Before you start a daily workout regimen, it is essential that you develop a plan to recover from each day's workout. Otherwise, your muscles will not respond each time that you ask them to perform like they did the day before. In other words, recovering from one workout to the next is as essential to achieving your fitness goals as the actual workouts.
Here are five tips to help you quickly overcome the soreness after you exercise:
Never skimp on the time that you allow for stretching. Even on your days off, it is vital to perform adequate amounts of stretching in order to keep your muscles from tightening and to prevent future injuries.
Stretching after an intense workout improves blood flow to the muscles; blood enhanced with oxygen and nutrients being delivered to fatigued muscles will help with recovery and can help to reduce soreness.
Additionally, the lactic acid built up in the muscle during a workout can be reduced as a result of a comprehensive post-workout stretching routine.
Regular stretching will help to maintain a high level of flexibility which is needed to perform exercises with a full range of motion. As we know, a full range of motion leads to an increase in strength and size.
Getting a good night's rest is possibly the most critical factor when it comes to recovering from exercise. And it also happens to be the easiest method on this list. Just lay down, close your eyes, and do not open them for at least seven hours. If you neglect to allow your body to receive sufficient sleep, your body will suffer and be more prone to injury.
Before you go to sleep you should eat a protein-rich meal to stimulate protein synthesis whilst you sleep (The process that helps promote the muscle repair and growth). This process will help repair the muscle fibers you tore during your workout and can help with overall recovery.
During sleep, hormone growth hormone is also released, this hormone stimulates the liver to make growth factor IGF-1, this hormone then triggers the repair and growth of muscle and body tissue.
It recommended that an adult should get between 7-8 hours of sleep a day. Everyone is different, some people can function on 6 hours whilst other people need 9. Listen to your body, if your feeling fatigued during the week it may be worth looking into your current sleeping pattern.
During intense exercise, the body's method of keeping cool is by sweating. This uses the body’s stores so it's important to replenish this after a workout. Not only will sufficient hydration keep your muscles from weakening, but it will also help to remove toxins from your body.
Water is a vital anabolic nutrient that provides the muscles with necessary electrolytes lost during exercise, if you become dehydrated by even 1-2% then this will have an impact on performance the following day.
Minor tears occur in the muscle during intense exercise. In order to repair these tears, the body needs to synthesize protein (muscle building block). Depriving the body of water will delay this process.
We’ve all experienced DOMS right? A 2005 study published in the ‘Journal of athletic training’ found that dehydration can increase the severity of delayed onset muscle soreness, something we could all do without, so keep hydrated before and after your workout!
Consuming protein immediately post workout has been found to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. Studies have shown that between 20-30 grams of protein is enough, any more than this doesn’t have any added benefit. Opting for a quick digesting protein such as whey protein is preferable as the high amino acid profile can again aid with the activation of protein synthesis.
Many people overlook the need for carbohydrates post workout. Workouts are fuelled by the glycogen stored in our body. After a heavy workout session, our glycogen stores will be very low, potentially even empty. Fast-digesting carbohydrates are needed to replenish the glycogen stores, spike insulin levels and speed up the recovery process.
The amount of post-workout carbohydrates needed is based on the intensity of your workout, but if your training for hypertrophy, then it has been documented that up to 50grams of fast digesting carbohydrates will suffice.
So you’ve got your post-workout nutrition sorted but it shouldn’t end there. What you consume during the rest of the day is just as, if not more important. You will need to be fuelling your muscles with high protein foods such as chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, pork. You’ll also need carbohydrates such as oatmeal, rice, potatoes, beans, pasta and healthy fat sources such as nuts, eggs, avocado, red meat.
How much of these food groups you should be eating a daily basis varies according to your goals. If you're trying to put on muscle mass then check out ‘How many calories do I need when bulking?’ or if your trying to shed body fat then check out ‘How much do I need to be eating to cut bodyfat?’
The most hands-on way to relieve soreness and pain in your muscles after a workout is by getting a massage from a professional therapist.
As we know, intense exercise results in tiny tears in the muscle fibers, this leads to an immune reaction called inflammation as the body starts to repair the injured cells.
Researchers have found that a massage post-exercise reduced the production of compounds called cytokines, which play a critical role in inflammation. A Massage also stimulated mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside cells that convert glucose into the energy essential for cell function and repair. Reducing pain related cytokines will decrease the intensity of muscle soreness post workout, and increased mitochondria will help with efficient muscle repair.
After the massage, soak in a hot tub, spa or bath to finish the process of relaxing every muscle in your body.
There are a lot of things you can do to help your body recover from an intense workout, but the most important thing you can do is to listen to your body and what it needs. Make sure you are taking proper care of yourself so that your performance in and out of the gym doesn’t take a hit!