What exactly do you want to gain when you work out? For some, it’s about losing some extra bit of weight from their frame. Others train for greater endurance or for an improved cardio system. Then there’s the ever-popular strength training, which can give you bigger muscles and greater strength.
When you work out, you stress your muscles. That’s necessary to achieve your goals. But you also need to let those muscles recover after working out. That, too, is a necessary step in the process.
After a workout, muscle cells go through microscopic damage. These microtears are a good thing—the muscles repair themselves, and they get bigger when you have plenty of protein in your system. But you have to give these muscles the time they need to repair themselves.
The same goes for any other improvement you may be aiming for. It can be weight loss, improved cardio health, and better overall health. For these changes to occur, you need to let your tired muscles rest, while your hormone levels stabilize.
You need to rest after you work out, and this exercise recovery is also crucial. It’s one thing to find a gym that suits your needs, such as Bay Club or Goodlife Fitness, but it’s another thing to let your body rest as well.
Types of Muscle Recovery
Contrary to what some might think, there are actually several ways you can let your muscles recover.
This is a huge part of the muscle recovery process. Sure, you need proper sleep each night for your overall wellbeing. You need 7 to 9 hours per night to help make sure you get enough sleep.
But sleep is also crucial for your muscles to recover properly. This is when your body produces most of the necessary hormones and growth factors that help in muscle repair.
This is about what you ought to eat to help make sure your body gets the building blocks it needs for muscle repair and recovery. Your best bet is a diet based on whole foods, instead of processed or packaged food. You need food rich in whole carbs and antioxidants. You obviously need more lean protein as well, as the muscles use the protein to repair the microtears and get bigger afterwards.
With the proper food, you should be able to recover properly, and maybe even get in better shape for the next workout.
Soft Tissue Therapy
This is sometimes called myofascial release. No matter what name you call it, it refers to things like foam rolling and other types of athletic massages. You should have this done before and after the workout. This can then reduce the severity of any potential muscle soreness after the workout. It also speeds up the muscle recovery.
In addition, it just feels great and relaxing, and it helps deal with stress too.
This refers to changing the nature of the exercises you do, from one workout to the next. That means you’re stressing a different set of muscles than the muscles you focused on with the previous workout. This way, you afford more time for the muscles to recover and repair, while you work on other muscle groups.
So, if you’ve done a lot of running previously, you can then perhaps focus on strength training for the next day’s workout.
This is similar to cross training, but a bit different. This type of recovery involves you doing some lighter type of exercises. That means doing low-impact exercises at lower intensity.
You don’t want to stress your body further, right after doing a serious workout. But these exercises encourage better blood flow, so that the blood can better circulate the oxygen and micronutrients throughout the body and to the muscles that need them. These micronutrients are needed for tissue repair.
So, when you’ve done some strenuous weightlifting for strength training previously, the next day you can perhaps go for a brisk walk or a low intensity bike ride. You can also try doing a bit of yoga, which can help stretch out your tired muscles. Basically, active recovery is anything active you can do without getting winded, and without further tiring out your recovering muscles.
This is most people’s favorite type of recovery, and it’s great that it’s actually a necessary part of the entire recovery process. This is when you completely rest, without doing any sort of exercise or strenuous activity. For this portion of the recovery, sit back, relax, and take it easy. It lets your whole body recover, and your mind and spirt gets to relax as well.
Don’t ever forget that muscle recovery is a necessary part of the entire process of achieving your health goals. You need time for your muscles to repair or recover. If you don’t rest, you’re overexerting your muscles, and you may end up doing more harm than good to your health.