Nice job! You have been killing it at the gym and now your muscles are begging for relief. What you during the time you are not working out can be just as, if not more important then the workout itself. Recovery is one of the most over looked, yet most important aspects of training and overall wellness. Training too hard for too long can lead to over training and an increased risk of injury. The best workout in the world will not yield your desired results if it is not followed up with proper recovery. Below are
8 Proven Ways to Speed Muscle Recovery
1. Get More Sleep
Sleep is so essential to muscle recovery some experts consider it even more important than exercise and nutrition when it comes to strength and performance gains. During sleep is when the body produces hormones responsible for stimulating muscle protein synthesis. Aim for 8 hours of quality sleep a night. Try to maintain the same sleep schedule, even on weekends, waking up and falling asleep around the same time everyday.
2. Foam Rolling
When a professional massage is not in the cards, try foam rolling to help relieve muscle tension and soreness. This simple practice of self-massage can help work out the knots in muscles. Spend about 60 seconds rolling out sore areas. Check out foam rolling exercises here. Most gyms have foam rollers. They are a great inexpensive tool to have at home. I like this one.
3. Try Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. When athletes consumed just 8 ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day for a week before and 48 hours after competing in a marathon they experienced less muscle damage, soreness, inflammation, and protein breakdown than athletes who consumed a placebo.
4. Proper Post-Workout Nutrition
The perfect post workout snack is around 200 calories and a combination of complex carbs and protein. Ideally this should be consumed within one hour of completing your last set. Carbs are necessary to replenish glycogen stores depleted during an intense workout. Protein is essential to repair and build muscles. Try a banana with almond butter or hard boiled eggs with a cup of berries.
5. Sip Ginger Tea
Ginger’s anti-inflammatory compounds may help reduce muscle soreness. A study published in The Journal of Pain found that when ginger is consumed post-workout it can reduce muscle soreness the following day.
6. Active Recovery
Light movement such as an easy walk or yoga can help speed muscle recovery. Active recovery stimulates blood flow which can help reduce muscle pain.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
Dehydration can reduce the body’s ability to repair itself after a tough workout. Be sure to consume plenty of water, before, during, and after a workout. No need for fancy sports drinks, for most people plain old water works just fine.
8. Arnica Gel
The main benefit of arnica gel is it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Much of the discomfort experienced from muscle soreness is due to inflammation. Rub a small amount of arnica gel on tender areas to help treat inflammation. Arnica gel can be found at most pharmacies. I like this product.