Our Top 10 Tips For Faster Gym Recovery
It doesn't matter how hard you train or how good your diet is, if you don't pay attention to recovery, you'll never make the progress you deserve. Avoid sabotaging your results by putting these excellent recovery tips into action. After all, the sooner you recover, the sooner you can train again, and the sooner you’ll reach your fitness goals!
1. Go for a walk (0:10)
The last thing you probably feel like doing after a hard workout is more exercise. You feel tired and may even be sore. However, sitting on your butt doing nothing can actually delay the recovery process. Your metabolism slows down, as does your circulation, and that means less oxygen flowing to your hard-worked muscles.
Getting up and going for a walk will get your muscles moving and will gently increase your metabolism and blood flow. This will all help speed up the recovery process.
How far and how fast should you walk? 20-30 minutes at a pace that leaves you warm, and a little out of breath should be sufficient. Remember, the aim is to enhance recovery, and not tire you out!
2. Stretch it out (0:28)
Stretching tired, sore muscles does more than just feel good, it also helps speed up recovery. You should stretch immediately after your workout, and any time you feel that you need a recovery boost.
Stretch your muscles gently, never forcing yourself to go deeper than necessary. You should feel tension in your muscles, but not pain. Hold each stretch for 30-60 seconds, focusing your time and effort on the muscles that you have most recently trained.
Stretching can also help restore lost flexibility, and that’s important for preventing injuries.
3. Fuel up – before and after training (0:52)
You are what you eat, and if you want to train hard and recover afterward, you need to make sure you provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. What you eat before your workout will directly affect your energy levels and workout performance, while what you eat afterward will affect recovery.
Recovering after intense exercise requires protein and carbs. Your body is especially nutrient-sensitive after exercise, so it makes sense to supply your body with precisely what it needs as fast as possible.
For some individuals, eating can be very uncomfortable straight after exercise. A fantastic solution is to drink fluids as they can be easier to consume after a workout.
Chug down a protein shake like Blessed Protein and consider spiking it with recovery-boosting supplements such as creatine, and glutamine (necessary links).
4. Get a massage (1:12)
Massage is one of the oldest forms of medicine. People have been getting massages to ease aches and pains for thousands of years. If you hurt yourself, you naturally rub the affected area, and that’s a form of self-massage.
Massage passively stretches your muscle tissues, fascia, and tendons, and also increases blood flow while speeding up the removal of waste products from your body. It’s relaxing too – mentally and physically.
A massage from a certified professional will speed up recovery significantly. But, if you can’t get a massage, you can achieve a similar effect by doing some foam rolling or using a trigger point ball.
5. Move more. Sit less. (1:39)
Sitting down is one of the unhealthiest things you can do. When you sit, your chair supports your muscles and bones so that your body all-but shuts down. This leads to a reduction in blood flow and energy expenditure. It also makes many of your major muscles short and tight. This is the perfect recipe for delayed recovery.
Avoid these problems by sitting less and moving more. This might not be easy if you work in an office or drive a lot, but even short periods of activity can help.
Set an alarm on your watch or phone to remind you to get up and move every hour or so. Just standing up and taking a few steps or having a quick stretch can really help.
6. Use passive heat (2:03)
Passive heat, such as saunas, steam rooms, and hot tubs, causes your blood vessels to open up, which increases circulation. Better circulation floods your muscles with oxygen while removing the waste products that build up during exercise, specifically lactic acid. Heat also helps ease muscle tension.
Better circulation and less muscle tension will speed up recovery. Heat is also good for easing the minor aches and pains that are so common when you push your body to the limit.
7. Post-training supplements (2:22)
Supplements help put back into your body what hard training takes out. Supplements are not meant to replace a healthy diet and intense workouts, but they will help you get more out of your body. Some supplements are specifically designed to boost recovery, and the best recovery-specific supplements are:
Glutamine – the most abundant amino acid in your body, hard workouts cause a lot of glutamine breakdown. Glutamine supplementation helps increase protein synthesis and muscle growth, has been shown to impact human growth hormone production, improves gut health, and also boosts immunity, all of which will speed up the recovery process.
Creatine - This amino acid is more well known for increasing strength and power output. However creatine supplementation has also been shown to impact the cellular processes that are responsible for recovery. A supplement that improves strength and performance while also aiding in recovery? Yes please!
Beyond BCAA – branch chain amino acids support recovery and lean muscle growth. With the optimal 2:1:1 ratio of leucine, isoleucine, and valine, this product provides these important catalysts for maximising recovery and reducing muscle soreness. Beyond BCAA also contains electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals, all of which are lost during perspiration making it a perfect hydration and recovery supplement to be taken during and after exercise.
8. Rest days (3:38)
Training every day might seem like the best way to reach your fitness goals, but your body needs rest as much as it needs exercise.
Intense exercise breaks your body down and, when you rest and recover, your body gets busy building itself back up. That way, when training time rolls around again, you are ready and able to perform at your best.
Include 1-2 rest days in your weekly workout schedule and consider taking a full week off every 3-4 months. You won’t lose your gains. In fact, you’ll probably come back stronger after some well-deserved rest!
9. Get your sleep (4:03)
Sleep is crucial for recovery. When you sleep, your body makes the switch from catabolism (breaking down) to anabolism (building up). It produces growth hormone at this time, which is a vital substance for muscle repair and growth, as well as fat burning. Sleep also restores your energy levels so that the following day, you feel awake and ready to train again.
Most adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but if you are training hard, it makes sense to aim for the upper end of this recommendation. After all, you are asking more of your body, and that means it needs more sleep.
10. Hydrate (4:31)
Your body is made up of about 60% water. Your body uses water for a huge range of processes, including moving nutrients around your body, lubrication, and cooling. Water is crucial for your health and performance. You can go for several weeks without food, but just a few days without water will lead to your untimely demise!
A lot of people fail to drink enough water. Most exercisers should aim for 2-3 liters per day PLUS one extra liter per hour of training. This will replace the water lost when you sweat.
Plain water is best, but remember that fruits and vegetables contain water too, and even tea, coffee, and soda can contribute toward your hydration levels. Track your fluid intake to make sure you are getting enough each and every day.
If you are serious about your workouts, you need to get serious about recovery too. The faster and more fully you recover, the sooner you can get back in the gym, and the harder you'll be able to train. This all adds up to faster progress. Put these tips into action to make sure you recover as well as possible between workouts.