Fitness is a lifelong journey, and no matter if your goal is to build lean muscle mass, shred that excess fat off your belly, become stronger, or if you’re looking to achieve all of those things, there is no denying that you need to be consistent and productive at the gym. What’s more, it’s important that you progress over time, and to do that, you will need to up the intensity of your workouts little by little to make your body change, and to reach your goals. Now, while you are doing all of this, and as you’re pushing your limits in training, you’re bound to come across some recovery issues if you’re not careful. That’s why you will need to know the best ways to speed up recovery.
Contrary to popular belief, you are not actually building lean muscle, getting stronger, or shredding fat during your workout. It’s during the recovery process that your body employs the necessary mechanisms to make you lose weight or slowly build new muscle tissue, which is why your no.1 priority should be to optimize recovery, especially if you’re following a strenuous workout program. Here are the best ways you can speed up post-workout recovery, avoid injury, and achieve results faster.
First and foremost, you have probably heard by now that working out is just a single part of the fitness puzzle, and while it is true that you need to be consistent and dedicated in training, you need to remember that you won’t be able to achieve your fitness goals if your diet is not on point. Now, while it is important to balance out your protein, carb, and fat intake on a daily basis, keep in mind that protein will always be your most important macronutrient.
Protein allows you to build lean muscle mass, and it helps with fat burning as well, but most importantly for today’s topic, it aids total-body recovery. Protein should be the essential macronutrient in your post-workout nutrition plan, and generally, you will want to eat a gram of protein per pound of body weight.
During the recovery process, your body is craving protein because it needs to obtain the building blocks necessary to create lean muscle tissue, which is why you can’t substitute this crucial nutrient with carbohydrates or fats. Finally, science has confirmed that there is no such thing as an anabolic window after a workout, and that muscle-protein synthesis is elevated for at least 24 hours after training, so make sure you spread out your protein intake evenly to help your body recover throughout this period.
Many people will exercise so hard and spend so much time at the gym that they will have zero energy and zero willpower to spend time cooling down, stretching, and foam rolling. That said, simply walking out of the gym immediately after a tough workout is the last thing you want to do if you’re looking to stifle muscle soreness and optimize recovery in time for the next training session. Instead, you want to spend at least ten minutes on your cool-down routine, which should include mobility and flexibility training, as well as deep muscle relaxation.
Use this time to get a deep stretch in all of those key areas that work the most during training, such as your back muscles, your pecs, your glutes and hamstrings, your shoulders, and your quadriceps. This will promote blood flow and help you recover quickly.
Supplements are just that – an aid you can use to reach your fitness goals a bit faster, which means that you can’t use supplements to negate the effects of a bad diet plan, a poorly-devised workout routine, or a sedentary lifestyle. Provided that you are doing everything else right, you can use certain supplements such as the essential amino acids to speed up the recovery process, and support your overall health in order to avoid injuries down the road. You can include supplements in your post-workout routine, but keep in mind that you should have a healthy intra-workout routine as well.
In the case of intra-workout drinks, there are numerous benefits to using BCAA and EAA powder supplements for people who are looking to improve recovery over the long term, as these amino acids help support CNS recovery and the proper functioning of your immune system, all the while preventing muscle breakdown and fatigue. Combined with a daily multivitamin and certain minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and zinc, BCAAs and EAAs can help you create a sustainable fitness plan that won’t allow you to burn yourself out.
Just because you’re finished with your workout doesn’t mean that you can become a couch potato, or that you shouldn’t move a muscle until your next workout, because this will not only hinder recovery but will also hinder your progress in the gym. Ask any experienced athlete and they will tell you that one of the keys to their success is being active throughout the day.
This doesn’t mean that they are exercising all of the time, though, it simply means that they are not spending their time staring at the TV, and are instead walking their dogs, doing some light yoga, going out dancing and having fun, and just being active. This is also a great time to walk on your TRUE® treadmill or elliptical.
In a nutshell, this promotes healthy blood flow and keeps your muscles engaged throughout the day to avoid stiffness, fatigue, and soreness. You don’t have to worry about active recovery too much, simply aim to enrich your daily routine with healthy habits, or if you’re sitting at your desk most of the time at work, be sure to get up every hour, and just walk around for a bit.
And finally, always remember that the best post-workout recovery tool is to simply get some quality shut-eye. There is nothing that can replace the restorative benefits of a good night’s sleep, so make sure that you’re turning in every night at the same time, and that you’re getting a solid eight-hour sleep cycle throughout the week. Do this for a while, you will start feeling more energized, positive, relaxed, and ready to take on every workout no matter how tough it may be.
In your desire to achieve the physique of your dreams or to reach your weight goals, you might push yourself in training a bit too much. While it is important that you optimize your workouts so that you don’t burn yourself out, it’s also important to stick with these tips in order to make every training session as productive as possible, avoid injuries, and speed up recovery like a professional athlete.