There’s nothing more satisfying than a hard workout. You know you’ve given it your all, and even if you’re ready to collapse, there’s an overall feeling of accomplishment that follows you for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, that feeling of accomplishment can come along with exhaustion, soreness, and trouble finding the energy and motivation to accomplish much else for the rest of the day. Learning how to improve your workout recovery and feel normal faster is imperative–especially if you’re working out early in the day and need to be able to function normally for the rest of the day.
1. Slow Down and Take Care of Yourself
When you’ve worked out hard, a rest period is critical to making a full recovery. That doesn’t mean that you have to sit around doing nothing, however! Light exercise like walking, swimming, and dancing can increase blood flow to your muscles, hastening your recovery time. You should also take care to drink plenty of water and keep your body well hydrated post-workout. Chances are, you were sweating heavily during your workout. You’ll need to replace that water, both to prevent dehydration and to flush out the toxins in your body, all of which can make recovering from a tough workout even more difficult.
2. Choose Your Supplements
Both pre- and post-workout supplements can offer your body the extra protein and other nutrients it needs to handle a tough workout, perform its best, and go on to recover quickly so that you can do it again as soon as possible. Many people choose to drink protein shakes or consume protein bars immediately after their workout to help rebuild muscle and reduce soreness.
Some also choose to take post-workout specific supplements. These are great for strength gains and muscle recovery. Just make sure to read some of the online recovery supplement rankings so you choose a good one. And remember to stay hydrated when taking it!
Do your research to make sure that the supplement you’ve chosen is the best one for all of your needs. It’s also critical to make sure that you’re consuming all the protein you need for your workouts: eat plenty of protein for breakfast each day and make sure that you have an adequate number of calories coming from protein throughout the day.
3. Stretch It Out
You’ve just put in a hard workout. You’re probably in a hurry to leave the gym or get ready for your next activity. What will it hurt if you skip your stretching just this once? Actually, skipping your post-workout stretch can be extremely detrimental to your recovery, leaving you stiff and sore the next day. Your post-workout stretch has a number of advantages.
- Your body will resume its natural posture and position, reducing soreness later
- Stretching helps relaxes your muscles, easing the tension from a tough workout.
- Stretching helps avoid impingements that can make your next workout harder.
A good post-workout foam roll can also be beneficial in loosening tight muscles and getting you ready to get on with your day. Active stretching, rather than static stretches, can keep you moving while slowly letting you cool down after your workout. Find a stretching routine that works for you!
4. Watch Your Diet
For some people, a trip to the gym is little more than the justification they need to eat a burger later. Others struggle to maintain a reasonable diet no matter how little or how much they work out. Watching your diet, however, can have a serious impact on your recovery. Try checking these important aspects of your recovery diet.
- Increase the potassium in your diet, which can reduce the chances of cramps and muscle aches.
- Don’t skip the carbs. Carbohydrates play an important role in the recovery process, and the best time to eat them is within 30 minutes of your workout.
- Check your sodium post-workout: this is the perfect time for a salty snack.
Taking great care of your body isn’t just about hitting the gym on a regular basis. You want to be sure that your body is in great shape, with all the nutrition and other support it needs to recover fully. This will allow you to make the most out of every workout while still taking care of your other responsibilities throughout the day. Focus on your recovery needs along with your workout plans for the best results no matter what your workout routine.