Work Hard, Recover Harder. 5 Recovery Tips That Will Fast Track Your Gains!
If you want to reap the rewards of your hard efforts in the gym, you have to prioritise recovery. The majority of us, if we are training effectively, will experience some type of muscle ache in the days following a big workout. This is a sign that you have broken down muscle fibres and they are in need of repair in order to grow back bigger and stronger. This is how muscle gains work.
So if muscle aches and pains are just a part of the process, what can we do to minimise them? RECOVERY. Here are our 5 top recovery tips that will not only make sure you aren’t too sore for the gym but will reduce injury and burn-out.
As we mentioned earlier, your muscle tissues are breaking down during a workout and repair themselves afterwards provided they are given the right nutrients to do so. This is where a post work-out snack high in protein and carbohydrates comes in to save the day (the day being your muscles). Try to get this snack in 60-90 minutes after your exercise to maximise its effects.
You could try: protein smoothie, eggs on toast, protein shake, yoghurt & fruit.
If you want to train hard, you need to recover hard. Rest days are in almost all exercise programs for a reason, your body needs time to adapt to your training and repair itself before it takes on another heavy session. The amount of rest days you need will depend on your age, fitness level, injury status, hormones, sleep and so on… so listen to your body! Most people need at least 2 rest days a week if they are hitting it exceptionally hard every other day.
Walking, cycling, taking the stairs, stretching, all of this helps to increase blood flow to your muscles which helps not only reduce post-workout soreness but delivers essential nutrients for repair and clears out any waste that can build up.
We all know we should be doing both of these but do any of us actually do it? They are more important than you think, especially if you want to recover faster and prevent injury. Choosing dynamic stretches and movements in your warm-ups will activate the muscles you’re about to use and prevent injury whilst cooling down on the treadmill for 5-10 minutes mixed with a few static stretches will slow your heart rate and reduce the level of muscle soreness you might experience after your workout.
A certain level of pain, inflammation and discomfort is a completely normal response to a tough workout but if these feelings are sticking around 3-4 days after you may need to turn up the recovery notch. Taking a cold bath, getting in an ice bath has been proven to reduce inflammation and help muscle soreness.
Let’s make it clear that being sore doesn’t always mean you’ve had a great workout, this happens often for beginners and there are many factors at play. Just remember, you want to feel rested and ready to jump into another session not barely able to walk… and so these tips should help!