15 Proven Ways To Speed Up Muscle Recovery
Nothing feels as refreshing and rewarding as a great workout, and the bulk of muscle to prove that indeed you have aced the workout. You are well-toned, flawless, and a smile to top it all up.
Wouldn’t it be awesome if this was the case every time you hit the gym?
But that always isn’t the case, your whole body is aching, you have trouble walking and you feel like cursing the Gym instructor for going ham on you.
There’s nothing wrong with a little pain. If you didn’t feel any pain, then there’d be no joy in your gain right?
Our bodies are like an engine and from time to time they communicate to us, they try to warn us, and we need to listen.
When you feel the ache and the pain, it is your body trying to tell you that you need some rest.
During this rest period, your body is rebuilding and re-energizing.
There are plenty of ways to speed up this recovery period and we’ll cover them in this article.
Let’s dive in…
1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
If you’ve had a child or have had the opportunity to spend time with one then you know very well that the phrase “sleep like a baby is pure BS. Children sleep in spans of 3 to 4 hours, a total of 14 to 17 hours each day.
After a tiring workout a good night’s sleep is very important as it helps your body get rid of toxins that inhibit muscle recovery. Sleep Deprivation is detrimental to recuperation since it inhibits the body’s natural processes, this is according to a 2008 study.
It is recommended that you get at least eight hours of sleep for the body to readjust. Well, to some people sleep in itself is a task and a tough one at that. There are however some natural sleep remedies that you can try to get that well-deserved rest.
2. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
If you are a fitness enthusiast like me you know how important staying hydrated prior, during, and after strenuous activity is. It is crucial as it helps avoid muscle fatigue, damage, and other complications.
It is not easy to consume water and there’s a tendency of only taking water when we feel thirsty. If you want what’s best for your body strive to at least drink eight glasses of water in the course of your workout.
Making water consumption a habit will also go a long way in helping you steer clear of tears, ruptures, and other sports-related injuries.
While drinking pure water is awesome there may be some benefits of drinking alkaline water which has undergone electrolysis. Whichever you decide to take, remember to always stay hydrated.
3. FOCUS ON YOUR PROTEIN CONSUMPTION
Protein is very essential in body and muscle repair. It is important to include it in your diet especially when you’re working out.
You can get proteins from whole foods instead of supplements such as eggs, lean chicken, lean pork, fish, lean beef, tofu, beans, lentils, low-fat yogurt, milk, cheese, seeds, and nuts.
Essential Amino Acids metabolized from this macronutrient bulk up your muscles and diminish the sensation of soreness.
4. TAKE SOME PAIN KILLERS
While it can be addictive to most people to consume unprescribed medicine due to pain, some Anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen and naproxen can help relieve discomfort from sore muscles.
This can in return speed up your muscle recovery time.
A word of caution, always talk with your doctor first to avoid misdiagnosis or to get the proper recommendation.
5. TAKE A COLD BATH
The thought of immersing yourself in ice-cold water after a workout is scary, your body is aching and you can’t imagine that being any relief, right? Well, sorry to burst your bubble. Ice-cold water helps reduce soreness and inflammation for a period of 24-48hours.
Ice acts as an anesthetic and numbs the affected area making the recovery process a lot easier. The beauty of taking a cold shower comes in when you experience relaxation and hence the possibility to sleep well. You might be excited to learn that the benefits of taking an ice-cold bath are backed by science too. Ain’t that a plus?
So the next time you come from the gym after a long day’s workout, immerse yourself in cold water, you’ll feel more relaxed and it will take the stink away too.
6. GET A MASSAGE
There’s a ton of benefits tied to massages. Apart from the obvious one, relaxation, a massage helps break up scar tissue and ease muscle pain. During a massage the muscle fibers are stretched hence increasing flexibility. You’ll also experience better blood circulation and reduced pain.
You don’t have to break an arm and a leg for a massage. You can get a simple, fun soothing massage from your spouse at no cost and you’ll also enjoy a good night’s sleep from the relaxation that comes after a massage.
7. DRINK CHOCOLATE MILK
This should be exciting for the sweet-tooths out there.
According to the Human Kinetics Journal, Chocolate milk has been proven to be a post-exercise recovery aid. You can make your variation of Chocolate milk, one of my personal favorites is a blend of cocoa powder, milk, and honey to taste.
8. LISTEN TO MUSIC
It is not uncommon to spot earphones or headphones in a workout setting. This does not mean that the person wearing them is a snob, they are probably listening to some relaxing or high energy music.
Music helps distract us through a tough workout as well as taking our focus off the pain in our aching joints and muscles. Slow-tempo songs help you reduce your heart rate faster and get your blood lactate down back to resting levels after exercise.
Music has the power to put you in a good mood and to increase your productivity as well. There are some binaural beats that you can incorporate in your workout to make it more meaningful and helpful.
9. CUT OUT ON BOOZE
I have a bunch of friends who always celebrate every milestone with more than enough drinks. They are fun to be around and they know how to turn up a party.
They are however always complaining of pain and amnesia the day after. Is it bad to consume alcohol? No. A little for the stomach’s sake never hurt anyone.
But why the hell would I recommend you cut out on the booze then? Alcohol increases how much you pee and decreases rehydration after a workout. It has also been known to interfere with the synthesis of protein which in turn messes up the body’s muscle repair.
Should you, therefore, quit alcohol altogether? the answer is a resounding NO. While it has it’s a downside, some benefits come with it too. Moderate consumption of alcohol has been linked to the reduction of heart disease and cancer.
Some alcoholic drinks also contain some nutrients such as proteins and vitamins which are key to muscle recovery.
A consideration to make when ordering for a post-workout drink is to check on the quantity of consumption. Strive to order by the glass rather than by the pitcher.
10. GET ENOUGH REST
It is not uncommon for people to want tangible results. You’ll find that you’ll do whatever it takes to get that desired results even if it means compressing it all in a day’s work.
You’ll want to only rest when you have reached your desired goal and anything less of success seems to be more motivated to keep pursuing your dream.
It is not a bad thing to be a dreamer. It is not bad to be resilient but if you’re not in the best shape in terms of your health then that beats the logic of staying in shape. It’s recommended that you take 48 hours in between workouts to help your body re-energize and rebuild.
Are you living in the present? Are you one with the self?
Mindfulness is used in meditation to lower stress levels, reduce harmful ruminating, and alleviate depression and anxiety.
How then can you meditate? It doesn’t have to be complicated, find a silent space, sit down and breathe slowly, imagine oxygen filling your mouth to your lungs. Breathe slowly and calmly while listening to your breath.
Meditation entails not assigning negative emotions to how you’re feeling, your emotions. You might chant some affirming mantras while at it but be mindful of the energy that you might be harnessing. You can incorporate some yoga into your meditation routine as well.
There’s a ton of benefits that you can get from meditation other than the mentioned. The key take is to find out what works best for you and to take action.
12. DRINK SOME CHERRY JUICE
Why is cherry juice so important when it comes to muscle recovery?
It is not only delicious but it comes packed with health benefits. It boasts of 120 calories per 1 cup-serving and is rich in nutrients such as potassium and iron.
Anthocyanins found in tart cherry juice promote anti-inflammatory processes in the body. This helps in muscle repair and recovery.
some other benefits attached to cherry juice are:-
- Helping in post-workout recovery
- Maintaining blood pressure, heart rate, hydration, and ph balance.
- Helps in reduction of pain and inflammation
- Boosts immunity
- It regulates metabolism and fights against fats.
with this being said don’t forget to grab a glassful of cherry juice the next time after a workout.
13. STRETCH EVERY DAY
Nothing beats a good old stretch in the morning. I always make it part of my morning routine. I’ve found out that it helps my body relax and feel rejuvenated.
Aim for full body stretches or simple exercises such as planks, lunges, and squats. Stretching will get you in a good mood while enhancing blood circulation.
14. GET A FOAM ROLLER
It is not worthless to invest in a foam roller. When compared to a professional massage they are way cheaper and are packed with benefits such as correcting muscle imbalance, increasing range of motion, easing muscle soreness, and preventing injury.
Soft foam will provide a gentler massage than a high-density version. When you getting rolling, spend at least 60 seconds on each tight area. Linger on knots and sensitive spots for a little longer until the tenderness eases.
15. WEAR COMPRESSION GARMENTS
When worn, they create a pressure gradient by having the level of compression decrease from the leg or arm. This increases blood flow through the veins and reduces swelling. Studies show they work for both people with circulation issues as well as healthy subjects.
The increased blood flow increases the clearance of blood lactate and creatine kinase, both get released from muscles and into the bloodstream after vigorous exercise and is a signal of muscle damage.
Wearing compression garments helpS decrease muscle recovery time, especially strength recovery, between intense bouts of exercise.
We are always wired for success. It’s in our DNA to thrive. We want the best for ourselves, the perfect body, flawless and untainted. It is not unrealistic to envision all that, you can have it all. The only important thing we need to remember is that nothing comes easy, it takes a lot of hard work and effort.
There are of course a lot of considerations to make about muscle recovery such as age, immunity, and state of health. Our bodies will respond differently and some may take more time than others to rebuild but that should not be enough cause for worry. With proper guidance and discipline our bodies will be on our way to recovery.
As I had earlier mentioned, our bodies are very similar to a car engine. Knowing our way under the hood of our car ensures that our car is always in top-notch condition devoid of any hiccups.
Just like we take care of our cars, we should take care of our bodies too.
Maybe a better understanding of how our cars and bodies are similar is the key to helping us properly understand ourselves. The car as compared to our body needs a constant supply of fuel for combustion. Just like your car needs petrol, your body needs food(A well-balanced diet) and oxygen.
Your body converts chemical energy into kinetic energy and heat. That’s the reason why you sweat through your skin after a strenuous activity to cool off your body the same way a car has a cooling system.
Both the car and your body need to get rid of waste, the car via the exhaust, the body via the bloodstream, respiration, and other processes. Just as we are always ready to take our cars for regular maintenance checks we should treat our bodies in a similar vein to get our engines running properly.
With all that being said, the most important part of speeding up muscle recovery is taking action.
We do not achieve any results by doing nothing. Just like every journey commences with a step, we ought to take small SMART steps to reach our intended goal.
As you’ve already seen it’s the small details we assume that play an integral part in our recovery process. Who would have thought that something as simple as taking a nap would be a solution? well, it turns out it is.
To naturally enhance your muscles’ recovery period, drink plenty of water, stretch frequently, and always be well-rested. Mind what you eat so that you don’t forget about protein.
You are what you eat, never forget that. As much as you need lots of proteins during this crucial period you shouldn’t overlook the need to have a proper well-balanced diet, take your meals in the right dietary proportions and it’s always a good idea to consult a nutritionist if you feel a little off-balance.
Tailor your off days according to your personal needs and preferences, you need to be well-rested, to have enough sleep, and avoid sleep deprivation as it may have adverse effects not only on your muscles but on your overall health too.
Don’t be afraid to take a dip into ice-cold water when you push yourself over the edge with the workout.
There’s a ton of benefits to this. Drink up the chocolate milk and don’t forget that good old, delicious, and nutritiously packed tart cherry juice. With the right approach, you will reach your fitness goals sooner than expected.
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