Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Article # 425. The 10 Best Ways to Speed Up Recovery

Sometimes after a particularly brutal workout you find yourself with a lot of muscle soreness. At first this is good because you know without a doubt that you really hammered that muscle and can expect some nice growth from the muscle fibers as a result. At the same time, when this happens repeatedly it can become a bit annoying.

Is there anything you can do to fix it?

Obviously you don’t want to over train and muscle soreness is the body’s way of letting you know that it is still healing, but muscle soreness does hurt. So why not look at various ways to help aid the body during recovery? There are a few things you can do to help the body heal faster and after a particularly brutal workout it is a good idea. Keep in mind, you should not try and use these ideas to cram more workouts in; the body still needs a minimum amount of rest.

  1. Take a post-workout supplement – Immediatly following your workouts, you want to take some form of amino acid building supplements. A simple whey protein shake will do the trick. Grab your self one from our top 10 whey protein powders list.
  2. Ice – Right after a workout put ice on any muscles you really tore into. The ice helps reduce swelling and help the body prepare for the healing. Only ice a muscle for about 10 minutes.
  3. Hot Bath – A long, hot bath can help aid muscle recovery. Warmth on the muscle and the body help with blood flow and relaxation.
  4. Stretching – Post workout is a crucial time to stretch the target muscles while they are warm and full of blood. Then periodic stretch, like after a bath, helps keep the body loose and the blood flowing.
  5. Sleep – On workout days try and adjust your schedule so that you can get 8 or 9 hours of sleep. Pure rest is critical and if you find that you have shorted yourself on day one, soreness can linger a lot longer.
  6. Massage – Another way to loosen muscles and get the blood flowing is to either get a massage or massage your own muscles with your fingertips. This doesn’t have to be high quality, just gentle pressure on the sore spots.
  7. Avoid more strenuous activity – The last thing you want to do is leave the gym and then go on a 10 mile hike! Your body will hate you and you will hate yourself when you are still sore a week later. Take some rest.
  8. Eat, Eat, Eat! – If you don’t eat after a big workout, your muscles will have nothing to feed on to fix themselves and this will greatly decrease your recovery speed.
  9. Relax your mind – You’re body isn’t the only thing that needs healing, a hard workout will not just stress your muscles, but your mind as well. Give yourself some alone time to meditate, read a book, watch something relaxing etc…
  10. Try Yoga! – Yoga exercises are a great way to relieve sore muscles and strengthen them to reduce soreness in the future. It is also a very relaxing and stress relieving thing to do.
Another thing that is not a technique, but should be mentioned, is proper nutrition. Including a mid-workout recovery drink along with immediate post-workout fuel or meal helps to ensure that your body has the important nutrients it needs to maximize the recovery process. Many people when they are in the beginner or intermediate phases of training don’t always maximize nutrition and supplementation and are missing out on an important link.
Otherwise these 10 tips are a great way to ensure your body heals as fast as possible. Ideally you can make them part of your routine to help alleviate possible soreness from every workout. Stretch right after your workout and then ice the muscles while drinking a post-workout shake. Later take a hot bath, stretch, and massage the muscle before hitting the sack for a long nights sleep. That is a rather painless and simple way to reduce muscle soreness, speed up your post workout recovery time as well as promote more healing and growth which is what we work so hard to achieve in the gym.