If meeting your fitness goals means that your muscles are often sore after a long workout, there are steps that you can take to help to promote a faster recovery. The goal is to give the muscles the fuel and TLC that they need to get you back out there again as quickly as possible. Here are five of the best ways to boost muscle recovery.
Fuel Up Properly
What you eat in the minutes immediately following an intense sweat session can have a profound effect on how quickly you recover. The cornerstone of proper muscle recovery is eating enough protein. After a hard workout, the proteins in the fibers of the muscle may be damaged. Taking in enough protein after the workout provides the necessary nutrition needed to repair this damage.
In addition to the protein, you also need to be diligent about consuming the right amount of carbohydrates. The muscles use and store carbohydrates in the form of glycogen to power through a workout. During intense exercise, the body is forced to use this glycogen as the primary energy source. Replenishing these stores after an exercise session ensures that there will be more available for the next time that it is needed. The best type of carbs to eat after a workout are those with a glycemic index (GI) of over 70. This includes potatoes, rice, and sugar.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Savvy athletes know that you cannot ignore the importance of proper hydration as it relates to muscle recovery. Dehydration may limit the ability of your muscles to repair themselves after physical activity. This effect is more pronounced if you are working out during hot and humid weather conditions.
Most experts recommend drinking 16 to 24 ounces of fluid for every pound that you shed while working out. Weighing yourself before and after a workout will help you to understand how much fluid you are losing through sweat. While water is always the best source of hydration, you may also consider drinking tart cherry juice. This product has been shown to reduce inflammation and treat muscle damage.
Get a Massage
One of the best ways to support fast muscle recovery is to get a massage. This technique works by increasing the blood flow and oxygen to your muscles. A massage also works to decrease the amount of lactic acid build-up in the muscles. This build-up is one of the first signs that your muscles are struggling to recover.
When looking for a massage therapist in Temecula or your own locale, you will want to entrust your muscles to a professional. Look for professional practices known for targeted movement and massage therapy process that promotes fast muscle recovery and relieves chronic pain. By restoring the natural nervous system balance of the body, this type of massage can help you to get back out on your feet. As a bonus, a massage simply feels great.
Contrast Water Therapy
Many athletes turn to contrast water therapy as a means to relieve muscle soreness. This process involves alternating periods of submerging the body in warm and cold water. The drastic swing in temperatures encourages the contraction and dilation of the body’s blood vessels and also changes the heart rate.
Contrast water therapy has been shown to mitigate the onset of muscle soreness if performed right after a hard workout. For example, taking an ice bath immediately after a long run can help to stop the muscles from getting stiff. While it may not be the most pleasant activity, your muscles will thank you for it later.
Look Into Supplements
There may be a place in your nutritional plan for supplements that work to promote muscle recovery. If you suspect that a lack of protein in your diet is inhibiting the ability of your muscles to repair themselves, try adding a daily smoothie made with protein powder to your diet.
Creatine is another supplement that many athletes use to improve strength. This supplement has also been shown to be helpful in reducing muscle damage and inflammation while also replenishing the glycogen stores.
Although you can never prevent some degree of muscle soreness entirely, these five steps will go a long way in helping to mitigate this fatigue.