The morning after a hard workout, your muscles feel stiff and sore, and you’re finding it hard to take the stairs. Meet DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness, which is a sign that you’ve damaged the muscle tissue with an intense workout. Recovery helps heal the tissue faster, so you can get back to the gym. Learn how to ace your workout recovery so you can meet your fitness goals instead of waiting at home for the pain to pass.
3 Proven Ways to Ace Your Workout Recovery
- Battle inflammation– When your muscles become damaged after a workout, they also get inflamed. To ace your recovery, you must battle the inflammation associated with DOMS. To reduce inflammation, take ibuprofen and ice the affected area. Ice will counteract the inflammation (things swell in the heat and contract in the cold) and increase the flow of blood to the area. When more blood flows to sore muscles, so does more oxygen and more nutrients to speed healing.
- Eat right – Nutrition is an important and often overlooked part of workout recovery. It can even help you get over muscle soreness. Eating right begins after a workout, so don’t overlook your post-workout snack. Within half an hour of your workout, have a snack that contains 3 parts carbohydrates to one part protein. A slice of whole wheat bread with almond butter or a lean turkey wrap works well. The next day, treat your body to plenty of protein and eat foods that contain antioxidants. You might try a blueberry smoothie with protein powder for breakfast, or eat a large salad with kale, dried cranberries, and chickpeas. Rehydrate by drinking half of your body weight (in ounces) of water every day.
- Flush out waste – As you’re nourishing your body with the good stuff, you’ve also got to get the bad stuff out of your body. Flushing out the waste can help your muscles heal and will increase your circulation. If your gym has a sauna, steam room, or hot tub, a simple soak after a workout can help to increase the blood flow (and circulation) in the area. Not only will this treatment relax you, it will help to initiate that flushing process and restore your muscles to a clean state.
The day after your workout, use a foam roller on any spots that feel tight. This can be painful in a “hurt so good” kind of way. Foam rolling helps to target muscle adhesion, knots, and tight spots, and restores your muscles to a full range of motion instead of the limited range that can occur after a tough workout.If you’ve got the money for it, a sports massage can also be a great way to recover from a workout. A masseuse can unlock muscle knots and adhesions, in a gentler way than foam rolling.
These 3 strategies, used together, can help you ace your workout recovery period. While you might still have muscle soreness after a workout, you will get over it faster – so you can get back to the gym and get going on your next workout.