How To Recover Faster and Get Back in the Gym
How To Recover Faster and Get Back in the Gym
So you’ve been to the gym. You just had a great, tough workout for leg day. You hit a new PR for squats and your legs are feeling worked. You wake up the following day and feel sore throughout your legs and glutes.
This is a common problem for so many people who are active in the gym. When it gets really bad, delayed onset muscle soreness can limit your mobility and leave you with tight muscles and fatigue, and it can inhibit your workout the next day or even for multiple days.
But you can do something to help your body recover quickly so you can get back out there. There are steps you can take before and after your workout to help your muscles heal right. And it comes with the added benefit of more gains.
Prepping for Recovery
So much of ensuring that your muscles can recover well from a workout happens before the workout even begins. Here are some things to be doing that can help your muscles repair well.
A Balanced Diet
The first thing to focus on is the foods you eat. Specifically, the nutrients you’re getting out of them. You need to build your diet around the three macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats, and proteins for optimal exercise recovery.
If you don’t have a healthy balance of all three, you may impede your muscle recovery and muscle growth. You’re going to want to build your diet for gaining muscle, as muscle gain and recovery are the same.
Your muscles grow bigger when your muscle tissue breaks down, and your body builds it back stronger. So optimal post-workout recovery equals optimal growth.
To build your diet for gains and recovery, carbs and protein are essential. You’re going to want to get about 0.75 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight, or about 75% of your body weight in grams of protein. For carbs, you should get between 1.8 and 3.2 grams of carbs per pound of body weight.
This will give your muscles energy to perform their tasks, so there’s no unnecessary breakdown and the building blocks to rebuild strength later.
What you eat before your workout is essential when it comes to how sore your muscles get, how well they perform in the workout, and how they recover.
Have a light snack high in carbohydrates with moderate amounts of protein about 30 to 60 minutes before your workout to fuel your muscles properly. That carb boost will give your muscles some stored up energy so they can do all they need to do during the workout. And your body will begin breaking down that protein to use to help your muscles recover later.
Try eating some nonfat greek yogurt with fruit or whole-grain toast with an egg. Even just a banana with a scoop of peanut butter can be a great option. These are easy, healthy ways to get clean carbs and a little protein so your muscles can kill it at this workout.
New Workout? Take It Slow
One of the biggest causes of extreme soreness is new workouts. Maybe you have not worked out in a long time, and this is your first workout back, or maybe you’re putting a new exercise in your repertoire.
These changes can cause increased muscle breakdown, which can make for a more difficult recovery process. If your soreness lasts for 72 hours or more, you probably overworked that specific muscle group.
When trying something new, take it easy and do less than you think you can, or consult a personal trainer to learn how to push yourself more safely.
If you slowly work up to more extensive exercises, your muscles will have an easier time recovering, and you’ll end up progressing faster.
It’s also beneficial to get a post-workout snack to start your recovery process off right. You’re going to want to get some protein in your system so your muscles can have a steady rebuilding process over the next 24 hours or so.
Try to get about 20 grams of protein or more right after your workout.
You can go for a can of tuna, some greek yogurt, chicken with vegetables, or a protein shake, whichever suits you best. Protein powders can be very versatile when it comes to a nourishing snack, and you can use them in smoothies for an easy and delicious source of protein.
Just get that recovery process started with some good, clean fuel.
Now let’s talk about some things to do during your recovery to help keep you on track to help your muscle fibers and tissues restore quickly.
Drinking enough water is essential to recovery, and you sweat out plenty of the water in your body during workouts. Aim to drink water before, during, and after workouts for optimal hydration.
If you don’t get enough fluids, you could be exacerbating the exercise-induced muscle damage you get from a workout, and you could prolong your recovery time.
Sports drinks can also be a great way to hydrate after a workout, as they are full of minerals and electrolytes that replenish your body, and tart cherry juice may also work wonders to help ease swelling in your muscles. Plus, tart cherry juice is full of antioxidants and vitamin C, meaning it can support your immune system as well.
Hydration is essential for cell membrane health, joint lubrication, and blood flow. Make sure you get enough H20 to keep your muscles healthy and recovering optimally.
If you’re feeling sore a day or two after a workout, one of the best things you can do is do some light exercise on the sore muscles. It may seem counterintuitive and may be challenging to want to do it, but getting those muscles lightly active can help them recover well.
Exercise in a way that gets the blood flowing to your muscles but doesn’t make it intense. Yoga is a great low-intensity workout that can improve circulation, and pairing this with a rolling foam routine may help work out any knots in your muscles.
You want to promote blood flow without breaking down more muscle fibers. Your blood vessels will bring oxygen and other nutrients that the muscle needs for recovery, so it can really help with excessive soreness.
Sleep and sleep quality are potentially the most important things you can do to help the recovery of your muscles. The sleep cycle is your single greatest recovery asset, so utilize it well.
Sleep deprivation can mean your body won’t release all of the hormones it needs to, which could inhibit your recovery. So prioritize a regular sleep schedule of eight hours a night, especially on workout days. It’s your body’s natural recovering mechanism, so use it!
Recovery is an essential part of exercise. And if you don’t prioritize it, it can hinder your movements and workouts in the future. But there are simple steps you can take to keep your recovery processes functioning well so you can kick that soreness to the curb and get on with your gains.
And as always if you’re looking for that extra boost in the gym, try Total T. By boosting your workouts, it’ll help you get after it in the gym to make soreness a problem!