As any fitness fanatic knows, your rest days are just as important as a visit to the gym. After a workout, your body needs time to repair itself, particularly if you want to avoid unnecessary injury. To ensure you’re at your peak, take a look at these top four ways to boost your recovery after a tough workout.
1. Eat Right
A healthy diet enables your body to function effectively. When you’re working out, you cause small tears in your muscle tissue to develop. Although this is normal, it’s one of the reasons why you experience muscle soreness after exercise. To repair these tears, the body needs protein.
A protein-fueled snack post-workout is a great way to ensure your body has the nutrition it needs to repair muscle tissue but don’t stop there. Having a protein-based snack before bed will help to speed up your recovery and minimize muscle soreness upon waking.
2. Consume Water
Most people don’t drink enough water throughout the day, which means they’re regularly experiencing the symptoms of mild dehydration. When you work out, you lose water faster due to increased sweating, so it’s important to replace it by increasing the amount you drink.
Make a conscious effort to monitor how much water you drink on an average day and be sure to increase your water intake on days you’re working out. Remember – if you’re exercising in a warm climate, you’re going to lose even more water. As well as speeding up your recovery, consuming a healthy amount of H2O stops you from getting dehydrated too.
3. Get Enough Sleep
The amount of sleep you get directly impacts your physical performance. Without enough rest, your body will take far longer to recover from a tough workout, illness or injury. Prioritizing your sleep schedule is a must for any gym-goer.
If you struggle to sleep, try addressing the underlying cause. When anxiety stops you getting enough shut-eye, try meditation and mindfulness, for example. If snoring or sleep apnea jolts you awake throughout the night, mouth strips are very easy to use and promote natural breathing patterns. If muscle soreness is keeping you up, moderate your workout pattern and try an Epsom salt bath to relieve discomfort.
When you get great quality sleep, you’ll benefit from increased energy levels, more focus and faster workout recovery. In addition to this, getting enough sleep helps your mind to stay sharper too.
4. Try Probiotics
The bacteria in your gut help to ensure proper immune functioning, providing you have the right amount. If your diet doesn’t facilitate the growth of healthy bacteria, you’ll find yourself coming down with more colds and generally feeling a little unwell.
In addition to boosting immunity, taking probiotics can help your body to recover more quickly after a workout. When your body can react to physical stress, such as a workout, more easily, the process of recovering is faster, which means less discomfort for you.
Try a mild probiotic supplement to start, depending on your existing health and medicine intake, or talk to your doctor to find something suitable.
How Long Does It Take to Recover from a Tough Workout?
Recovery time varies after exercise but, in general, muscle tissue takes around 24 – 48 hours to heal. If you begin training too quickly, it can cause muscle fibers to breakdown, which is exactly what you don’t want to happen.
Creating a workout program that targets different muscle groups will help to ensure that you’re given each muscle enough time to recover from a workout. Of course, there’s no substitute for rest, so be sure to give your body a break from the gym too and take the time you need to reenergize after a strenuous workout.