Intense soreness after a workout is something none of us like to deal with, but it’s largely inevitable. When you work out, you create thousands of micro-tears in your muscle tissues, which is why you feel pain the days after. What you do during that time will have a direct influence on how fast you recover and how intense the pain will be. Your workout habits will make a difference as well. Here’s how to enhance muscle recovery after a tough workout.
One of the most important things is understanding your body and the time it needs to heal. If you overwork certain parts of your body, you will be in a state of constant soreness, and you could hinder your results. Unless you give your muscles time to heal, they will never get stronger. As a matter of fact, you can expect to see a decrease in performance. This is why we suggest that you embark on a split training routine. Train the upper body one day, the lower body the next, and take a day-long break to recover. If you do this, each part of your body will have had a full three days to recover.
Nutrition plays such an important part in recovery. If you don’t put the right food in your body, your muscles will either not heal fully or take more time to do so. You also have to understand how muscles generate energy. People often speak of protein when it comes to muscle building and recovery, but sugar plays a very big role too. Your muscles use something called glycogen as a source of energy, and glycogen is derived from glucose or sugar. Glycogen is actually stored in the muscles and your reserves will get depleted after a workout. This is why sugar consumption during recovery is very important.
Note that it can take as long as two days or even more for your glycogen reserves to be fully restored. Muscles can also only take in a little bit of glycogen per hour. So, you will have to drip feed your body with high-quality complex carbs on your recovery days. With that being said, protein is still very important, and you can’t expect to recover properly with a protein deficiency. So, make sure that you get at least one gram of protein per pound of fat and look into supplementation if you’re having trouble meeting that threshold with food only.
One of the worst things you can do to your body while it’s recovering is deprive it of sleep. It’s during sleep that most of the recovery happens. The body will direct most of its resources toward healing your muscles and will start all sorts of chemical processes to boost it. This is why you need to take steps to clean up your sleep hygiene and even consider looking into supplementation if you’re having trouble falling and staying asleep for long periods.
You can take supplements in various forms. They’re usually found in pill form, but there are also tons of supplements that come as a liquid. Look for a drink to help with sleep that contains ingredients like magnesium as this is one of the most efficient and safest natural sleep aids that you can find. L-theanine is another great ingredient to look for. A lot of the sleep supplements out there will contain melatonin, but we suggest that you stay away from this as it can cause dependence.
These are all things that you can do to boost recovery after intense physical activity. The best thing you can do is learn how your body works inside and out and give it what it needs to recover fully fast.