Now with more sun, I’m finding more motivation for working out. I’ve got me a trainer and our first session was killer. I could barely walk for three days! So if you’re in the same boat, I’m sure you’ll appreciate today’s article by Brooke Chaplan.
Whether you are just starting out with a new weight routine or have been training for years, there are times when your muscles just don’t recover as well from your workouts. This can result in excessive soreness, sluggishness, and a lack of results. But if you want to start building large muscles and getting maximum results from your training, you must implement various practices in your routine to improve your recovery time. Following are some tips on doing just that, even after your most grueling exercises.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Your muscles repair themselves and grow when you’re at rest, not in the gym. That’s why getting enough sleep is imperative to minimizing your recovery time. Get on a regular sleeping schedule and stick to it, even if it means less TV or computer time. Most active people need at least seven to nine hours of quality sleep. Determine how much you need to feel fully rested and make sure you get it.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Water is best for maintaining hydration because it’s pure and enhances your nutritional intake. This, in turn, speeds up your recovery time. To ensure you’re drinking enough water, examine the color of your urine. If you’re drinking enough, the color should be clear to pale yellow. Imbibe beverages that restore electrolytes as well, such as Gatorade, since these can help restore muscular energy.
Don’t Overdo It
Train hard but don’t over-train. You should have a general ideal as to the number of sets you need for each body part. If you don’t, ask one of the trainers at the gym. Obviously larger muscles like your quads, chest, and back can handle more sets. But it’s not necessary to do 20 sets of biceps when you’re already working them with your back routine.
Stretch After Workouts
Many workout buffs know to stretch their muscles before training, but the post-workout stretching is equally important. According to Bodybuilding.com it helps keep your muscles more pliable and flexible. Spend five or ten minutes stretching all the muscles you trained before you leave the gym.
Don’t consume empty calories like potato chips or candy bars before or after training. Eat plenty of complex carbohydrates and lean proteins. Complex carbohydrates include foods such as brown rice, yams, potatoes, oatmeal, and green beans, while you can get lean proteins from eating fish, skinless chicken, turkey, tuna, egg whites, nuts, and beans. These foods will provide you with the vitamins and nutrients necessary for muscle recovery.
Drink a Protein Shake
Post-workout protein shakes are especially essential if you haven’t eaten for a few hours. The protein feeds your muscles and enhances the recovery process. Men should aim for 20 to 50 grams of protein and woman should shoot for 20 grams. The heavier you are, the more protein you need.
Besides protein, there are many supplements that can improve recovery time after your hardest workouts. Creatine restores ATP or adenine tri-phosphate in the body, which is the energy necessary to drive most body processes including muscle growth. Branched-chain amino acids, such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine activate muscle protein synthesis, which expedites recovery and muscle growth. You can also visit GNC or other sports nutrition stores to see what muscle recovery products they have. In a more scientific approach, ASEA Science sells an array of gels and supplements to restore body cells, including muscles, to optimal levels.
If you start incorporating some of these recovery strategies into your routine, you can dramatically improve your recovery time and start gaining more muscle.
About the Author
Brooke Chaplan is a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.
Are you ready to work out now with this new-found knowledge?