When motivation sets in – often the last thing we want is to lose our momentum due to muscles soreness or fatigue. And while giving yourself regular rest days (at least 1 day a week) is important for recovery – any longer than that can seem like a roadblock to your goals.
Here’s 10 simple tips to help give your muscles some much needed TLC – so you can keep up the fitness routine you love!
- Protein is your friend!
Directly after your workout isn’t the only time you should be consuming protein to aid muscle recovery. For best results, make sure you’re including protein with each meal throughout the day.
- Make sleep a priority
It doesn’t matter which way you look at it, skimping on sleep is no way to accelerate results – even if you’re putting those extra hours towards workout out! When you’re training a lot – those zzz are even more precious! Aim for between 7-8 hours every night.
- Get icy
Whether it’s an ice bath or a dip in the winter ocean – taking a 5-minute cold plunge can significantly reduce muscle soreness and inflammation.
- Consider compression garments
Research suggests that wearing compression garments can help to decrease the time it takes for muscle to recover during intense bursts of exercise1.
- Drink up
Keeping adequately hydrated both before and after your workout is vital for performance and muscle recovery. If dehydrated, your body simply can’t perform at its highest level. Remember, 3L per day is the absolute minimum – and that’s before losing any through sweat!
- But only drink the good stuff!
Keep booze off the menu! Stick to water if recovery is your focus. Alcohol can leave you dehydrated and as a result, will reduce your body’s ability to recover, not to mention reduce liver function.
- Stretch – daily
Stretching is one of the absolute best things you can do to aid muscle recovery. Not just some days – every day! Post-workout is the best time to get your stretch on, while your muscles are warm. However, squeezing in another stretch session at the end of the day while you’re watching your favourite TV shows is always beneficial!
- Roll it out
Foam rolling helps to release muscle tension and prevent injury, but again – consistency is key. Take a few minutes before and after every workout to stretch and foam roll – your body will thank you for it later! Not sure where to start? Learn how to foam roll like a pro here.
- Keep moving
Sometimes the best thing you can do when you’re too sore to move is to keep moving! Within reason of course. Low-intensity exercises like walking can be great for aiding recovery – not to mention a secret weapon for fighting fat. More on that here.
- Listen to your body
You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear is again – you know your body best! If something doesn’t feel right or if you’re in significant or long-lasting pain, always seek the advice of a medical professional to get the all-clear. Remember – there are no short cuts to success. Pushing on with an injury when you’re running on empty will only slow you down in the long run. Listen to your body and give it the rest and recharge it needs!
Keen to hear more about post-workout recovery?
Check out our National Fitness Manager’s review of some of the most talked-about recovery methods here.