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Expert Answers: Recover Faster and Stronger

Our expert answers five common questions about effectively recovering after workouts.

Sore muscles

Q: What types of factors inhibit recovery?

 

A: The 3 biggest factors that inhibit recovery include:

1) Lack of sleep - if you are chronically sleep deprived, the muscle soreness will likely be more painful and may take more time to heal.

2) Lack of proper nutrition - If you are not adequately hydrated, or deficient in potassium, or are not eating enough protein, pain from muscle soreness may be more intense.

3) Overtraining - If you continue working out intensely without sufficient rest, muscle soreness may get worse.

The best way to avoid very sore muscles and improve recovery is to use a progressive exercise program where workouts become harder at a measured pace over time. 

 

Q: Are there any specific foods that help assist recovery?

 

A: There are a handful of foods that may help assist recovery:

1) Foods That Are High In Potassium - potassium is a mineral that is crucial to heart function and muscle contraction. Those who have low potassium levels may experience muscle soreness and cramping. Foods with high potassium levels include bananas, oranges, melons, raisins, and potatoes.

2) High Protein Foods - protein is the building block of muscle, so foods that are high in protein may help repair sore muscles. High protein foods include meat, eggs, and dairy.

3) Pineapple - this tropical fruit is high in the enzyme bromelain, which is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help treat strains, sprains, and bruises.

4) Cherries - some studies show that cherries may be as effective as anti-inflammatory medications. Cherries contain anthocyanins, which are antioxidants which reduce inflammation.

5) Fish Oil - high in Omega 3 fatty acids, fish oil may help reduce inflammation in joints and muscles.
 

Q: What do you do when you're overtrained and fatigued for several days in a row?

 

A: Overtraning occurs when you perform more training—both in and out of the gym—than your body can recover from. For a newbie, overtraining can happen quickly, whereas for an experienced athlete, it may take weeks of unusually difficult exercise to set in.

There are a number of overtraining to watch out for including elevated heart rate, decreased strength, lack of motivation, and chronic soreness in your joints.

If you believe you are experiencing overtraining symptoms, the best thing you can do is to rest. In other words, don't exercise at all, sleep as much as possible, eat well, drink plenty of water, and allow your body to recuperate from the stresses you have placed upon it. The reality is if you are overtraining, it make take some time to reverse the damage that has been done. It's better to not exercise at all and recover fully, then to try to continue training but at a decreased level.

ABOUT THE EXPERT: Marc Perry, CSCS.

Marc is the creator of the BuiltLean Program and Editor-in-Chief and Producer of the BuiltLean blog and videos. A former Wall Street Finance Analyst who gained over 30 pounds from a sedentary lifestyle, Marc’s mission is to develop efficient, sustainable approaches to getting lean and fit and help educate and inspire others to improve their health.

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