Proper recovery after exercise is essential for repairing your muscles and tissues and building strength. What many people don’t know is that a lot of your muscle and tissue growth happens outside of the gym. Heavy training tears your muscles and tissues, so giving your body time to rest and recover from the damage means that you come back to the gym even stronger than before.
Your muscles need 24 to 48 hours to repair and rebuild. If you exercise too soon after an intensive workout you can breakdown tissue instead of building muscle, undoing a lot of your hard work.
Turn these tips into post-workout habits to get the most out of your routine!
Make sure you’re properly hydrated before, during and after an intensive workout for a strong recovery. Water supports your body’s metabolic function and nutrient transfer so being properly hydrated helps improve your body’s overall functioning. You lose a lot of fluid during exercise so make sure you drink water before, during and after your routine to boost your recovery and prevent dehydration.
Dehydration is associated with muscle fatigue and reduced performance, amongst other issues. Most people remember to hydrate before their routine but forget to hydrate sufficiently when they finish. Remember to drink water even when you don’t feel thirsty!
Sports drinks with electrolytes can help with your recovery but be cautious as many contain large amounts of sugar. If you’re not sure, just remember that there’s nothing more beneficial for your body than plain H2O!
After a strenuous and challenging workout, you need to refuel your body to support your recovery, repair tissues, increase muscle mass, and prepare you for your next workout session. This is even more important if you’re doing endurance training or building muscle.
Ideally, you should try to eat within an hour of finishing your workout and pack in as much high-quality protein as you can and some carbohydrates. For an extra top up boost of protein, you can try these great supplements Optimum Nutrition - Gold Standard 100% Whey
, Dymatize - ISO 100
, and Optimum Nutrition - Pro Gainer
While your post-workout shake does a great job starting your muscle recovery you also need a balanced post-workout meal to continue that recovery. Your post-workout recovery meal should include a solid source of protein with some complex carbohydrates that your body will use to replenish muscle glycogen levels. Check out some great post-workout meal ideas here
Make sure you also include a variety of fresh fruit and veggies for antioxidants and important micronutrients to help your body recover.
Post workout shakes aren’t just for people trying to get big. Protein shakes are a great way to give your muscles a quick dose of amino acids to kick-start your recovery. Protein is the number one muscle repairing nutrient that you should add to your post workout routine. Along with a well-balanced diet high in protein, fresh fruit and veg, try adding these other great supplements Dymatize - Elite 100% Whey
, Max's - 100% Pure Whey Protein
, and International Protein - Superior Whey
to maximise your recovery!
Rest and relaxation
When you’re not feeling your best, have an injury or have come down with an illness, one of the best ways to recover is taking time to rest, and the same goes after a strenuous workout. Your body does a great job of repairing itself if given the proper amount of time to heal.
The time you need between demanding routines will differ depending on your age, ability, and the type of workout you are doing. A general rule is to give your body around 48 hours if you’re doing physically demanding routines. As this is a guide make sure to monitor your recovery and tailor it to your own needs.
Getting the optimal amount of sleep is critical when you exercise regularly. During sleep, your body produces growth hormone, which is largely responsible for tissue growth and repair. Getting plenty of rest is essential for good mental and physical health. However, many don’t know that a lack of sleep can hinder muscular recovery and your overall athletic performance.
Getting between seven to nine hours of sleep a night is important to avoid training-related complications and will improve your overall health and well-being. Check out this recent article
we wrote on the importance of sleep for muscle growth!
Getting a massage is a great way to aid in your recovery after an intensive physical workout. It improves circulation and allows you to fully relax. You can also get the job done yourself at home with a foam roller, which is great for easing tight muscles.
Foam rolling helps to break up scar tissue formed during exercise, it stimulates blood flow, and loosens muscle tissues to reduce post-workout pain. And if you do it routinely, it can help reduce the likelihood of getting injured in the long run.