SEP 6, 2023
7 Tips For Post Workout Recovery
A strenuous workout can make you feel on top of the world. But you pay a price. So we’ve assembled a quick list of helpful tips for your post workout recovery.
1. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration is an ugly thing. Forget what people say about starving yourself of water to make your veins pop (even if you’re built like Hugh Jackman), the impact on your body is brutal. But even neglecting your water intake can stifle your muscle repair and set back your post workout recovery.
The agreed thinking is that you should be consuming 250ml of water before you hit the gym, and 500ml of water within half an hour of exercising.
2. Sleep and Micro Naps
This is a two-for-one. Your body does some of its best work while you’re asleep. That’s because, without being distracted by the world around us, your muscles can get to work on repairing the damage done. In fact, some professional athletes need 10 or more hours sleep per night to fully recover.
On top of a good night’s sleep, you can get a decent post workout recovery through a simple 15-20 minute nap. These micro naps aid recovery in the exact same way, just in small bursts. What’s more they’re good for your heart, stress management and blood pressure. So be sure to take the time to put your feet up.
3. Post-workout Protein
Whenever we undertake any form of exercise, our muscle fibers become damaged. But by consuming protein after your workout, you’re able to offset a lot of the negative effects, such as soreness and tearing. This is because you’re infusing your body with the essential raw materials it needs to repair this muscle damage.
When it comes to how much and what type of protein to consume, that varies from person to person. But the trusted advice is to consume 20-40g of protein to substantially recover and maximize muscle growth.
4. Post-workout Carbs
This one may feel a little counterintuitive, especially for endurance athletes who are all about that ‘night before’ carb load: consume carbs after my workout? The reason post-workout carbohydrates are a good idea is to replenish depleted glycogen levels.
To explain, your muscles store carbohydrates as glycogen. And whenever you engage in short, intense exercise sessions, your muscles convert this glycogen into energy. So consuming foods like potatoes and rice are a great way of quickly restoring those glycogen levels.
When you’ve been working on a specific area of muscles, sometimes what’s needed is targeted attention to combat soreness. Massage isn’t a cure-all but can have an added positive effect on reducing soreness, improving flexibility and giving your muscles that needed nudge in the right direction.
6. Foam Roll
Similarly to massage, foam rolling can ease tightness and give your muscles a helping hand to alleviate aches. Even a simple 15 minutes post workout can dispel lactic acids from muscles, which improves muscle function and flexibility, but also prevents future injury.
7. Cryotherapy Ice Bath
And finally, sometimes what’s need is a good old shock to the system. And there are few things more shocking than ice cold water. Even a few minutes of exposure to extremely cold temperatures can work wonders. But what does an ice bath do for your muscles? Well the benefits include easing pain, reducing inflammation, boosting circulation, and lowering stress levels.
The truth is, everyone’s post workout recovery can be as varied as the workout session they’ve just undertaken. But with these tips, you’ll be able to chart a course that keeps your body firing on all cylinders, and operating at a fighting-fit level that will keep you training more consistently for longer.
Written by Matthew Stogdon
Matt has been writing for two decades, across print and digital media. He is also an accomplished filmmaker, with several accolades under his belt.