Recovering from A Workout? Whether you’re training for a marathon, getting back into shape, or just trying to get fitter, you push yourself in your workouts. When you train hard and give it your all, you might feel sore and tired the next day.
The good news: Your body was likely able to adapt to the stress you put on it during your workout. This is a normal physiological response that allows your body to make the most of the energy it’s given and recover from the workout. However, this doesn’t always mean you feel great the day after.
When you work out, your body creates microscopic tears in the muscle fibers that are under the greatest tension. This helps your body to strengthen those muscles and make them better able to handle the stress you’re subjecting them to. When you recover from your workout, the important thing is that you give your body the rest it needs to make the most of the adaptations you’ve just made.
Here are six ways to recover better and get fitter sooner:
Plan your recovery days
To get the most out of your workout, you need to follow a workout program. However, it’s just as important to give your body the rest it needs to fully recover. If you ignore this, you’re likely to see diminishing returns on your efforts. You see, your body only has so much it can do. If you keep pushing it beyond what it can do, it will only result in wear and tear, inflammation, and pain.
If you’re not sure how you’re doing or what your body needs, you can use a recovery planning tool like this one. By planning your recovery days in advance, you can make sure you give your body the proper time to repair and grow stronger.
Warm up and cool down
When you’re warming up, you’re preparing your muscles for a workout by increasing blood flow and oxygen flow. When you’re cooling down, you’re actively removing toxins and waste products from your muscles to prepare them for sleep. It’s important to do these both before and after your workout. If you walk out of the gym without actively flushing toxins and removing waste, you’ll just be storing them in your body and adding to your soreness the next day.
Combining dynamic stretches with controlled exercises will increase your blood flow and prepare your muscles for more intense workouts. As a general rule, you want to be moving as much as possible during your warm-up. Cool-down exercises are gentler and more controlled, helping to remove toxins and flush your muscles with blood.
Eat protein before and after your workout
If you’re not eating protein before you train, you’re likely to see diminishing returns on your next workout. When you don’t give your body enough protein, your body has to break down your muscle tissue to create new blood vessels and amino acids to nourish the muscles. By consuming protein after your workout, you’re giving your body the building blocks it needs to repair and make new muscle tissue.
Fish is a good source of protein. If you can’t eat fish, try to eat protein-rich food like eggs, yogurt, or protein powder. While you should consume protein before and after each workout, you don’t have to “pay” for it. If you’re not in the mood for eating a large amount of protein before or after a workout, you can opt for a protein shake instead.
Find what works for you
Everyone’s body builds and breaks down muscles at different rates. Your age, gender, diet, training, and other factors can all affect the speed your body reacts and recovers. While you should aim for better recovery days and schedule them in your calendar, you should also aim to be consistent. Consistent recovery will allow your body to make the most of the adaptations you’ve made and get you back to where you want to be faster.
If you’re not sure where to start or how to improve your recovery, talk to your doctor or personal trainer. They can help you identify what’s holding you back and give you the tools you need to get back to where you want to be.
Keep working on your fitness goals
While rest is key to recovery and allowing your body to repair and build new muscle tissue, you also have to keep the intensity up. If you stop training, your body will stop adapting and start to break down muscles.
If this happens too often, you’ll lose muscle tissue and definition in your workout-induced muscles. As you progress and work towards your fitness goals, you can still keep pushing yourself. This will result in better and faster results as your body keeps adapting and getting fitter.
Train with purpose
Recovering from a workout is important, but so is training with purpose. You see, when you train with purpose, you get a boost of motivation that can help you push through those recovery days and get back to work sooner. Instead of spending your days in a haze of soreness, you’re able to wake up with a clear mind and fresh energy to tackle whatever you need to do.
How do you train with purpose? Simple. Set goals, track your progress, and celebrate milestones. This accountability helps you stay focused and on track. Plus, it provides inspiration and motivation to get you through those tough moments in between workouts when you’re not sure what to do next.
Hard training can cause significant muscle damage and soreness the day after, but it’s important to note that this is a normal physiological response, and your body could adapt to the stress. The key to recovery is following a proper routine of rest, nutrition, and exercise. By following these tips, you’ll be able to get back to your normal routine and prepare for the next workout sooner.