We know you've been working out hard and pushing yourself in your training. We also know that it has paid off as you have become stronger, bigger, and agile than before. However, spending hours lifting daily, week in and week out, may hinder your progress at some point in time. When it comes to a proper strength and conditioning program, recovery and rest are essential components. Most coaches and trainers would argue that they are just as or more important than the actual lifting itself.
Recovery must take place before any progress can be made. It's critical to stay injury-free, maintain consistent long-term training, and push yourself to your physical limits from time to time.
There are some basic physical and nutritional ideas to optimize the effects of your hard work and keep you on the path of better health, function, and sustained fitness.
In this article, we will look at what you can do to optimize your post-workout recovery, but before that, let's dive a little deeper to understand why post-workout recovery is essential in the first place.
Why Is Post-Workout Recovery Important?
We believed that the most effective way to maximize workout gains was to work extremely hard for many years. As a result, post-workout recovery was frequently a last-minute consideration.
However, in a world where everyone strives to achieve their goals, giving the body enough time to adapt to your training stimulus has become a critical competitive advantage.
To put it another way, a workout serves to make the body more aware of its physical and mechanical limitations. As a result, we push ourselves to our limits with a heavier weight, an extra rep, or a greater distance/speed to assert to our tissue that it needs to improve. As a result, it attempts to adapt.
For the body to quickly return to a normal steady-state (homeostasis), it must also support its need to adapt and improve while replenishing and restoring vital energy stores to go again as soon as possible after a workout is completed.
Many of the benefits we associate with working out result from post-workout recovery, which is frequently overlooked in the 'training hard' conversation.
So, if you're looking to get the most out of your workout, here are seven ideas to keep in mind immediately following your workout and in the days that follow.
Perform an Active Cool Down
Once you are done with your workout, don't just sit down and relax. Instead, keep moving until your breathing has returned to normal and you have stopped sweating.
This will assist in flushing out any remaining waste and congestion that may have accumulated during your workout and allowing important nutrients to return to the body, reducing the likelihood of next-day muscle soreness after your workout.
This also allows you to return to pre-workout physiological levels. If you cannot devote sufficient time to a proper cool-down session, make every effort to remain as active as possible for the remainder of the day.
Rehydrate With Water
Rather than going for a sports drink, have a glass of water after your workout session. Carbohydrate heavy sports drinks might result in supporting dehydration rather than addressing it. The sugars in these beverages may cause water to be drawn to the gut for digestion rather than to the areas of the body that need it for use and recovery. Instead, concentrate on drinking plenty of water and consuming as many calories as possible from whole, natural foods. Also, putting a pinch of good quality iodized table salt in your glass of water will help to facilitate proper absorption and better post-workout recovery. Whether you are a professional or fitness enthusiast, if you are working out then proper hydration is important for your workouts. Explore and know why we say this in our blog, The Importance Of Proper Hydration Before, During And After Working Out.
As most people are aware, post-workout protein consumption is essential for both muscle growth and recovery after a workout. You would have been told to consume your protein within an "anabolic window" 30-60 minutes post-workout for optimal gains. But, this is more of a myth than a fact as your body treats the protein the same through the day, and your overall protein is what matters the most. The point is that if you're consuming enough protein through the day, the timing of that post-workout protein is less critical.
After a workout, the window for protein can be as long as four to six hours, with muscular "protein sensitivity" lasting up to 24 hours. So don't feel obligated to drink a protein shake as soon as you get off the treadmill specially if the rest of your day is packed with protein-rich food.
Eat Carbs to Replenish Glycogen
Studies show that glycolysis accounts for approximately 80 per cent of the ATP your body produces during a resistance training session. The breakdown of glucose provides the energy required for your workout. Glucose (also known as blood sugar) is a simple sugar molecule that every carbohydrate you consume eventually breaks down into.
Now, carbs that aren't immediately used for energy get stored in your muscles as glycogen. Then, during a workout, glycogen gets converted into glucose to supply your muscles with energy.
The glycogen levels get significantly depleted after a workout session. Therefore, if you want to have the energy you need to get stronger and perform at a high level during your next workout session, you must consume enough carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores. This means that you must eat a hefty serving of carbs after every workout. Besides this, there is a detailed blog on how you can work on your meals specially if you are looking at maximizing your athletic performance. Give it a read – Pre-Workout Meal and Post-Workout Meal: Why They Are Critical?
Get Enough Sleep
Now, the amount of time you sleep is one of the most significant predictors of your overall growth. For example, studies show that restricting sleep to 5 hours per night for just one week can stunt your muscle growth by about 10-15%. In addition, sleep restriction has also been shown to cause a similar reduction in Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1).
It does not matter what you do at the gym, if you are not getting enough sleep. Your potential to gain muscle will be severely hindered. The point is that getting adequate sleep is critical if you want to maximize your results.
If you want to ensure that you are well-rested and that your energy levels are replenished before your next workout, we recommend that you get eight hours of sleep every day.
Foam Roll Tight Muscles
Foam rollers are little cylinders used to "massage" your body. There are two primary advantages to foam rolling: better recovery and improved performance. Like having a massage, Foam rolling has been shown to help alleviate muscle pain induced by weightlifting and other activities.
There are also some important performance advantages to foam rolling that you might get due to this habit. According to research, foam rolling can result in a considerable improvement in your range of motion.
Consider the following scenario: If you have difficulty squatting to a deep level and you foam roll your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, you may be able to expand the range of motion in your hips and knees. As a result, your squat will become deeper and hence increase in strength.
Get Your Micronutrients
Focusing on your micronutrients intake after an intense workout is as essential as having carbs and protein. Vitamins and minerals help your body to recover well and rebuild those broken muscle tissues. Vitamins like Vitamin A, B complex, and C help muscle recovery as they act as potent antioxidants and protect muscle cells from damaging free radicals in the body. Vitamin C is also needed to make a collagen protein that helps muscle growth and boosts recovery. Minerals like magnesium help in releasing the tension from the sore muscles aiding them to relax. Therefore, it becomes imperative to add a supplement that can provide you with all these vitamins and minerals in an adequate amount to help you recover well.
Maximult for Men and Women from Epicvita provides you with all the required vitamins and minerals to help you recover and boost your metabolism. It consists of 50+ active ingredients with antioxidants and added probiotics to help you achieve your fitness goals. Also, it is a NABL Certified 3rd Party Lab Tested product, so you don’t have to worry about its authenticity.
The Bottom Line
If you're devoting your precious time to hit the gym and workout, it's important to maximize the return on your investment. Prioritizing active recovery, good quality sleep, mobility, and nutrition should be as important as the workout itself. The more time you invest in your post-workout recovery, the greater the benefits.
If you are working hard, make sure your post-workout recovery supports that hard work!
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