core on Monday, arms on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, and so on. You can also split up your lifting days with cardio to give your muscle groups the rest they need.
If you don’t feel like you’re getting your proper nutrients from conventional foods, try adding a simple multivitamin to your daily intake, or consider consulting a health expert for advice on what vitamins would benefit your lifestyle the most. Universal good choices include vitamin C, vitamin E and Zinc.
8. Don’t Overdo It!
Above all, know your body’s limitations. If you injure yourself working out, immediately stop and get it taken care of. Stressing an injury can multiply your recovery times, or worse, stop you from working out altogether.
Serious injuries should be taken to a doctor and consult with trainers and experts to find ways to reduce your injuries while exercising.