The workout itself is just a part of the whole fitness routine. When it comes to physical exercises, be it for muscle training or cardiovascular fitness, giving your body enough time to rest is vital for muscle recovery.
In this article:
Best Post-Workout Muscle Repair and Recovery Practices
What Happens to the Muscles After a Workout
A consistent and intensive workout routine is the key to achieving the optimal physical fitness, alongside a balanced diet.
However, physical exercises pose stress to the body not only during the training but also post-workout. This happens to both new exercisers and experienced athletes to have muscle soreness.
When the muscles are required to work harder than they usually do, this creates microscopic damage to the muscle fibers. This leads to muscle soreness or stiffness. Sore muscles after physical activity, also known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), is a normal occurrence when you change your exercise routine, start a new exercise program, or increase the intensity or duration of your workout.
6 Muscle Recovery Tips For Optimal Healing
The recovery time after an intense workout is the period when your muscle fibers heal and become stronger. Delayed onset muscle soreness is part of the muscle recovery process that results in improved stamina, strength, and muscle build. This usually lasts for three to four days.
During this duration, you may want to try these strategies to assuage muscle soreness and optimize your recovery:
Eat a High-Protein Meal
A study shows that ingesting protein after a workout and before sleep is effective in stimulating muscle synthesis, protein balance, and overnight muscle recovery. In this particular study, the subjects were provided with 20g of protein immediately after a workout and 30 minutes before sleep.
It is ideally recommended to eat within 45 minutes post-workout. Good sources of protein include:
- Whey Protein
- Cottage cheese
- Greek yogurt
- Protein bars
As protein is the building block of the muscles, consuming ample amounts of it aids in maintaining muscle mass and promotes muscle growth.
Use Foam Rollers
Foam rollers could be a good investment and addition to your post-workout routine. According to a study, foam rolling through self-administered myofascial release may be an effective intervention for enhancing joint range of motion and pre and post-exercise muscle performance without negatively affecting muscle performance.
Practice Active Recovery
An active recovery workout involves performing a low-intensity exercise such as walking, yoga, and stretching after a strenuous workout. Active recovery helps keep the blood flow, reduces soreness, and rebuilds the muscles, making it often more beneficial than passive recovery.
Take Advantage of Sleep
Sleep is a form of passive recovery that is undeniably vital for overall health and performance; therefore, it is helpful to regard sleep as part of your fitness routine. Lack of sleep poses negative consequences in cognitive functions as well as athletic performance.
Sleep deprivation is known to lead to a lack of concentration and focus, lousy mood, and reduced reaction time. Also, sleep deprivation reduces muscle recovery and protein synthesis that leads to loss of muscle mass.
Workout and sleep work both ways. Exercise improves the circadian rhythm while sleep aids in the recovery and repair of the muscles. Make sure to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep at night to maximize the recovery time.
Go for a Massage
Massage, also a form of passive recovery, can be relaxing after an intense workout. Although massage does not have any effect on muscle function or performance, it is an effective way to alleviate delayed onset muscle soreness by approximately 30% and reduce swelling.
Rest and recovery are essential, especially after an intense strength exercise. This is because it is the period where the body makes adaptations in response to physical training. This allows your body to have enough time to repair tissues and muscles and build strength.
Planning your workout calendar can help you strategically schedule your rest days. Experts recommend working out three days a week to achieve fitness goals. However, if you plan on working out more than three times a week, you may divide your workouts according to the target muscle to allow other areas to recover.
What is your post-workout routine for muscle recovery and repair? Let us know in the comments section below!