After finishing a hard workout session, do you think you’re done for the day? The reality of the matter is that if you want to continue to see maximum results, you still have work to do.
While recovery is essentially defined as rest, there is more involved in this than just sitting on the couch and hoping the best results occur. By actively engaging in smart recovery strategies as you rest, you can ensure that you aren’t leaving any progress on the table.
Let’s look at five steps you need to take right now to maximize your post-workout recovery.
Get Proper Nutrition In
Your first order of business after you step foot out of the gym is to get proper nutrition in. This means taking in both carbohydrates as well as protein. On the carbohydrate side of things, this is actually the one point in the day when it may be okay to opt for some simple carbohydrates. Foods like a banana, a little fruit juice, some sugary cereal, white bread, white rice, or rice cakes can actually be good options here.
Unlike other times during your day, you want to spike blood glucose levels as this is what will help to drive those carbohydrates and the protein you take in right now into the muscle cell.
For protein, without a doubt, opt for some whey isolate protein powder. It is perfect for this time period because whey isolate protein powder is rapidly digested so those amino acids can hit your muscle cells in record time. There, they can kick-start the recovery process, ensuring better tissue growth and repair.
Dymatize ISO 100 for example is a perfect whey isolate protein powder because not only does it contain high quality protein to the tune of 25 grams per scoop, but it’s lactose free, contains 5.5 grams of BCAA’s, and mixes exceptionally well. It’s an ideal option for any post workout shake.
After you have your post-workout meal in, it’s also a good idea to do some foam rolling. You can choose to do this immediately following your session or if you like, you can do it later on that evening or the next day.
Foam rolling is going to help to work out any knots that may be present in the muscle tissues, which would otherwise become quite tight and could limit your range of motion and strength in future workouts to come.
Foam rolling is also an important injury prevention technique as well. It helps ensure your muscles don’t get overly tight, to prevent pain that may occur in ligaments, tendons, and attachment points due to these tight muscles.
If you aren’t one for foam rolling, going for a deep tissue massage can also be a good choice.
Consider A Hot Bath
After you get home and unwind from the day, consider going in for a hot bath. The nice thing about a hot bath is that it helps to boost circulation in the body, which means greater flow of nutrients and oxygen to the damaged muscle tissues. This can also help speed the recovery process and make sure you bounce back quickly after each workout session is completed.
As an added benefit, the hot bath will often also relax the mind and body, which can help loosen any unwanted tension that’s present and may even help combat cortisol release.
If you happen to be psychologically stressed out, this means your body will be putting cortisol, the stress hormone, into your system, which creates the exact opposite effect you’re going for during the recovery process.
Prioritize A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep is absolutely imperative to proper recovery so don’t take this lightly. You may think you can get away with 6-7 hours at night, but your body will pay the price.
If you are serious about your results and recovery, 8 hours per night is what you want to aim for.
Turn down the temperature of your room, use blackout curtains, and consider even getting yourself a white noise machine. All of these will help ensure that you fall asleep quickly and stay asleep.
Consider Smart Supplementation
Finally, don’t overlook the power of a few key supplements: creatine and glutamine.
Supplementing with a quality creatine product after your workout session will provide your body with the precursor to the high energy compound, ATP, which fuels every single muscle contraction.
When you supplement with creatine post-workout, you’ll notice you can perform more reps without fatigue during the next session.
Glutamine, on the other hand is an amino acid that is excellent for keeping your immune system strong, which then works by nature to help improve recovery after any exercise is performed.
Both of these should be taken within the hour post-training.
So there you have the top recovery strategies that you should consider putting into place. If you get to be consistent it won’t be long before you are noticing a smooth recovery from your workout sessions.