Tips to Maximize Post Workout Recovery
One of the most overlooked parts of any workout, from casual cyclists, to everyday gym fanatics, is post workout recovery. Active post workout recovery is essential to maximize fitness gains and sports performance, and allows you to train sooner, harder and more efficiently during your next training session. Recovery starts as soon as your workout is finished!
Cool Down and Stretches:
Immediately after your workout, your aim should be to fight any urges to sit down and rest, to prevent venous pooling of blood which can cause dizziness and possible fainting. Basically, your cool down can be as simple as a 10-minute walk, with the aim to gradually bring the body back to a steady state of rest. The benefits of a cool down include the removal of waste products (lactic acids) from your muscles, decrease your heart rate and body temperature.
Stretching is crucial to maximize recovery but almost every athlete has missed a day or two of this. It is a great idea to think of stretching as part of your workout routine, taking place immediately after your cool down.
What are some of the said benefits?
Increased flexibility and range of motion – This helps relax tight constricted muscles back to the bodies normal state and even further, this will also decrease the likelihood of injury. It is also said that leg stretches after a workout can increase muscular power and endurance.
Removal of waste product – Lactic acid will build up in the working muscles when exercising and may cause pain and discomfort, hindering your workout intensity. Stretching helps to remove the lactic acid from the muscles.
Blood flow – Stretching helps to gradually increase the blood flow to your muscles which is essential as muscles feed on the oxygen and nutrients in the blood. It also helps to slow down the heart rate to a normal state.
To take your stretching to the next level, it is a great idea to roll out your working or sore muscles with a foam roller for additional benefit.
Replace Lost Fluids
Your muscles are 79% water, so it only makes sense to drink water before, during and after working out to keep hydrated. Water regulates your body temperature and helps increase protein synthesis in your muscles. Adequate fluid replacement is even more important for endurance athletes who may lose large amounts of water during hours of sweating. Drinking plenty of water will improve every bodily function.
Post Workout Nutrition
During your workout, you are depleting your muscle glycogen stores and breaking down your muscle fibers. Adequate nutrition post exercise is needed to restore the glycogen levels, increase muscle protein synthesis and enhance the recovery time and effectiveness.
A good source of protein is needed post exercise to rebuild and repair your muscles. Too little protein will lead to muscle soreness and excessive protein intake can be stored as fat. Getting in protein straight after your workout will help the body heal the micro tears in the muscles.
Carbohydrates post workout will help restore depleted glycogen stores. The best way to restore your glycogen is to eat high glycemic index carbohydrates which means foods that will digest quickly and spike your insulin. Eat as soon as you can after your workout. Studies show that delaying your body its nutrients of up to 2 hours can dramatically slow down the rate of muscle glycogenresynthesis of up to 50%.
The main goal for your post workout meal is to supply your body with the nutrients it needs to adequately recover as efficiently as possible and therefore maximizing the benefits of your next workout.
Rest and Relax
Your body doesn’t get bigger and stronger in the gym, it grows and repairs itself when you’re not at the gym. A good night’s sleep is essential for recovery by increasing anabolic hormone activity, and by giving the body the rest it deserves. A good night sleep will fight fatigue, reduce stress and other psychological barriers holding you back from performing at your peak.
Put a few of these practices into play and I can guarantee your recovery time will be quicker and better than ever.