Essential Tips for Muscle Recovery: Optimize Your Training
December 1st, 2021 by Candis Hall
Recovery is a core aspect of any exercise or training program because it improves performance, allows the body to heal in anticipation of the following training routine, and reduces potential injury risks. It plays a crucial role in helping you achieve your fitness goals. If you continue exercising despite experiencing physical fatigue, pain, and mental burnout, you restrain your muscle’s ability to recharge their glycogen stores.
The microtraumas your tissues experience after high-intensity aerobic exercises need healing so the muscle tissues can repair and adapt to handle stress better the next time you exercise. Failure to allow your muscles to recover makes it impossible for you to achieve your goals. You also start experiencing cravings for salty and sweet foods and a decline in sleep. Factors affecting muscle recovery are nutrition, sleep, hydration, stress/fatigue levels, alcohol intake, warm-up, and cool-down workouts. Here are essential muscle recovery tips.
Use workout supplements
Post-workout and pre-workout supplements help boost your gains and improve after-workout endurance. Some of the options you may consider are protein powders and shakes, branched chain amino acids, creatine, fish oil, and glutamine. These supplements speed up muscle recovery and development, reduce fatigue and soreness after workouts, help maintain lean muscle mass, prohibit muscle breakdown during activities, and help your muscles recover after exercising efficiently.
Some of the ingredients to look for in a post-workout supplement include carbohydrates for refueling the muscles, vitamin C dealing with metabolic stress, and vitamins B12 and B16 to reduce inflammation and regulate sleep and mood patterns. You can also expect to see BCAA blend essential for repairing muscle tissues after an intense workout.
Dehydration impairs the muscle’s ability to heal. Although taking water can keep you hydrated, ingesting an amount of fluid that’s more than the sweat loss and combining it with sufficient electrolytes is a good option for rehydrating your body. The electrolytes include potassium, magnesium, sodium, and calcium. They are consumed during muscle contraction and are vital for your nervous system.
To get enough muscle recovery electrolytes, invest in a healthy lifestyle, and include a lot of vegetables and fruits. Consider having a glass of coconut water, fruit smoothie, or milk post your workout to restore electrolytes in your blood to help you recover.
Warm-up before an intense workout, then cool down after
Warm-ups prepare your body for aerobic activities. They activate your cardiovascular system by increasing body temperature and blood flow to the muscles. Warm-ups also help injury risks and muscle soreness, promoting quick recovery.
Warm-up before exercising and first focus on large muscle groups like hamstrings. Cooling down after workouts allows for the slow recovery of pre-workout blood pressure and heart rate. Once your heart rate slows down, consider stretching, as this will help you sleep better, enhancing muscle recovery.
Get a post-workout snack
Having a snack filled with proteins and carbohydrates after your workout provides the nutrients your muscle tissues require to start repairing, improving muscle recovery time. The urgency for these nutrients depends on how much time you have until your next workout session. However, after the first 60 to 90 minutes post exercising, the body effectively replaces carbohydrates, promoting muscle growth and repair.
You can have fruits with yogurt or prepare a coffee smoothie in advance to restore your energy after a morning workout. If you are a vegetarian, you can snack on tofu, chickpeas, almonds, and other protein-packed foods for all the nutrients your muscles need to heal.
Don’t skip rest days
Rest days allow your body to repair and recover. It’s an essential aspect of progress, no matter your fitness level. Failure to rest can lead to burnout or overtraining. Rest days give you time to recover and prevent muscle fatigue caused by the depletion of muscle glycogen levels. Since overtraining causes muscle strain and stress which may result in injury, resting reduces such risks.
Consistently training without rest reduces your endurance, slows reaction time, and leads to poor agility. Resting reduces fatigue and boosts your energy levels, improving performance. Exercising promotes the production of energy-boosting hormones but overdoing it produces these hormones in excess. This makes it difficult to get quality sleep, increasing exhaustion and fatigue. Proper rest allows you to sleep better.
When you’re under any mental or emotional stress, your body may not prioritize muscle recovery but stress response. Stress affects your eating patterns, sleep, and overall well being, affecting your immune response and impacting muscle recovery.
Get enough sleep
Sleep is an essential factor for physical recovery as it’s then that growth hormones are produced, relieving you of your pain and aches. This rests your body, eliminates fatigue, and repairs your muscles for improved training performances.
Wear compression garments
Wearing compression garments is an effective way to heal workout-induced muscle damage. Not only do they lower your muscle soreness perception, but compression garments also reduce the swelling and inflammation that leads to soreness. Thanks to the fabric’s tightness, blood can flow deep to the blood vessels to provide nutrients to the muscle fibers.
Listen to your body
Listening to your body after a workout helps you identify any imbalances caused by your habits and lifestyle. This enables you to tailor your activities according to your body’s needs. It also allows you to focus more on the weaker parts of your body. In addition, listening to your body helps you know when to stop exercising so you can prevent fatigue and avoid overtraining, aiding with your muscle’s full recovery.
Get a massage
Massages are great for increasing blood flow, reducing inflammation, and helping your muscles heal after an intense workout. They also help with muscle growth. If you exercise a lot, a massage can work out trigger points and knots that may lead to soreness a day after exercising. Since massages increase oxygen and blood flow in your muscles and reduce lactic acid build-up, which is the first indication of soreness, it results in speedy muscle recovery.
Muscle soreness isn’t always a sign of progress. It could be that the muscles are stressed and strained, causing fatigue, poor workout performance, and unmet fitness goals. Consider using the above tips for your muscle recovery. If the pain remains even after trying to heal your muscles, consult a doctor for further guidance.