Recover & Replenish: Post-Workout Tips
Finding the right workout for you is a way to unlock your body’s potential, but with that comes a lot of hard work and pushing yourself to the limit. Like they say “no pain, no gain”! But what they don’t say is that the recovery aspect is just as important as the act of working out. In fact, it’s more important! You need to give your body the adequate tools to recover properly, from sufficient protein to the right nutrients. But what methods can you use if you need to recover quickly? Here are some things that you may not have thought of that will speed up your recovery time.
Yes, the health benefits of the cold have been touted for a long time now. Many endurance athletes take ice cold baths to reduce soreness in the muscles, and the cold helps to improve blood flow and flush out lactic acid from your body as well as decrease inflammation, speeding up your recovery time. If you can’t bear the idea of jumping in a cold ice bath, you can take the shower method of alternating between hot and cold, which does a good job of reducing swelling and decreases the shock of the cold!
Many people don’t hydrate themselves adequately before, during, and after exercise. Electrolytes are needed to replace the salt you lose through sweating and helps to prevent fatigue. Many people turn up for a session tired before it’s begins, some quick investigation shows that they are not hydrating themselves properly. In the 24 hours before a session, make sure you drink plenty of water, and 400 to 600ml 2 hours before training and 150 to 350ml every 15 to 20 minutes during training. It can be a lot to think about, but there are now smart water bottles, like the Trago ones, that keep track of the amount of fluid you are taking in as well as electrolyte products that can hydrate you quicker. The other option to keep hydrated is to add a dash of Himalayan sea salt to your water.
It’s all in the stretching, and before a workout, if you neglect your stretching you will be prone to injury. Warm up the muscles you are planning to exercise thoroughly, and it will prevent you feeling stiff. A lot of people have the get in-get out mentality and refuse to warm up or warm down. Allowing yourself 20 minutes warm down time after a workout will prevent hardening of your arteries. Also, a great lifesaver for me has been foam rolling. Using foam rollers on some problem areas has prevented a minor injury turning into a major one. Combine this with some relaxation time or a well-earned rest, and you will be fighting fit for the next session.
People neglect recovery and think that going hard at the gym is the best way to maximize muscle growth and fitness. But those gym bunnies that are going every day are unlikely to make any substantial changes in their body. Listen to yours, and rest when it tells you to!