Just Kidding! Recovery is never easy! But seriously here are some tips on recovering and getting the most out of your workout. Keep in mind that DOMS (thats Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) is going to be inevitable, especially if you’re working hard, so embrace the pain 😉
- PROTEIN! To make sure your muscles get the most out of a workout, you’ve got a window of about 2 hours to get in some protein. On top of that, athletes usually need nearly twice the recommended amount of protein so that their muscles can keep up with their needs. So endurance athlete or strength athletes alike should go ahead and reach for that protein shake – or chocolate milk, which has the perfect balance of carbs:protein, so that you can restore your glycogen as well. If your goal is to lose weight, adding protein to your diet can help you out by aiding in your muscle development and keep you feeling full and satisfied longer. Instead of adding to your daily calories with a protein shake, try sneaking some protein in at meals. Have a protein-centric breakfast with greek yogurt, snack on some almonds, or do what I do, and add eggs to everything- my favorite is a veggie stir-fry with rice and eggs with some ground flax seed thrown in for good measure.
- Hydrate: Staying hydrated isn’t just good for your kidneys and your skin – you need to keep your joints and muscles lubricated to prevent injury. If you can, weigh yourself before your workout, and then after. Every pound you lost is definitely from sweat. Follow the pint per pound rule: for every pound lost to sweat, drink a pint of water. If it was an especially hot day, and you’re salty too, that means you need to add some electrolytes, so drink down one part water and one part gatorade (or any other electrolyte drink). If you don’t have enough salts in you, you’ll just pee out what you drank and it will take longer to become rehydrated.
- Space out your workouts: I understand this isn’t entirely possible for some people, and who wants to work out twice in a day when you could get it all done in one fell swoop, BUT you will benefit more if you space out your aerobic/endurance type exercises from your strength/weight lifting exercises by a few hours. Thats because adaptations to these types of workouts follow two different metabolic systems, so whatever adaptations you would gain from your strength workout are cut nearly in half when combined with aerobic/endurance exercise. So if you’re guilty of doing something like say running 30 minutes, and then following it up with full body strength (me! me!), try splitting up your workout, and doing one part in the morning before work, and then the other part in the evening after work.
- Sleep: Your body does so much work for you while you sleep. Getting enough sleep ensures not only that you are mentally well rested, but also decreases muscular fatigue and aids in your glycogen stores, so that you are physically able to tackle your next workout. Sleep is different for everyone, but if you can’t get 8 hours a night, get at least 6, or else you’re in sleep deprivation territory and that has a whole other set of negative effects on your health.
- Roll it out: There are so many awesome products on the market to help you stretch out and massage those aches and pains. Imagine your muscles as a rubber band. Stretch it out. Now take your finger and push down on the taught band, and run your finger down the edge. Thats how these products stretch your muscles. I like the trigger point roller (pictured below with all the different uses!), because its designed with ridges and flat edges to feel like the fingers and palms of a deep tissue masseuse. It hurts so good! Theres also regular foam rollers, The Stick, or you can skulk around your local high school and snag a lacrosse ball. Sit on it, roll it on your foot, on your calves, IT bands, everything. It will definitely hurt while you’re doing it, but you’ll feel so much better after.