We all know that to get the most out of your workouts, you need to push yourself. You only get out of it what you put in. At BodyRock, we encourage you to challenge your limits in order to see true and lasting results.
You have to consistently challenge your muscles and break a sweat if you are going to lose fat and build muscle. However, did you realize that what you do in between your workout can be every bit as important as what you do during them?
When you are doing intense workouts, it is important to make sure you give your body a chance to bounce back. This is why our programs, like the BodyRock Advanced Bootcamp, are structured so that you are not taxing the same muscle groups two days in a row (Get the Advanced Bootcamp and so much more here
!). While you should be able to bounce back within 24 hours, it can take up to 72 hours to fully recover and regain your full range of motion.
To get the most from your workouts, you need to take care of your body. Putting thought, time, and effort into recovery can help you get leaner, stronger, faster and more fit!
It is during your recovery that your body resets and recalibrates itself. The hormones activated by your workout will start to level out, the tiny tears in your muscles and other tissues will be patched up, and your body will rid itself of lactic acid and other waste products.
To recover faster, try the following techniques. Taking these extra steps will help you recover more quickly and tackle your next workout with more strength, while allowing the toning and shaping benefits of your workout to really show!
Ice right away; heat the next day.
After a really tough workout, ice the spots you've worked the most. For example, if you did a series of heavily weighted clean and jerks, ice your shoulders. Ice for 10 minutes at a time. If you're really sore, you can continue to ice throughout the day. This will help to slow blood flow to the area and reduce inflammation. The day after your workout, you may feel stiff or experience muscle spasms. When this happens, apply heat. Heat helps to increase blood flow to the area, relaxing the muscles. Use a heating pad or take a hot shower or bath.
Foam-roll, then stretch it out.
You may have seen people using foam rollers after their workout and not really understood what was going on. Rollers help to increase circulation and release knots deep in your muscles. During your cool-down routine, target the major muscles you worked by rolling for 5 minutes, back and forth along the length of your muscles. Then, stretch those same areas. If you don't have a foam roller, don't sweat it -- you can totally hack yourself one! A tennis ball or pool noodle will do the trick until you are able to get your hands on a proper roller.
Eat protein and carbs shortly after your workout.
30 to 60 minutes after your workout, your muscles are ideally suited to taking in protein and beginning the recovery process. What you will want to do, is look for a snack or a recovery drink that has a protein to carb ration of 1:2 or 1:3. Try one of these recovery drinks
or grab a cup of Greek yogurt with a small serving of fruit. You should snack this way again, around 2 hours after your workout, if you are not having a meal. And don't forget to hydrate. When you really break a sweat, your body loses water. Replace it by drinking 2 to 4 cups of water within an hour of your workout. By following a balanced diet
and adopting these post-workout habits, your body will replenish lost nutrients and glycogen, allowing it to bounce back faster.
Sleep well and keep moving.
Sleep is one of the most important, and probably most overlooked, part of your fitness routine. When you don't get enough sleep
, you put yourself at risk for fatigue, a weakened immune system and hormonal imbalances that will make a mess of your hunger and satiety cues. For optimal recovery, try to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. If you feel really run down, achy, foggy, and heavy before your workout, your body may be trying to tell you that it hasn't fully recovered. It is okay to take a day when you need one, just don't laze around, though. Keep yourself moving. Activity will help you clear away the lactic acid that is causing your muscles to hurt. Move through a short yoga routine, go for a walk or take a short bike ride around your neighborhood. Staying active will help you mentally stay on track with your fitness game while helping to loosen up your tight muscles.
What are your tried and tested recovery strategies? Share your ideas with us!