Who doesn’t love the feeling you get after a good workout, when the endorphins hit and make you feel energized? Unfortunately, this feeling doesn’t last forever, and sooner or later your muscles may start feeling sore. But don’t worry, there are ways to avoid soreness and maximize muscle recovery after you’ve been training hard! Here are our favorite tips to help you boost muscle recovery and get back on your feet in no time after your workouts.
Warm up before you start
Warm-up and cool-down are two important phases of any exercise programme that should not be neglected. Giving your body time to warm up before your workout allows you to be more prepared for the physical efforts to come. During warm-up, your breathing, blood flow and heart rate increases, and these adjustments may take a few minutes. Diving right into intense physical exercise without warming up adequately can cause injuries and fatigue. To avoid this, make sure you warm up properly before you start your workout! A good warm-up lasts generally between 5 and 10 minutes, but you can make it longer if you feel the need to. The way you decide to organize your warm-up is up to you: it can be light physical activity (such as walking, jogging, etc.), specific exercises (such as jumping jacks, squats, …), and more.
Cool down when you finish
As for cooling down, it allows your heart rate to return to normal gradually, and may minimize soreness in the following days. Similarly to a warm-up, a cool-down should last from 5 to 10 minutes. As part of your cool-down, you can perform light exercise such as walking for a few minutes after your workout is over, or continue the exercises you were doing during your workout but at a slower pace and lesser intensity. It’s also the best time to stretch your muscles, as they are still warm, which minimizes the risk of injury. Stretching is essential, because it helps relax your muscles and improve flexibility over time. Aim to spend at least 10 minutes gently stretching the muscles you have used during your workout.
Challenge yourself, but learn your limits
Setting challenging goals for yourself is great, but overtraining can cause injuries and undermine your progress. Rather than focusing solely on the number of reps or the speed at which you are going, you should make sure that you are using good technique when performing your exercises. Doing so will protect your muscles from strains or injuries. When you want to take your workout up a notch, make sure to do so gradually, and only when you feel ready. Overall, set up a workout programme that works for you, and be sure to include enough rest days! Listen to your body, and rest when you need to. Doing so will allow you to recharge and give your everything during your next workout!
Switch up your workout routine
You’ve probably heard this before: it’s recommended that you do not work the same muscles two days in a row. This is to let your muscles recover and rebuild after your workout, and that’s how muscles grow! Moreover, this allows you to get creative with your workouts, by switching it up every day when you train a different muscle group. Instead of sticking to the same routine week after week, you should also try different types of exercises, to prepare your muscles for all types of physical effort. Sports like swimming, skiing, rowing, cycling, boxing and running are great to build body strength and exercise your entire body, so try them out if you can!
Have active rest days
Rest days don’t necessarily mean you have to stay in bed or chill on your sofa all day! In fact, light exercise is beneficial for muscle recovery, as it improves blood flow throughout the body, delivering nutrients to your muscles and helping them get rid of waste products. Try to do some light physical activity, such as walking, cycling, swimming, or yoga, on your rest days.
Keep hydrated during and after your workouts
This may not come as a surprise, but good hydration during and after your workout is indeed essential! An adequate hydration is important at all times, but even more so during a physical activity, because your body is losing a lot of fluids through sweat. If you are dehydrated, your athletic performance will decrease, and you’ll be at risk of cramps and fatigue. So make sure you chug on that water to replenish your fluids. And if you want to spice things up a little, you can also go for a sports drink that is suited to your needs.
Feed your body well and get enough protein
Food is what fuels your muscles and your entire body, so having a varied and balanced diet is essential. After a workout, your muscles need to repair and grow stronger, so it’s essential that you feed them the nutrients you need. Make sure to include quality sources of protein and carbs in your diet, to replenish your energy levels and support muscle maintenance and growth. You can check out our selection of tasty snacks and protein powders and shakes that are convenient and easy to integrate into your routine. And remember that your nutrition matters at all times, not just straight after a workout!
To sum it up…
Muscle soreness is sometimes seen as a sign that your workout was effective, but it can be avoided or minimized with a few good habits (and your workout will still be just as effective, we promise!). It’s essential to allow enough time for your muscles to recover and repair after exercising, otherwise you may put yourself at risk of injuries. That recovery period is as important as the time you spend working out if you want to see results and progress towards your goals. So make sure to take some rest days if you want to keep growing stronger and stronger!