The best tips to help recovery.
You may have experienced delayed onset muscle soreness before, also known as DOMS, after a workout. There are a few reasons you can experience muscle soreness, the most common reasons are:
- You are just new to working out, or it has been a while since you have last exercised,
- You have been working hard with your training and are getting stronger,
- You have tried a new workout style or new exercises you haven’t done before,
So, do not panic if you do a workout and you are feeling sore or your muscles feel a bit tight, but also do not panic if you are not feeling sore. Everyone recovers differently, a workout may make you sore but not someone else which is completely normal.
What do you do if you are feeling sore? The following are my tips for what I think helps recovery the most and get you ready for your next workout.
There are 2 types of stretching you will want to do, static and dynamic stretching.
Before you do a workout out you want to make sure you warm up properly. A good warm up routine helps to get the blood flowing in your muscles and joints which will help you move more efficiently during your workout as well as helping to reduce the risk of injury. Adding in dynamic stretching to your warm up will help improve your flexibility, which again, helps you move more efficiently in your workouts.
At the end of your workout you want to make sure you cool down, you can do this by walking till you get your heart rate back down, as well as doing some static stretching. Another thing you can do while cooling down is foam rolling, this with stretches can help to reduce muscle soreness, making it easier coming into your next training session.
Drink plenty of water
You want to stay hydrated all the time, not just after a workout. If you become dehydrated you may not recover from a workout as quickly and are more likely to get cramps or muscle spasms.
When you exercise you can lose a lot of fluids through sweat, so it is important you drink before, during and after the workouts to help avoid getting dehydrated. Drinking water throughout the day is important whether you are going to exercise or not as it keeps your body systems in working order but will also reduce muscle cramps and can give you an energy boost.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep, like water, is important every day. Lack of sleep has plenty of flow on effects. Sleep plays a vital role in recovery because while you sleep, your body produces hormones that help with tissue repair. Get yourself in a routine to try and get to bed at the same time each night to get enough sleep for recovery, the recommended hours for sleep is 7-9 hours each night.
Eat post workout food
You have either have a post-workout meal or snack, depending on what time of day you are training. You want to eat something within an hour of training. The ideal post workout meal/snack should contain protein and carbohydrates to help replenish the glycogen in your muscles. Protein also helps with muscle recovery and is important if you are trying to grow your muscles.
Magnesium can help speed recovery and aid in protein synthesis. Low levels of magnesium in the body can cause muscle cramping, spasms, and tension. Magnesium is also great for sleep, which is another bonus to making sure you are getting enough in your diet. You can have magnesium by eating foods rich in magnesium or taking a magnesium supplement can help some people if you cannot get enough from your food, but always check with your GP or dietitian before taking any supplements.
Getting moving is one of the best things you can do to help recovery, even if it feels like the last thing you want to do while sore. This does not mean doing a full workout, it simply meals going for a walk, bike ride or swim. Once you start moving it will improve the blood flow through your muscles which can speed up recovery allowing more nutrients to get to the muscles. You will notice how good you feel once you start moving, when you don’t move for too long you will feel your muscles tighten up and it can feel sore again, this is why you will most likely be the most sore first thing in the mornings.
You can even use stretching and foam rolling as a way of active recovery. Either way you want to make sure you are stretching every day.
Taking a nice warm bath (or even shower if you prefer) will help you relax, as well as increasing blood flow throughout your body, which again helps promote recovery. A bath is most beneficial on a rest day, not straight after a hard workout.
Another option, it you are up for it, is an ice/cold bath, it can help reduce any inflammation in the muscles after training.
What you eat
If you are not eating the right foods, your body is not getting the nutrients it needs to recover. For your body to repair and become stronger you need the right macro-nutrients. The easiest way to do this is to have a balanced diet so you will get all the nutrients your body needs. If you are unsure what you should be eating, talking to a dietitian or nutritionist will help put you on the right track.
THE RECOVERY PROCESS CAN TAKE 24-48 HOURS, WHICH IS WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO HAVE REST DAYS.
Now you can try these recovery tips to help you get back on track faster between workouts. If you allow your body time to recover it will adapt to the workouts and get stronger. Each time you exercise it will get slightly easier and you will be less sore as you adapt to training.
Daina Hutchins, Qualified Personal Trainer
Daina has been in the fitness industry since 2016 and is the co-owner of Down Under Barbell (www.downunderbarbell.com). A weight trainer herself, she enjoys training others in high-intensity groups. Currently pursuing diploma in weight management, she is a qualified strength coach, boxing (for fitness) coach and pre- and post-natal fitness.
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