Three things in life are certain: death, taxes, and the wrath of workout recovery. Many of us are continuously looking for the next robust regimen to build muscle and sculpt our bodies the way we see fit. But whether you’re joining the local Crossfit gym, learning UFC fighting workouts, or simply sticking to a weekly workout schedule, exercise can take a big toll on your body and its functionality. That’s why we’re here to talk about the essentials of having a workout recovery plan to guarantee you get the most gains out of your fitness routine.
As much as we would all like to, the recovery process after a great workout can’t be skipped. With it comes fatigue, muscle aches, and, sometimes, real pain. You can try gels, balms, and other products for immediate soreness, but they don’t always help you the next day.
Thankfully, there are many other steps you can take to prevent and alleviate some of this workout aftermath. It’s important to keep your body a well-oiled machine, which takes more attention than drinking protein shake and forgoing desert — although you’re off to a good start.
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 S’s are often taken for granted.
Sleep: If you are constantly sleep deprived, your muscle soreness is going to be more severe and your recovery time will be extended.
Stay hydrated: Drinking water is beneficial in many ways, but, most importantly, it flushes out degrading toxins from your body and helps prevent dehydration, which decreases your energy levels and makes muscle soreness worse.
Stretch: Too many people make it a habit of skipping this essential step. Stretching increases blood flow to your muscles and allows your joints to move fluidly, decreasing your risk of injuries and enabling your body to work and recover more effectively.
Don’t Overdo It
Whatever your fitness plan for the day, do not take it to the extreme. You should push just enough to be sore the next day, but not too hard that you inhibit your recovery process. If you overwork your muscles, your body 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 from your routine.
In addition to stretching, you can also try rolling out tense muscles on foam rollers at the end of a workout. This technique, called self-myofascial release (SMR), not only relieves tension in the short term, but also increases blood flow to reduce your stress for tomorrow.
Good Nutrition is a Must
Foods that are vital to muscle recovery include proteins, such as salmon, grilled chicken, and avocados; fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients and anti-inflammatory properties (kale, brussels sprouts, pomegranate, and mango); and healthy carbohydrates like quinoa, brown rice, and sweet potatoes for boosts of energy. Post-workout snacks are another good way to aid your recovery and spike metabolism, as your body refuels glycogen at a higher rate within an hour after being active.
Be Smart About Supplements
One of the most effective post-workout recovery supplements is a branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) powder. The three BCAA are leucine, isoleucine, and valine. These amino acids are found in normal protein structures but are unbound, meaning they will increase your rate of absorption and allow the nutrients to flow freely to all of your muscles. Do Vitamins BCAA is ranked No. 1 on the Labdoor list of best BCAA recovery supplements and is available for just $24.95.
Revere, a direct-to-consumer company, also has some stellar post-workout products. These plant-based nutrition formulas fuel your muscles and energize you for future workouts (and greater results). Simply mix the powders — Post-Workout Cardio or Post-Workout Strength — with water and succumb to the effects. The formulas are routine-based and boast natural ingredients such as sweet potato, cherry, pomegranate, pea, and rice protein, as well as electrolytes and probiotics to assure a healthy recovery. Revere takes pride in the fact that the products are backed by science and strives to make the refueling process as easy and productive as possible. These supplements are a great alternative to an after-exercise snack. Build a regimen with Revere here or get going on your own at just $2.50 a packet.