6 Recovery Strategies for a Workout-aholic
Building muscle and getting stronger isn’t just about pumping iron: planned recovery and down time is just as important.
Dehydration can reduce performance potential, but also delay the recovery process. Exercise and an increased metabolic rate both increase the body’s need for water and electrolytes. It has been suggested that the minimum amount of fluid intake per day for males is 3.7L/day and 2.7L/day for females.
Our Advice: Get your minimum dose! No excuses. And be mindful of water lost from sweating; one source recommended roughly 1 L of water for every 1000 calories expended.
5) Get your nutrients.
Recovery is a time where proper nutrition is essential. Protein sources are required to rebuild muscle tissue and to supply the building blocks for various cells, tissues, enzymes, and hormones. Depending on how often you train during the week, protein recommendations can range from 1.0 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.
Carbohydrates, on the hand, are muscles major source of energy; therefore, eating carbohydrates is essential at refueling your body’s glycogen stores. Your body refuels glycogen at a higher rate within 3.0 to 60 minutes post workout so it’s important to consume a post workout snack or shake during this time. It has also been shown that including a small amount of protein in this snack speeds up the rebuilding and recovery process.
Our Advice: Eat a post workout snack that contain roughly 50 grams of carbohydrates and 30 grams of protein. A well-balanced meal should be consumed roughly 2 hours post workout to continue the recovery process.
6) Massage it out.
Massage from a therapist or self-massage AKA self myofascial release (SMR) with foam rollers, massage sticks and even baseballs can reduce muscle stiffness, promote circulation and induce a state of relaxation in the muscle, although research has been equivocal. It might be painful during, but SMR can be performed the night of a hard workout to remove scar tissue, adhesions in the muscle and restrictions in the fascia (a type of connective tissue that wraps around the whole body).
Our Advice: Gently roll a baseball or massage stick over all major muscle groups until you find a sensitive spot. Apply direct pressure until the pain dissipates. Roll over the muscle again and repeat if necessary. Even if massage doesn’t speed up recovery, it might make you feel better compared to not getting massaged in the first place.