Too many people don’t allow their bodies to recover after an intense workout, usually in the belief that it’s best to take advantage of the momentum. But it isn’t such a great idea because the body requires sufficient time for rest and recovery for many reasons.
Keep in mind that with intense physical activity, such as an hour of weightlifting at Gold’s Gym, the body experiences microscopic tears in its muscle, bone and skin tissues. Giving it time to recover is then a must to build a stronger body with larger muscles, if that’s your purpose.
Get Proper Nutrition
Keep in mind that proper nutrition is crucial in proper recovery and you will not skip your post-workout snack ever again. We suggest a post-workout snack consisting of 30 grams of protein and 50 grams of carbohydrates, as well as plenty of fluids, preferably water or an electrolyte drink. Follow it up with a well-balanced meal two hours after your workout.
Protein is essential as the body’s building blocks for its tissues, hormones and enzymes, as well as in rebuilding muscle tissue. Carbohydrates supply the body’s need for energy and, in fact, these are the major source of energy for the muscles.
Get Good Sleep
Feeling psyched after exercise is normal because it increases the production of your feel-good hormones. But don’t be too psyched up that you adopt the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” philosophy! You have to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night – not just on the night after your daytime workout – because studies have shown that restful sleep enhances exercise performance and results.
The primary purpose of sleep, after all, is to bring about the body’s state of recovery so the more restful it is, the better it will be for post-exercise recovery.
We suggest adopting a regular sleeping routine, such as hitting the hay at a similar time every night, getting relaxed before bed, and removing distractions in your bedroom. You should also try to fit in a 30-minute afternoon nap for good measure.
Get a Good Massage
We suggest a massage, either from a professional therapist or from your own hands, after an intensive workout because it feels good! But beyond feeling good, massage promotes circulation, decreases muscle stiffness, and brings about a state of muscle relaxation. These benefits, in turn, makes for good recovery.
If you don’t have a professional massage therapist on call, you can use a massage stick or a baseball to roll over your body’s major muscle groups. Apply direct pressure on sensitive spots until you feel relief.
Most important, you should get some downtime so that your body can truly recover from the stress of exercise. Every 3-5 weeks, you should plan a recovery week where you perform only half of the number of repetitions and lift lighter weights.