“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they worked on it every single day.” I’m not sure where this quote is from but it really resonates with me.
Why is workout recovery important? To reach our fitness goals takes more time and effort than people realize. There are little decisions we make every day that affect our ability to achieve our dream body. One of those decisions will be taking proper care of our body during post workout. There’s a problem in the fitness community of not following a serious workout with the proper nutrients and stretches. It’s so simple but easy to forget.
Table of Contents
Sore Muscles is the Body’s “Do Not Disturb” Sign
You don’t need a deep understanding of biology to appreciate how incredible our bodies really are. Once you understand the work your body is doing behind the scenes to help you build that 6-pack you’ll be amazed.
We all feel the most successful with our fitness while we’re actually at the gym. Every time we pump out a new set or run an extra mile you feel empowered.
It’s important to understand that even though you feel good this isn’t the time when your body is working the hardest.
Our bodies actually work hardest after a workout. During the recovery session, our bodies are trying to compensate for all your hard work.
Muscles actually get microtears as you workout. With every curl, you tear more bicep muscles. These tears are the source of the soreness you feel post workout. These growing muscles will be the building blocks to get you a toned physique.
Typically you’ll feel the soreness 24 to 48 hours after working out. Kick back and enjoy all the soreness! This is a sign that your body is doing its job.
You’re getting toned, lean, and burning fat without even knowing it.
During this recovery and rebuild of your muscles please don’t rush back to the gym. Your body is sore for a reason.
Think of your sore muscles as a “Do Not Disturb” sign! They’re doing a job and need time to rest.
Rushing back to the gym and hitting those same muscles again can lead to injury and slow your growth.
Nothing slows down your progress more than an injury.
Water is the Fuel During Workout Recovery
Beginning a new fitness routine is a big responsibility. You’re asking your body to do extra work meaning you have to fulfill your part of the deal.
The easiest thing you can do for your body is to give it water.
Water is the fuel to keep your body functioning and moves nutrients to where they need to be. It also keeps your joints lubricated.
As you exercise your body will be constantly sweating (if you’re doing it right). Yes, sweat can be gross but it’s so important.
Your body is sweating to regulate your body temperature to make sure you don’t overheat.
With all this sweating your body will need fluids to rehydrate and recover. Neglecting proper hydration can lead to dehydration, cognitive impairment, and even unconsciousness.
All very serious things we need to avoid.
One percent of dehydration can result in a 10% decline in overall strength. Let me say that again…One percent of dehydration can result in a 10% decline in overall strength.
Protein Initiates the Recovery Process
In addition to drinking water, our bodies need food after an intense workout. Ideally, it’s best to eat within 60 minutes post workout.
There’s a variety of foods that can help in your recovery. One of the more essential foods is protein.
Protein initiates the recovery process for all the strained muscles. Your muscles are craving protein to get stronger.
CHECK IT OUT:
Healthline.com has a great post on Post-Workout Nutrition: What to Eat After a Workout
Everyone has seen the bodybuilders at the gym with their protein shakers chugging some sort of drink. They understand the importance of recovery.
If protein shakes aren’t your cup of tea try eating chicken, eggs, or even tuna. These are all rich in protein.
Carbohydrates are also critical during your recovery process.
You use so much energy during a workout that your body will need carbohydrates to recover. And carbohydrates will help you not feel so exhausted after a workout.
Try pairing a banana with your carbs next time. Bananas are an incredible source of potassium which plays a role in recovering muscular energy.
Like anything else in the fitness world…your diet will greatly affect your fitness results.
Foam Rollers Can Help Manage Muscle Soreness
To all our dedicated readers; I’m sure you’re tired of reading about stretching.
At least once in most of our blogs we mention stretching and it’s importance. It’s vital to your recovery as well.
CHECK IT OUT:
Instead of immediately talking about the typical stretching techniques let’s focus on something new…a foam roller.
There is a huge variety of foam rollers that all accomplish the same goal. Foam rollers are built to help relax muscles and stimulate blood supply.
Having proper blood flow will greatly benefit your recovery. It can help flush out toxins and lactic acid.
Using a foam roller can also help manage muscle soreness. Yes, muscle soreness is a good thing but there are ways to deal with it.
They’ve even been known to improve flexibility and joint function.
Another unorthodox recovery tool is an ice bath.
Personally, I think that sounds like torture! I understand the benefits but I can’t stand being cold.
For those willing to brave the cold there really are great benefits to ice baths. Ice baths help reduce inflammation and swelling during recovery.
They also constrict and dilate blood vessels which helps flush out waste products in our tissues.
Professional athletes swear by ice baths after every game.
Listen to Your Body’s Need for Sleep
At the end of the day, one of the best recovery methods for your body is…rest.
Take a break from exercising or intense workouts. Let your body and muscles have time to recover.
The Sleep Council’s post on how much sleep do we need?
I understand this is easier said than done. When you’re in a groove with your fitness you may not want to stop.
Our bodies know how best to recover by simply resting. Taking rest days will also help with injuries.
Rest days are used to realign your bodies systems and make sure everything stays in balance.
Unfortunately, there’s no set system for how much rest is needed. Everyone’s amount of required rest and downtime may vary. Listen to how your body is responding and adjust to what it needs.
Learning all the different components of fitness can be exhausting. There’s so much to manage and know.
But, if you dedicate the proper time to understanding fitness you’ll see incredible results.
Credits: Soundtrack “Eternity” provided by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/