How to Properly Recover after a Strenuous Workout

How to Properly Recover after a Strenuous Workout

When you’re trying to decide on which gym to join, it’s perfectly natural to make your decision based on the most obvious factors. These include an affordable price, a convenient location, the availability of classes and personal trainers, and the quality of the gym equipment.

But you should also check out the various other amenities, especially for post-workout recovery. For example, Goodlife Fitness is popular (it has more than 1.5 million members) because many of its locations feature swimming pools and saunas. The swimming pool offers a nice place for you to cool down after a hard workout, while the sauna can offer relief to your sore muscles.

You have to understand that after a challenging workout, your body needs some time to recover. It’s actually part of your workout routine, even as some people might forget it (or even disbelieve it altogether). Making recovery an integral part of your workout routine can help you build muscles more effectively, reduce the risk of injuries, and minimize the chances of unnecessary downtime.

A good recovery routine starts right after your workout, and continues on in the days after the workout. Here are some recovery steps you should incorporate into your routine:

Stretch After Your Workout

Just as you need to warm up and stretch before you do your main workout exercises, you also need to cool down by stretching right after your workout routine. This gradually reduces the muscle tension you’ve built up, so take maybe 5 to 10 minutes for some stretching exercises to slowly cool down to your resting state.

These stretches are crucial. By forgetting to do them, you increase the risk of injuries and muscle soreness after the workout.


You should hydrate during the rest periods of your workout, and right after a workout as well. That’s because you need to replenish all the fluids you lost when you sweat, which is what you generally do when you work out. If your workout doesn’t make you sweat, it’s most likely not challenging enough!

Sweating can leave you dehydrated, and that can lead to a long list of problems. These include poor physical performance during your workout, along with fatigue, muscle cramps, and even headaches. Drinking water after your workout is simply an important part of the recovery process.

Replenish Your Electrolytes

Sports drinks like Gatorade became popular because they’re laden with electrolytes. But those drinks are also full of sugar, so you can go with fruit juices such as watermelon juice or coconut water. You can even pop in an electrolyte tablet into a glass of water.

You lose electrolytes when you sweat, which means you deplete your body’s supply of potassium, sodium chloride, calcium, and magnesium. You need to compensate for these losses to make sure your body recovers properly. Too much electrolyte loss can lead to muscle cramps.

You can also replenish your electrolytes with post-workout snacks such as oranges and bananas. Try to much on walnuts, peanuts, and raisins as well.

Consume Protein After the Workout

This will rebuild your muscles after a cardio workout, since cardio can burn off muscles. And you also need the protein to build up your muscles after lifting weights. Basically, weightlifting causes micro-tears in your muscles, and your muscles use the protein in your system to repair themselves and become bigger.

Try to consume a minimum of 20g of protein right after a strenuous workout. A protein shake or supplement will be just fine. You can also go with chicken, fish, eggs, and other protein-heavy foods, and then finish off with chocolate milk.

Get Enough Sleep

Most people need about 8 hours (more or less) of good sleep each night, and good sleep is even more important after your hard workout. Without enough sleep, you don’t get the full benefits of your workout, and you won’t properly rebuild your muscles.

Go with Light Exercise the Next Day

Resting after the hard workout doesn’t mean you just sit on your couch all day. You need to stimulate the recovery process with some light exercise. Try an activity that you actually enjoy, such as cycling though the park, strolling along your neighborhood, or some light kayaking on the lake. The idea here is to stay active while letting your muscles recover.

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