You may have been hitting the gym hard and going crazy with those intense workouts but what if you are taking two steps back with every one step forward? Spending hours in gym lifting can stall your progress. If you want to get the best results for all your hard work, you also need to focus on rest and recovery which are integral aspects of any strength training program. Here are 5 ways to recover from a tough workout so that you can stay sharp in the next one.
#1. Push the limit but don’t annihilate it
Pushing beyond your limits is probably a good thing after all, ‘no pain, no gain’. but how far are you supposed to push? Until you feel that sting in the muscles? But you should only push until a stimulus is created for muscle growth and not go to a point where your muscles hurt for next few days. You should push yourself out of your comfort zone such as doing an extra set than the day before but in the process, don’t destroy your body.
#2. Structured Rest
Have deliberate rest days in between, they are essential to any training program. Remember that your muscles don’t grow when you lift, they grow when you rest and give your body time to recover. When you lift, your muscles undergo microtears and to repair themselves, they need proper rest. Have rest days in between your training sessions or a rest week after every 8-12 weeks of strenuous exercise that allows your body to recover properly. During this week, you can stay off exercise or reduce the volume. But make sure that you don’t take too much rest because afterwards the next time you hit the gym, be prepared for the muscle aches that won’t go away that easily.
Don’t skimp on sleep because you are busy with projects or any kind of work. Sleep isn’t just necessary for relaxing but it also a time when your body restores itself. Ensure that you take good quality sleep otherwise you will see that your workout intensity and recovery will both be affected.
#4. Post- workout Protein
Having proteins post-workout is essential especially if you haven’t eaten anything for hours. An average adult usually needs 20-50 grams of proteins after a workout. Women should focus on the lower range while men will need more. There are all kinds of sources of protein but if you are looking for something readily available and convenient then opt for whey protein. It is easy to mix and offers a good absorption rate.
#5. Ice baths
Ice baths are not for the faint hearted and are usually meant for professional athletes. But they are great for recovery. Otherwise you can opt for water contrast therapy where you alternate between hot and cold water that contacts and dilates the blood vessels which helps the system get rid of waste products. To do this therapy, you can use warm shower for one minute and then immediately shift to cold water for 30 seconds and then repeat.