Never Miss a Workout Using this Post-Workout Recovery Checklist
Never Miss a Workout Using this Post-Workout Recovery Checklist
April 4th, 2023 | Fitness, Recovery
Maximize Your Rest Days With These Post-Workout Recovery Tips
It’s maybe a few hours or even the next day after a particularly tough workout… And it’s safe to say you’re feeling it. You might feel achy or sore, especially when moving your body in a certain way—or if you just completed an intense leg day session, you might even struggle to walk!
Ultimately, your goal is probably to feel better (and to get back in the gym or back to the activities you love ASAP!). Luckily, there are many ways to bounce back after a workout. So, what can you do to level up your post-workout recovery? How can you ease sore muscles? In this article, we’re going to explore all of this—helping you recover better than ever before.
What’s Best for Post-Workout Recovery?
The following tips will help you maximize your workout results and recover faster. So, let’s dive in! What should your rest days involve?
1. Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
The body is 60% water. In fact, water is needed for basically every process within your body, including building muscle, improving flexibility, and even reducing muscle soreness. Research even shows that hydrogen-rich water consumption during and after exercise improved muscular performance and reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS)1.
So, make sure you’re drinking enough water during and after your workout! Bringing a reusable water bottle with you to the gym or throughout your day can help ensure you hydrate enough.
2. Proper Nutrition
For adequate post-workout recovery, you’ll definitely want to consume a high-protein snack or meal, especially if your goal is to build muscle. On top of this, studies indicate carbohydrate consumption is important for energy availability during exercise and post-exercise for proper recovery2.
While most think that lactic acid is to blame for sore muscles, the truth is that DOMS results from microtears in your muscle fiber. These occur when the muscle is placed under stress, such as increased loads or reps. The good news? This supports new muscle growth (aka gains!). The bad news? It doesn't feel so great (and yes, it can leave you feeling sore for a few days afterward).
In order to speed up the repair of muscle fiber, proper nutrition is paramount. Protein consumption, before and after, and even during your workout is essential to provide amino acids and other building blocks to the muscle tissue. Additionally, the correct amount and type of carbohydrates are needed to properly deliver those nutrients and insulin to repair sites.
You can always check out this free eBook to get a more in-depth look into eating for wellness.
3. Stretch! (And/Or Foam Roll It Out)
Everyone should stretch before and after their workout. This isn’t just important to ease sore muscles. It also helps maintain and improve muscle and joint mobility, which is important for injury prevention and the correct execution of various exercises.
One study showed that stretching reduced muscle soreness by four points on a 100-point scale3. While small, arguably, every little bit counts. Elongating your muscle fibers via stretching exercises can help relieve some of the muscle tension associated with muscle pain post-workout.
On top of this, a form of myofascial release, known as foam rolling, has shown be very effective at reducing DOMS4. All you need it a foam roller or massage ball to perform this post-workout recovery routine. Gently apply pressure on the foam roller or massage ball on points of tension. Roll back and forth on the roller or massage ball for 30 seconds to a minute or until you feel some relief.
4. Practice “Active Rest Days”
Active recovery, such as walking, cycling, stretching, yoga, or even calisthenics lasting six to 10 minutes may have positive effects on performance and recovery5. Moving a little bit—even on your rest days—can increase blood flow which helps your body clear exercise byproducts, as well as bring nutrients and other compounds to the affected area that are necessary for recovery. So, go for that quick walk around the block! You might just feel better afterward.
5. Use Infrared Sauna Therapy
For an almost guaranteed way to never miss a workout, perform regular infrared sauna therapy sessions. This type of post-workout recovery activity can help you bounce back in more ways than one.
For instance, heat shock proteins are molecules that protect your cells, particularly under stressful conditions like exercise. They also help your body clear damaged cells, making way for new cells to take their place—and yes, they can even help you recover after a workout. In fact, infrared sauna therapy (like exercise and fasting) has shown to promote heat shock protein activation6.
Additionally, far-infrared rays are known to enhance mitochondrial function, including in skeletal muscle cells7. The mitochondria are the “powerhouses” of the body’s cells that produce energy known as ATP. ATP can help your body recover faster by providing it with the energy it needs to undergo those recovery processes and clear exercise byproducts.
There’s also some research indicating that this type of sauna therapy can improve sleep8, which leads us right into our next post-workout recovery tip.
6. Prioritize Your Sleep
Research indicates that sleep debt, or deprivation, decreases protein synthesis pathways and actually increases muscle loss9. During sleep, various repair processes take place, optimizing your recovery and gains. In fact, most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep a night. Thus, it’s a good idea to work toward improving your sleep. For instance, make sure to plan your bedtime accordingly and ensure your sleep hygiene is up to par so you can get enough quality sleep
Recover Faster Than Ever Before!
Never miss a workout with the above tips. While your workout is undeniably important, it’s almost just as important what you do afterward to fuel that recovery and continue to make progress. Take the time to prioritize your post-workout recovery. If you want to make infrared sauna therapy a part of your regular wellness and recovery routine, HEALiX offers a portable, private, and sanitary option that provides you the ability to sauna at home, regardless of your living space. Check out HEALiX Sauna Blankets and see for yourself!