6 Tips to Improve Post Workout Recovery
Updated: May 4
Exercise breaks your body down. Nutrition, sleep, and active recovery techniques build it back up. Seems simple right?!
When it comes to reaching your fitness goals most people optimize training and nutrition, but do not pay enough attention to their recovery.
There are limits to how much stress the body can tolerate before it breaks down. What your body can handle depends on a ton of factors: your fitness level, training frequency, genetics, diet, how hard you push yourself during your workouts, and more. Once you’ve reached this limit your injury rate increases, and you stop making progress. Symptoms of lack of recovery include general fatigue, increased muscle soreness, trouble sleeping, significantly increased appetite, lack of motivation, weight gain...and the list goes on. Get ahead of it before it becomes a problem!
Here are 6 tips to help improve your recovery game:
1. Optimize Your Sleep
Aim for 7-9 hours of QUALITY sleep, and don’t be afraid to invest in your sleeping amenities. We spend almost 1/3 of our life in bed, so make sure your sleeping arrangements reflect that! Experts from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine advise thinking of a bedroom as a cave: It should cool, quiet, and dark. These variables, along with a comfortable mattress and suitable pillow, can help to optimize our sleep cycles and therefore optimize recovery.
2. Plan Your Meals
We all need a certain amount of macronutrients and micronutrients to optimize recovery, and if we are having to skip meals or just don’t have a good macro balance within those meals we are missing a key component of body restoration. Meal prepping is a great way to ensure we are putting our nutrition on the forefront to optimize recovery and properly fuel our bodies.
3. Get Your Post Workout Protein In
Following a workout, your muscles will be aching, sore and crying out for some fast-acting protein to help feed them. To counteract the breakdown of muscle protein that is currently underway, look to take in a source of protein immediately after a workout, ideally within 30 minutes post workout to maximize protein synthesis and muscular development. The most common source of protein recommended for post workouts is fast acting"whey" protein. Remember, when looking for a protein supplement be sure to read your labels closely to see what other ingredients are included. If you can't pronounce most of the ingredients and if the sugar content is high, it's probably not the best option.
4. Always Have Water on Hand
If water is readily available you are more likely to drink routinely (rocket science, I know). Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 50% to 70% of your body weight. Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to work properly. For example, water gets rid of wastes through urination, perspiration and bowel movements, keeps your temperature normal, lubricates and cushions joints, and protects sensitive tissues. When we workout we sweat. Be sure to replace those lost fluids with proper hydration before and after workouts to optimize performance and recovery.
5. Go Outside and Play!
Plan days to go enjoy the lake/park, go hiking, take your kiddos to the Zoo, etc. If you’re weird like me, mow the lawn! Utilize that fitness you have worked so hard for and go outside and enjoy it! Partaking in outdoor activity allows our bodies to be challenged in different ways than we typically train inside the gym, which can help to preserve joint & tendon health and exposes our bodies to different motor patterns.
6. Listen to Your Body
Know your limits. Know when it’s time to chill, and actually do it. Know when you need help, and don’t be afraid to ask. Know that if you don’t take care of YOU first, it’s hard to take care of other people. Know that self-care does not make you selfish if dosed properly. Be INTENTIONAL with your recovery. Make TIME for recovery. Appreciate moments of REST. After all, we only have one body...we should do our best to take care of it! - Dr. Jodi Hierholzer, PT, DPT, CSCS
Owner/Founder of BODY WORX Physical Therapy
Our mission at BODY WORX PT is to help active people stay active by optimizing recovery, performance, and injury reduction. If this sounds like a good fit for you give us a call at 325-261-0043 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.