Post Workout Recovery – Why it’s Important and How to Recover

by Fitcoachion | Last Updated: June 12, 2020


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When you work out, you break your muscles down to build them back. When you do this over and over again, the strength of your muscles continues to increase as your body learns to build them back every time. Therefore, with every workout, your strength, and physical fitness improve. However, your post-workout activities may have a bigger impact on your overall gym efforts. Post-workout recovery tips can act as a make it or break it factor for your strenuous time in the gym. In this blog, you will get to learn about the importance and types of post-workout recovery. I will also share some key ways to help you recover your muscles effectively. So, here we go!

Exercise is Damaging:

It feels good if you wear Workout Apparel, but its reality that exercise is damaging. Every time that you work out, you cause microscopic damage to your muscle cells. As a result of this, many changes take place in your body such as:

  1. Changes in hormonal levels
  2. Fluctuation in enzyme levels
  3. Increase in body inflammation

However, these changes are quite good for you. As a matter of fact, when you work out and go through these changes, your body works very hard to restore itself to its previous condition. As a result, your muscles become stronger overall. That’s why people who go to the gym regularly for exercise, enjoy better health than those who miss out frequently. The benefits are endless but some of them are given below:

  1. Improvement in muscle growth
  2. Better insulin sensitivity
  3. Reduction in body inflammation
  4. Stronger heart muscles
  5. Healthier body

    So, basically, a very important point that we get to understand from the above passage is this: working outbreaks muscles and the body works hard to build them back afterward. The actual benefit of post-workout recovery is that you help your body in recovering far more speedily than it would otherwise. If the speed of recovery is slow, and if you do not engage in any post-workout recovery, you are at serious risk for injury during the workout the very next day.

    Let Your Muscles Heal:

    It goes without saying that after an intense workout, your muscles are damaged. This also makes your body’s immune system go all berserk and, as a result, it starts to recover all the damage that is done. All your body’s tissues that include tissues from your muscles to bones, and heart to lungs, recover, and become quite different from what they were before. Yes, they become stronger! Moreover, your body adapts to the type of workout you did earlier and becomes habitual, with the passage of time, of not tiring with such an activity. As a result, your muscular strength increases. All you have to do is make sure that you go to do the gym daily, and allow your body ample time to recover. Along with the time that you give your body to rest, you need to eat a certain type of food as well to aid in making this recovery faster. I will share some good food items to aid in the recovery process later in this article. If you follow these recommendations, your physical fitness will sky-rocket!

    Stay Safe and Injury-free:

    Rest, and most importantly sleep, is a gift from mother nature that must not be taken for granted. With proper rest, after the workout, you can allow your body to revitalize itself for the hectic routine the next day. Also, this is one of the most important elements of post-workout recovery that allows your body to recover fully and get ready for the intense training routine the next day. If you intend on staying safe and injury-free, a good amount of rest is of pivotal importance to you. If you get proper rest, the next day you can train more efficiently giving way to better muscle growth and physical fitness.

    Research has shown that if you do not take proper rest after a workout or engage in muscle recovery activities, you are prone to a dysfunctional immune system, drastic hormonal changes, and workout-induced depression. You do not want things as they will not only affect your workout routine but your entire life as well. 

    Physical activity guidelines form the U.S Department of Health and Human Services highly recommend that you work out on different weekdays (for at least three times a week). On the contrary, if you aim to do all of the weekly workouts at once, you will risk injuring yourself. It’s best to work steadily towards your goals. Make sure that you dedicate quality time to your body during the week. You can increase the number of days from three (3) to five (5) as your body gets used to training regularly. This will enable you to get maximum gains from your gym efforts. 

    Other than rest, eating the right type of food will also allow your body to recover quite fast. Your body requires proteins in order to rebuild. A protein shake after a workout will go a long in ensuring that your body feels comfy and rebuilds effectively. Similarly, for sore muscles, tart cherry juice plays a vital role in reducing soreness. Chocolate milk comes with many vital nutrients for your body. The proteins will start your recovery and the carbs will decrease the amount of time required for your body to heal back up for the next workout. Moreover, before sleeping, make sure to take in some protein. This protein will play a vital role in recovering your muscles as you sleep.

    Types of Workout Recovery:

    There are many types of recovering after a workout and I’m going to share their classification with you. I’ll also explain them one by one. All of these are aimed at recovering your muscles and preparing them for the intense workout the next day.

    Passive recovery has much to do with absolute rest than anything else. Basically, you just lie down on something comfy and close your eyes. Maybe, you can sleep as well. It’s going to help your body regain its strength. However, the amount of recovery greatly depends on the amount of physical activity you were engaging in earlier. It also depends on your current physical fitness level.

    Active recovery is a very effective way of recovering your muscles. Post-workout, this technique works wonders as it allows your body to recuperate itself with low-intensity, and low-impact exercise. All this exercise does is regulate your blood flow and lower your muscular activity to a normal one. You can engage in active recovery simply after an intense workout by jogging back home or riding your motorcycle. Did you know that riding a bike also counts as physical activity? On a bike, you have to maintain your posture and this exerts pressure on your entire body. As a result, your core, leg, hip, and back muscles get worked out to quite an extent. Furthermore, with this light exercise, you get to improve the blood flow in your entire body. The oxygen reaching your cells also improves and you bring your body back to a normal, relaxed state. 

    Massage and foam rolling constitute myofascial release. It is a simple technique that is also known as soft tissue therapy. Soft tissue therapy, generally, has a very relaxing and comforting effect on your muscles. If you undertake this recovery process, right after or before a workout, you will be able to slow down muscle soreness. Also, you will be able to speed the muscle recovery process as a plus. 

    This is the recovery mode that is an instant favorite for many and why shouldn’t it be? Everybody, almost everybody, loves to eat! And let me tell you, that after a workout you can reward yourself with many delicious meals. All of these meals will help to improve the overall condition of your body and aid greatly in the muscle recovery process. And literally, good food goes hand in hand with all your workout efforts. My friend, revel in knowing the fact that you can devour chocolate right after a workout. And no, that’s not all. You can even have a delicious protein shake all for yourself. You can add certain fruits to the shake to increase the recovery pace. 

    Sleep, without any shadow of a doubt, is the greatest post-workout recovery tool that you can and must employ without holding anything back. Promise yourself a sleep time of eight hours and guarantee yourself an amazing day ahead. If you compromise on your sleep time or develop a sleep-pattern not conducive to what doctors advise, get ready for the repercussions. Not only will your workout efforts go to the gallows, but your health will also decline. From an active day in the workplace and the gym, you will start having dull days with a decline in your gym performance as well. Gradually, you will feel all your gains slipping away. Make sure that you get eight hours of sleep on a daily basis. Furthermore, take in proteins before you sleep in order to speed up muscle recovery.

    How to Heal Your Muscles Back:

    Now, I am going to share a few popular ways to get your muscles back in mint condition. Obviously, after all the breakage in the gym, they deserve some rest. Also, to aid them in the recovery process, some steps should be taken. Therefore, to address this need of speeding up the recovery process; I will share some very easy-to-do activities in order to calm your systems down.

    Listening to something that is pleasant for the ears to relax and soothe your body. After a tough workout, you can easily jump on your sofa and listen to some good and relaxing music. Trances are quite effective too. Listen to something that soothes your brain and makes you feel positive about yourself. Loud music with vulgar or negative lyrics will not only have a toxic effect on your mind but on your physical gains as well. Know that humility is the hallmark of strong people and that your training to become stronger should not go in vain. You can also listen to a Ted talk or some other lecture that makes your mind peaceful. Listening to an audiobook is an excellent choice too!

    Working out breaks your muscles on a microscopic level. As a result, you need to aid your body in recovering back speedily. You can do that quite easily as well. All you have to do is befriend proteins. One hour before the workout, they can do wonders. They can also do wonders before you go to sleep as well. After your workout, entertain yourself with a protein shake. You will energy coursing through your body as you feast on the delicious shake. And yeah, proteins in the morning are going to help you greatly too. They will keep your cravings that come during the day at bay. Chocolate milk is extremely beneficial as well. It contains a lot of proteins. Make it a habit to devour it every alternate day. It is highly beneficial for one’s health.

    A lifting session or a high-intensity workout is bound to get all your muscles sore and tired. As a result, you will feel your body weighing you down. Areas of your body might get inflamed giving rise to swelling. In order to do away with this swelling and inflammation, it is highly recommended to drink tart cherry juice. Tart cherry juice comes with anti-inflammatory properties and will help to tone down your swelling as well. Furthermore, you can also take in some dietary supplements to reduce the inflammation in your body. Inflammation must be addressed quite quickly. Otherwise, if not treated, it will not subside quickly and affect your performance during the workout the very next day. 

    And it does! Water will help to increase your workout gains like nobody’s business. Throughout the day, your aim should be to drink as much water as you can. It will keep you and your cells fresh. Staying hydrated will also help to maximize your workout gains. A body that runs low on water will have its cells drying out and dying which is no good for workout enthusiasts. Even during the workout, taking sips of water now and then will be highly beneficial for you. Take comfort in knowing that water comes with enough health advantages that you can toss any so-called energy drink in the rubbish can. 

    Most of the energy drinks come with lots of sugar content that is going to destroy all your workout hard work. Refrain from eating anything unnatural. Moreover, water after working out is also quite beneficial for one’s health. The American Council on Exercise states that you should drink eight (8) ounces of water 30 minutes after exercise. They also recommend drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water for every pound of body weight that one loses during exercises. On a good workout day, you could lose nine (9) pounds of fluids per hour. Water will keep you fresh before, during, and after the workout. Make sure to drink plenty of water in order to speed-up the post-workout recovery process.

    Alcohol is not good for your health even if you are not a workout enthusiast. If you drink alcohol, you are doing a grave injustice to yourself. The disadvantages are far too many. Totally eliminate it from your life and come clean, you will thank me later. The National Strength and Conditioning Association states that alcohol can increase the times you have to pee, this directly impacts the hydration levels in your body. And know for a fact that hydration is of primary importance for post-workout recovery. With the elimination of alcohol from your life, the good effects will become significant to you in no time. You will realize the benefits of staying away from this health hazard and live a healthy, remarkable, and active life. Getting drunk or intoxicated is not the hallmark of civilized and health-conscious people.

    The foam roller is a great way of easing down all the tense muscles in your body that get caught up with one another owing to a tough workout routine. Make sure that you address the connective tissues in your body effectively. Furthermore, roll out your muscles with foam or semi-rigid rollers. They will help to remove these knots. They also have a smoothening effect and will address any imbalance in your overall muscular texture. After the workout, spending some time with the foam roller will aid you greatly in sleeping well as well. This will, in turn, help you to prepare effectively for the next day.

    Daytime naps are quite beneficial for your health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, naps can help to make you more alert, performing, and efficient. A study found a link between sleep quality, duration, and muscle strength. This study included more than 10,000 students ranging from 16 years of age to 30.

    In the study, men who had more than seven hours of sleep had better hand-grip strength. The ones with less time had a less firm grip. On the other hand, the effect on women wasn’t quite significant. With that said, know that power naps can help you gain your strength in no time. Athletes and celebrities do it all the time. 

    Compression garments will help you in more ways than one. Never take compression garments for granted and always wear good clothes to the gym. These clothes will not only maximize your gains, but they will also minimize muscle injury. Compression shorts come with a cushioning effect and will caress your skin. Even if you happen to fall down, you will not fall prey to bruises or cuts. Instead, the compression short will save you. 

    Moreover, loose clothes, especially in the case of BJJ aspirants, are quite a bad luck sign. That’s because they can be grappled easily. Compression tank tops will also help you seem and feel better increasing your confidence. Good compression garments will limit the wear and tear on your body and allow you to work out to your maximum potential. What more do you want!? Furthermore, the lesser the damage to your muscles, the easier it will be to recover after a long and strenuous workout activity.

    After consultation with a doctor, on the most intense workout days, you can take anti-inflammatory medications to speed up muscle recovery. The medication will also help to reduce the soreness in your muscles. But this is only for the most intense days and with clearance from a doctor. Know that NSAIDS is not good in terms of increasing muscular strength. Natural inflammatory such as turmeric and willow bark work wonders and are way better for such purposes. 

    Many professional athletes who work out prefer to take a bath after a workout. It is believed that taking a bath after working out will help to ease up the muscles and remove the knots in between them. Thereby, enhancing fast post-workout recovery. The activity also allows one to feel as fresh as a cucumber. Cold baths are preferred but some athletes also go for hot baths. 

    If you want to have better physical strength, then the above points are for you. You must follow them strictly and I am quite confident that you will be able to see positive results in no time. It is important to ensure you have a good post-workout recovery. Not doing so will lead to a bodily imbalance that will affect your workout activities planned for the next day. Just a few precautionary steps will go a long way in cementing a rapid post-workout recovery for you.