Intense workout sessions can leave you with tight and sore muscles and maybe even some potential injuries if you’re not careful enough. That is why knowing how to treat your body after these workout sessions in order to recover, is very important. These 14 tips will help you find the best way to bounce back and heal after an intense workout routine. All of these tips are not only beneficial for your health but are also a great way for you to reach your fitness goal in the most efficient way possible.
Keep a water bottle within reach
After an intense workout routine, you will most likely be very dehydrated. So, what you need to do is replace those fluids you lose while working out. You basically have to consume more fluid than what you lose by sweating out. That is why keeping a water bottle with you wherever you go can be quite useful. And don’t worry; you don’t have to drink insane amounts of water all at once. Just make sure you are sipping water regularly and eating normal meals. This will make sure you are properly restoring your balance and preparing your body for the next workout. Also, you should probably avoid alcohol since it can only worsen dehydration and even slow down muscle repair.
Don’t skimp on sleep
Not getting enough sleep can be very bad for your health. Not only will you not be able to perform well when you are tired, but you will also less likely recover properly from your intense workout as well. Some researches show that even one night of sleep deprivation can negatively influence your recovery process from a high-intensity interval training session. For instance, cyclists who slept only half of their usual amount after the workout had a five times bigger decrease in their power output the day after than those who had a good night’s sleep. Even though this problem may not seem like a big deal to someone who isn’t a professional athlete with constant competitions and training sessions, nobody likes to feel sluggish the day after a workout. Nevertheless, not sleeping enough will immensely slow down your recovery process.
Another great tip for recovering after an intense workout routine is to do a light next-day workout. Instead of going for intense exercises all the time and waking up sore the day after, schedule some easy sessions in between those hard ones. They will keep your body moving and get you ready for the next intense workout. Now easy workouts are not the same for everyone. Understanding of ‘easy’ can vary from person to person. Keep that in mind. Some of the light ‘exercises’ you should consider are walking or jogging with a friend, going for a casual bike ride in the park, stretching or even doing an at-home yoga class. Doing these types of lighter exercises will help increase your blood flow, loosen up any tight muscles and ease soreness. It is a great way to maintain both your physical and mental health too.
Stretching is very good for sore and tight muscles. For example, if you are regular at your local gym, consider doing targeted stretching routines in between harder workouts. These stretching exercises will help you build mobility and flexibility. That is, among everything else, a very important factor for a successful and healthy workout. Once you start incorporating this habit in your everyday workouts you will see a great difference and improvement in a matter of days.
Use a foam roller
You might not be familiar with foam rolling yet, but once you try it you won’t be able to go without it. Many fitness experts suggest this tool. Just make sure you get a roll made from foam. Basically, all you need to do is roll around on it on the floor after an intense workout routine. This ‘exercise’ can mainly help you work out any knots that you may end up having after a workout routine. It will help you soothe tights muscles as well. If you want to, you can even use a foam roller before the workout routine. It will get you warmed u for your intense exercises. Give them a try and you’ll see amazing, long-lasting results in a short matter of time.
Track your progress
Another great thing you can be doing for your daily workout is to track your progress regularly. With all the available apps and smart devices out there, it’s never been so easy to track your fitness routine and diet. Or if you are more traditionally oriented you can always go for a simple pen and paper method. Another great way for tracking your progress is simply using spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel or Google Docs. The only thing you need to do is to make sure you know exactly what exercises you are doing and track your improvements. This will help you see what parts of your routines are good and what parts should be changed and improved.
Your body is releasing a huge amount of energy while you’re working out, especially if you are following a very strict and intense routine. So, in order to help your body recover and get ready for another workout routine, you need to fuel up. Your body needs a substance rich in protein and all the other beneficial nutrients. A protein shake is one of the most popular post-workout indulgences right now. Many experts recommend getting a healthy dose of protein after a workout routine. Drinking a protein shake will help kick-off the muscle rebuilding process and speed up the recovery process. 20 grams is usually a recommended dose that can be found in most protein powders. You can even choose between different flavors and find your favorite post-workout blends online.
On the other hand, you can also choose to consume foods that contain protein such as Greek yogurt, low-fat cottage cheese, beef jerky, and so on. The point of getting all this protein is to give your body something to ‘chew on’ as your muscles recover and rebuild themselves for the next workout session.
Shower and change
Even though it might seem insignificant, it is very important for you to take a shower and change into a fresh set of clothes right after an intense workout. This small step can make a huge difference in your health and overall hygiene. If you don’t shower and change clothes right after the workout session, not only will you smell, but you will also create a great setting for bacteria to grow all over your body and clothes. So take a shower and make sure to wash your gym clothes. So, drink some water, cool down and then hop into a shower for a quick refreshment.
Eat Healthy Recovery Foods
Eating healthy, but also knowing when to eat is a very important factor. This is especially important if you are following a strict workout routine or an intense challenge. As already mentioned above, you need to fuel your body with energy that you lose during your workout sessions. By eating healthy food you will be able to faster restore your energy, repair tissues, and get stronger. This is also crucial if you are trying to build muscle. For best results, try eating within 60 minutes of the end of your workout. Also, consider including some high-quality protein and carbohydrates in those meals.
Rest and relax
Above anything else, time is what your body needs to most in order to heal and recover from any injuries or illness you might have caused by intense workouts. Your body has an unbelievable capacity to take care of itself only if you allow it to. You need to give yourself time to rest and relax. Resting after a workout session can help repair and recover your muscles at a very natural and healthy pace. All of the things listed above are great ways to bounce back after working hard, but sometimes, doing nothing is exactly what your body needs to get better.
Treat yourself with a soothing massage
Massages can also be very beneficial after an intense workout session. They can help improve circulation and allow you to fully relax your body. Consider treating yourself with a day off and schedule a spa day. Go get a professional massage done and you’ll feel much more relaxed and ready for new fitness goals. You can also try doing a self-massage. There are many great tools that can help you with this. Among those is the already mentioned Foam Roller that can be great for at-home massaging. This type of massage will help you ease tight muscles while also helping you avoid heavy sports massage price tag.
Take an Ice Bath
Other very effective things that many athletes tend to recommend often are ice baths, ice massages, and contrast water therapy. They are all very beneficial for faster recovery, reduction of muscle soreness and prevention of any further injuries. The goal of this method is to repeatedly constrict and dilate blood vessels which can in result remove or flush out waste products in the muscle tissues. Also, contrast water therapy, which is a method of alternating hot and cold showers, is proven to have some great benefits for reducing delayed onset muscle soreness.
If you want to try contrast water therapy, you need to get well informed first. Here’s how to do it. When you’re taking your post-exercise shower, make sure to alternate 2 minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water. You need to repeat this method four times with a minute of moderate temperature between each hot-cold spray. Do this after every workout session and you’ll see great results in a very short matter of time.
Try Visualization Exercises
Mental practice is important as much as the physical one for any athlete who wants to improve themselves and keep getting better in what they do. Some of the best practices you can incorporate are simple mental rehearsals and mindfulness meditation programs. They will help you process a calm, clear attitude and reduce your level of anxiety. It is very important that you get familiar with your own mind and how it works. You’ll see how thoughts can bounce around and how, with just a little practice; you don’t have to attach yourself to any of them. Doing these practices regularly is a great way for any athlete to recover both physically and mentally. Also, consider practicing positive self-talk in your free time. It will help you change the ongoing dialogue in your head.
Lastly, make sure you are not forcing your body to go over its limits. To do so, you need to create a smart, yet efficient workout routine before you even start doing your exercises in the first place. Excessive exercise and heavy training sessions can actually be very harmful to both your body and your mind. It will also limit your gains and undermine your recovery process. What you need to do, if you ever feel like you pushed yourself too hard, is listen to your body.
If you are feeling tired or sore after a workout session more than you usually do, you might need more time for recovering than you thought. All you need to do is listen to your body and in most cases, it will let you know what it needs. We tend to ignore and dismiss these warnings and signs, but if we don’t treat our bodies with kindness and care it deserves we might end up with problems that could’ve easily been solved when they weren’t so problematic.
All things considered, there are many great ways for you to recover after intense and strict workout sessions. All you need to do is pay attention to signs and listen to your body’s needs. Give yourself time to recover and heal. These tips will help you do that in the most efficient and beneficial way possible.