When you go for that hard workout and push yourself to the max, don't forget about taking care of yourself. You need to think about your pre- and post-workout rest and fueling so that you get the most out of your workout, and recover to lift another day.
How do you help yourself recover more quickly?
More than 15 ways to recover post-workout
1. Post workout meal
The carbohydrate intake after your workout is an important part of recovery. According to Muscle & Fitness, you should be consuming a meal with "20 to 30 percent of your total daily carbohydrate intake." They also recommend to include 25 to 30 grams of protein.
2. Get plenty of sleep
A minimum of seven to eight hours of sleep per night will help you feel revived and refreshed. During sleep, our bodies have time to recover and synthesize protein. Hormone secretion during sleep is one of the most important things contributing to successful recover - so don't cut those zzz's short!
3. Schedule in rest
You can't go hard every single day, for weeks at a time. Your body needs time to recover from the workouts it's been through. Schedule in weeks of rest so your body has time to recover and doesn't enter a fatigued state.
4. More rest
Just like taking some time off in between heavy workout periods, it's important to have ample rest time in between individual workouts. At least 24 hours in between workouts will give your body time to restore and minimize delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS).
5. What do you know... More rest
A nap post-workout for around 20 minutes won't ruin your night's sleep and will help with recovery. Try napping around 2 hours after your workout.
6. Drink water
I'm sure you've heard this time and time again. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. And don't just stop with the day-of hydration, continue drinking water to help with post-workout recovery.
7. Enjoy a massage
A massage is an excellent way to relax and help your muscles recover. You can go see a massage therapist, enjoy self-myofascial release with a foam roller, or relax with an electric massager.
8. Don't forget the pre-workout
How you prepare and eat before a workout can have a large impact on how your session goes, as well as how quickly you recover. Fuel for your workout type so that you can exercise to the fullest during.
9. Stretch after
Don't skip the stretch! According to IFBB Pro Barbara Bolotte, you should be spending around 30 minutes stretching after exercise. Plan on spending time stretching so you'll be less likely to skip it.
Work some potassium into your post-workout nutrition. Potassium is great for alleviating and preventing cramps, and it will help refill your reserve.
11. Include active recover
Feeling really sore? Doing a light workout like walking can help you recover more quickly than doing nothing. Try some light cardio or a bodyweight workout to stimulate blood flow and combat tightness
12. Cut back on drinking
Alcohol has been proven to hinder the recovery process. So choose wisely about whether or not to start drinking after a heavy workout.
13. Check you're vitamin D
Low levels of vitamin D can slow recovery times. To find out if you're vitamin-deficient, reach out to your doctor for a blood test check.
14. Hop into some cold water
Ice baths sound horrible, but they're great for reducing inflammation. If you're not feeling getting icy, a cold shower after a workout is also a great way to cool down.
Stretch, breathe, and move with yoga in your recovery routine. Take a day to become in tune with how you are feeling and work out some kinks.
16. Reduce inflammation
Look into eating foods that are high in B6, C, and K vitamins which help reduce inflammation. Broccoli, cherries, and sweet potatoes fall into this category. Don't forget Omega-3's, found in salmon and almonds, or additional anti-inflammatory options like turmeric and ginger.