Blood, sweat and tears. That’s what we put in to achieve results, right? We push our bodies hard everyday in the gym looking for our limits as we take our fitness to the next level. We wake before dawn to exercise before work and even sacrifice nights out with friends to achieve what we ultimately desire. Sometimes, we get so focused on the exercises at hand, that we often forget the importance of muscle recovery. I used to think a rest day was a day wasted that I could have used, instead, to make progress. I can’t even tell you how wrong I was! Our bodies NEED rest to grow!
There are several things we can do to aid in muscle recovery.
1) Hydration. Water makes up 75% of your muscles, helps your body absorb nutrients, helps convert food to energy, and cushions your joints. Deficient amounts of water in your body will lead to muscle soreness, cramps, and fatigue.
2) Stretching/Foam Roller. Try a light stretch after a heavy workout. Focus on stretching the muscle group you exercised. Foam rolling and/or stretching before and after exercise can also help increase circulation. This helps nutrients needed for recovery to reach your muscles more quickly.
3) Protein. The optimal time to consume protein is within 30 to 60 minutes post exercise. I try to consume a quick digesting protein source such as whey protein immediately post workout, then follow it with a more slowly digesting protein such as chicken an hour later. This supplies your muscles with the required nutrients and amino acids for protein synthesis and muscle repair.
4) Active Recovery. Going for a light walk in the evening after a heavy gym session will help muscles flush out lactic acid, which is a major culprit in muscle soreness.
5) Supplements. There are so many supplements out there that sometimes it can be difficult to decide what you should or shouldn’t take. When it comes to recovery however there are a few tried and true supplements. BCAA’s (Branch Chain Amino Acids), glutamine, creatine, and again, post-workout protein. These are all staples in my daily supplement regimen and the essentials I recommend for muscle recovery.
6) Sleep. I can’t express how important adequate sleep is to your fitness goals! Lack of sleep can cause imbalances in hormones such as cortisol, insulin, human growth hormone (HGH), and testosterone. All of these things play vital roles in the muscle building process. Also, when you sleep, your body is in a higher state of anabolism. The anabolic process is the time in which muscle growth & repair occur.
Keep pushing Fitfam!
XoXo Absolute Diva
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