Whether you’re a casual gym-goer or workout warrior, recovery should be an integral part of your lifestyle. It’s all very well making every rep count, but what you do after exiting the gym is equally important. An optimised post-workout routine plays a huge role in alleviating soreness, speeding recovery and aiding muscle growth. From sleep to supplementation, everything you do after training directly affects your progress.
Take a shake
There’s a reason why whey protein is the first thing you should reach for after an intense workout. Due to its fast absorption rate, whey protein quickly enters the body where it sets about building and repairing muscle tissue. Try making Healthy Whey your post-workout shake: in addition to whey protein, each scoop is fortified with BCAAs which will help to reduce exercise-induced fatigue.
Eat a balanced meal
Maximising muscle recovery calls for consuming optimum amounts of protein and carbs after training. Eat a post-workout meal that contains a lean protein source such as chicken, turkey or fish along with whole grain rice, sweet potatoes or quinoa. Aim to eat around four grams of carbs per gram of protein.
After exercising, your body is likely to be dehydrated. Drinking a glass of water will restore this imbalance and aid your ability to repair muscle tissue. If you’re still feeling thirsty, think twice before reaching for a beer however – drinking alcohol is a surefire way to hamper the recovery process.
Massage your muscles
Tired muscles are sore muscles. One of the best ways to ease muscular discomfort is by treating yourself to a massage. A soothing massage will reduce stiffness and break up scar tissue. If you can’t budget for a massage or don’t have a willing partner to do the honours, try foam rolling instead. Using a semi-rigid roller will remove the knots that form in the muscles and connective tissues during exercise.
Get more sleep
Contrary to popular belief, muscle growth doesn’t occur in the gym; the process takes place after you stop lifting. When muscles are overloaded during strength training, microscopic tears occur. Your body works hard to repair these tears while you sleep. Thus, proper rest is crucial to muscle growth and recovery. To reap the benefits, aim for at least eight hours a night. Don’t be afraid to grab a post-workout nap either. A 20-minute power nap will leave you re-energised without cutting into your day.
Schedule some downtime
Most athletes and bodybuilders take a week off training once or twice a year, or plan a recovery week when they’ll use lighter weights or exercise at a lower intensity. This deloading technique can accelerate recovery and prevent overtraining. Going light won’t cause you to lose muscle or strength; it’ll simply prime your body so that you can return to full training at the peak of your powers.
Sleep, nutrition, massage and hydration should be at the heart of your post-workout routine. Take care of your body when it’s at rest and your training will take care of itself.