Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and soreness from a workout. Many of us are continuously looking for new and better regimens to build muscle and stay in shape. But whether you’re out finding the Crossfit gym in your hometown, learning UFC fighting workouts, or simply sticking to a strict weekly workout schedule — it can take a big toll on your body and it’s functionality. That’s why it’s just as, if not more, essential to have a workout recovery plan to guarantee you get the most gains out of your fitness routine.
As much as we all would like it to be, the recovery process after a great workout isn’t something that can truly be expedited. With it comes fatigue, muscle soreness and it can sometimes lead to real pain.
Thankfully, there are many ways to alleviate some of this fitness aftermath. In order to do so you must keep your body healthy and strong, which takes more attention than a simple protein shake and forgoing desert last night — although you’re on the right track.
To aid you in the recovery process, we’ve compiled some simple methods that will not only reduce levels of soreness and pain, but will also boost your progress and gains in the weight room.
The Three S’s: Sleep, Stay Hydrated, and Stretch
It may seem obvious, but these three steps are often taken for granted.
Sleep: If you are constantly sleep deprived, the muscle soreness you experience is going to be more severe and the recovery time will be extended.
Stay hydrated: Drinking water can be beneficial in many ways, but most importantly it flushes out degrading toxins from your body and helps prevent dehydration, which can decrease your energy levels and also make muscle soreness worse.
Stretch: Too many people forget to make time to stretch and make it a habit of skipping this essential step. Stretching increases blood flow to the muscle, which can decrease your risk of injuries and soreness by allowing your joints to move freely and fluidly, thus enabling your muscles to work and recover more effectively.
Related Topic: Fitness Tips from Lee Jimenez
Don’t Overdo It
Northern California resident Kurtis Woodard, former semi-professional football player and fitness guru, hits the gym for about 45 minutes every morning. He focuses on large muscle groups such as back, core, legs, and so on. No matter what Woodard is doing that day, though, he does not take it to the extreme. He pushes just enough to be sore the next day, but not in a way that inhibits his recovery process.
If you overwork your muscles, your body and its energy will focus on repairing torn muscles rather than building them. It’s important to find that happy medium, even if that means taking a day or two off.
Woodard also relies on rolling out tense muscles at the end of a workout, in addition to stretching, to help the blood flow and relieve stress.
Nutrition is a Must
New England Patriots’ tight-end Rob Gronkowski is known for being in the NFL’s upper echelon of athletes in terms of physical stature. One very important aspect of his fitness regimen is the nutrition he feeds his body. Foods that are vital for Gronks’ muscle recovery include: proteins such as salmon, grilled chicken, and avocados; fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients (kale, brussels sprouts, pomegranate, mango); healthy carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice and sweet potatoes.
Related Topic: Healthy Snacks
One of the most effective post workout recovery supplements is a Branch Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) powder. The three amino acids you should look for are: Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine. These acids are found in normal protein structures but are unbound, meaning they will increase the rate of absorption and allow the nutrients to flow freely to all of your muscles. A widely-used and popular form of BCAA can be found on Amazon from BulkSupplements.