Recovering from your workout is just as important as the workout itself.
Ever wonder exactly why you’re so sore after your workouts? And more importantly, just how to mitigate that pain and soreness so that it doesn’t happen as frequently? Well, we here at Marcy Pro have some post workout tips that can help you not only recover faster, but also enable you to become stronger, for that next workout around the corner. After all, everyone’s fitness plan should be based around achieving results and progressing to the next level, right?
When you work out, depending on that particular workout intensity, you could be putting your body through a lot of duress. Each time you engage in exercise, especially weight bearing ones such as lifting weights or weight training on workout machines, you tear down your body’s muscle fibers. Not only that, but you also put your joints, tendons, and ligaments under a tremendous amount of strain.
Many people aren’t aware of the fact that post workout recovery routines can actually not only help your body recuperate faster, but also prevent any unwanted injuries. There’s nothing worse than progressing to a certain point within your fitness journey, only to have it all wasted because of an unforeseen injury. These can range from sprained ligaments, to strained or even bruised muscles, and also pulled tendons. All of these can set your fitness goals way back, and take you out of action for days, or even weeks at a time.
So, in order to help to prevent such potentially calamitous events, as well as just to help you recoup faster, we’ve provided some tips for you to check out.
While it’s never wise to exercise on an empty stomach, it’s equally important that your post-workout food intake is specifically designed to help you recover faster from your exercise routines. Here are several ways that you can do just that:
- Load up on complex carbs
- Enjoy delicious protein shakes
- Indulge in some glucose intake
Consuming foods that are high in complex carbs, such as oatmeal, whole grain breads, whole grain crackers, and whole grain spaghetti, can greatly increase your recovery time. Not only do they “feed the machine” and replenish your body with important vitamins and nutrients, but complex carbs also take longer for your body to break down. While your body goes into overdrive in order to digest those complex carbs, it spikes up your metabolic rate, thereby increasing the rate at which you burn fat.
Protein shakes are another great way to help your body recover. Just be sure to purchase the ones containing at least 25 extra grams of protein, as anything lower just isn’t enough. Throwing together a protein shake with your favorite fruits and vegetables, can be not only a tasty reward for your exercise efforts, but the protein within them are crucial to rebuilding all of those torn down muscle fibers.
Lastly, glucose-rich foods can likewise help your body to recharge and recover more efficiently. Each time that you work out, your body expends glucose in order to power your muscle fibers, and therefore leave your body sugar-deprived afterwards. Drinking some low fat chocolate milk, or eating a tasty energy bar are excellent ways to get your post-workout glucose intake handled.
While it may sound rather elementary (and not very sexy), getting some good old sleep is your body’s primary active way of recovering. Sleepy time is not only your body’s prime period in which to synthesis protein, but can super-charge your recovery rate while it replenishes your body within and likewise reduce stress levels. Even a simple nap can have dramatic post-workout implications, and allow you to come back better, stronger, and more focused than before.
Post-workout stretching isn’t something you see a lot of people doing, but that doesn’t make it any less important. On the contrary, stretching after a good workout can greatly increase your flexibility, expand your range of motion, and reduce your chances of becoming injured.
Here are some basic stretches that can help you to benefit from all of these factors, as well as allow you to recover faster from your workouts, especially rigorous total body ones (such as performed on a Smith machine).
Quadriceps stretch: Grab and hold onto something sturdy, such as a desk, pole, or wall, with one hand. With the other hand, grasp your same-side leg by the toes and bend your leg back so that your heel is as close to your glutes as possible. Repeat this with the opposite side.
Hamstrings stretch: Sit on the floor with one leg stretched out in front of your body in a straight plane. Touch your opposite foot sole to the side of your outstretched leg. Gradually lean your upper body forward so that your hands envelop your outstretched legs toes. If you can’t quite reach your toes, don’t’ fret, just stretch as far as you can. The important thing is that you feel your hamstring stretching. Repeat this stretch with the opposite leg.
Abdominal stretch: Lie face down on your stomach. Place your hands so that they are approximately parallel with your shoulders. Gradually lift your upper body upwards using your arms, but be sure to keep your pelvis as close to the ground as possible. When you feel a slight stretching feeling in your abdominal wall, relax and gently lower yourself back downwards.
Triceps stretch: With your arms held above your head, bend one of them at the elbow and bring it down behind your head. As you do this, place your opposite hand on the bent elbow and guide it back towards your shoulder blades as far as you can. When you feel your triceps stretching, release and repeat with your opposite arm.
Posterior shoulder stretch: Take one arm and cross it across your chest until that hand reaches a little past your opposing shoulder. Take your other hand and brace it behind your outstretched arm’s elbow, and help to guide it backwards until you feel your shoulder stretching. When you’re done, stretch the other shoulder.
Be careful not to jerk or sway when you’re performing these stretches, as you don’t want to pull any ligaments or pinch any nerves. Also, be sure to breathe as steadily as you can—many people hold their breath while performing stretches, which isn’t good for your cardiovascular system.
Whether you’re a gym-fanatic, long distance runner, or accomplished sports athlete, proper recovery techniques can not only reduce your chances of becoming injured, but can also provide you with better gains over the long haul.
From proper food intake, plenty of sleep and rest periods, and hitting those post-workout stretches, these all can factor into enhancing your body’s ability to rebuild itself, and enable you to get closer to your ultimate fitness goals, wherever you are in your health and fitness journey!
And be sure to check out Marcy Pro today for all your fitness needs, including Smith cages and other workout equipment, and begin (or continue) your fitness journey today!