Few people realize this, but recovery is just as important as the work you put in when you’re training. As a matter of fact, for new muscle tissue to form, it first has to suffer damage, and then go through repair. This is when your muscle fibers will become stronger and bigger. However, recovery is not something everyone understands, and some might actually be hindering it through their habits. These are not always the ones you would expect either. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to boost muscle recovery after tough workouts.
Replenish Glycogen Stores
The first thing you need to do after a tough workout is feed your muscles the energy they need. In this case, their main source of energy is glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and is derived from glucose or carbs. When you finish a heavy session, you will have depleted some of these reserves, which will need to be replenished.
This is the only time we would advocate eating sweets after a workout. These simple sugars are absorbed by your body faster and will start the recovery process immediately. After that, you can switch to complex carbs to give your body that steady dose of sugar without any crash or elevating your insulin levels.
Post-workout is also the best time to take a protein supplement or a protein-rich meal. If you’re going to be going with a supplement, then anything with whey protein is a great option. This form of protein is absorbed faster, so you’ll be feeding those aching muscles with all the nutrition they need at the moment they’re the most receptive to it.
The third most important aspect of good recovery is getting plenty of sleep. Sleep will be when your body does most of its repair work, and this is when most of your human growth hormones are released. Deep sleep is what you need to start this process, so you have to make sure that your sleep environment is the absolute best if you’re serious about making progress.
This all starts with buying the right mattress. Those who work out will need a specific type of mattress if they want to recover better. The best adjustable mattress will offer both softness and support and will focus on breathability and cooling. Heat is the enemy of proper recovery, and it’s imperative that you keep any area of your body that is recuperating cool. You also want support at the right pressure points to relieve those areas as well.
Don’t be Lethargic During Rest Days
We know they’re called rest days, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything. As a matter of fact, getting a bit of activity on rest days has been shown to boost recovery. Part of it may have to do with increased blood circulation, which is why you should consider doing some light activity on those days to keep the blood pumping.
Eat Well and Avoid Bad Food Habits
Eating well is not just for pre and post workouts; it’s important on your rest days as well. In reality, this is where nutrition is the most important. That means you should try to get as much protein into your diet during these days as possible. Protein supplements can also be taken on rest days if you feel like you need that extra push. Also, try to reduce your carb intake if you’re not going to be active. Carbs are for training days when you need that extra energy, so make sure that you stick to your minimal required daily intake if possible.
Recovery is all about understanding and listening to your body while giving it the tools it needs. Your environment and lifestyle also need to be conducive to recovery if you want to get results.