A productive workout day feels good and after you’ve rested, your muscles ache, and your movements are limited due to stiffness and soreness a few days after the workout.
This is known as delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) or post-workout recovery. This may interfere with your next training session and slow down your fitness goals, so the points below should be done for fast muscle recovery.
1. Have a healthy intake
Fuel up your body with foods rich in protein, fiber, and carbs, perfect enough to get you started for another burning session. Research recommends that you should have a pre-workout meal an hour to 3 hours before your workout.
If you have a longer time, then eat a full meal rich in the nutrients above mentioned. If you are in a hurry, then have a toast with peanut butter, banana, or oatmeal.
These foods take a little time to eat, or you can consider a fruit smoothie that is easy to digest. You can include supplements, as well, but a good food diet is already perfect.
2. Warm-up your body
This is an essential part before you do the main training. This activates and increases blood flow to your body before a full workout immersion, or else your muscles might have sudden shock during the session, the key is to minimizing muscle damage.
3. Stretching and rolling
Elevating your legs and stretching your whole body helps with your all-over movements before you engage in the main workout routine you do. Blood circulation in your main muscle groups will improve and increase your performance as you are making your body fully ready for resistance training. Foam rolling is another good thing to consider for this.
According to studies, foam rolling is a self-myofascial release (SMR) technique that increases your flexibility and joint range and reduces your muscle soreness and tightness. This can actually be part of your warm-up, too.
4. Progress on your training based on your muscle threshold
This step can be considered for those who are already working out for a while and fitness levels are already above normal. Increasing your capacity like adding reps, adding weights and the like would be a good step up.
Just don’t forget to check your body’s capacity, first. Don’t push too far that is beyond what your muscle can perform. Whether little or big progress, it is still progress.
This is crucial, too, as this helps you to go back to your original body state after an intensive workout. Studies show that cooling down helps in normalizing your temperature, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Furthermore, moving after the workout lessens lactic acid buildup which reduces the tendencies of muscle stiffness. It also reduces injuries.
6. H2O therapy
Water is one of the most important for humans. This is not just for workouts, but for the entire health, as well. In terms of fitness, given the fact of body exhaustion after the workout, water with electrolytes should suffice.
Studies have proven that water with enhanced electrolytes may help improve your performance. This is due to the things that electrolytes do to your body such as regulating blood pressure, muscle contraction including your heart, and fluid balancing. So, water with sliced lemons and added salt will do.
7. Post-workout bites
What you eat after a workout is definitely more essential than pre-workout. This is when muscle repair takes place. A lot of studies concluded that post-workout nutrition replenishes glycogen for energy storage and does help with muscle repair, especially protein breakdown and synthesis.
During post-workout, this is when replacing damaged proteins with new ones occurs. The challenge is that protein repair is slightly increased while protein breakdown happens drastically, so this process needs sufficient materials for protein synthesis to catch up with a fast breakdown.
That’s why studies suggested having full post-workout nutrition within 2 hours after intensive training while protein synthesis is catching up to 48 hours. Foods should be rich in protein for protein rebuilding and low glycemic index carbohydrates to increase glycogen levels.
Carbohydrates need to be quality like vegetables and the healthy variety, you want to be eating foods that are antioxidative and anti-inflammatories to help speed up the muscle recovery process.
8. Ice, ice, ice!
Relaxing with a cool bath or what is known as cryotherapy or cold water immersion is another good way to cool down and reduce inflammation to the damaged muscles after intense physical activity, exposing your body to water with a cold temperature can make the muscles recover quicker.
So, if you still have muscle soreness after a day or two, you can consider this treatment. You will see a lot of famous athletes use this method with the likes of Floyd Mayweather dipping in an ice bath after a boxing match.
9. Stay active
Never refrain from doing the usual chores like buying at a grocery store, walking with your dog, cleaning, etc., as this helps with your whole body. With little movements, you continually have good blood circulation in your body and also add to the calories burnt.
10. Rest well
This means you should prioritize rest like having a deep and uninterrupted sleep to help relax and to lessen your stress levels. There is no better way for exercise recovery than resting your body from a full-body workout. It is recommended to sleep 7-10 hours for adequate body recovery.
This will make you stronger for another training session. Another thing, when you have well-taken rest, your stress levels follow as you get to relax your entire state. So, you should never deprive yourself of what you deserve.
Doing this all together will actively help your body recover and be ready for your next session.