Do you like to go all-out during your workouts? There’s nothing wrong with pushing yourself and setting goals. That’s how we get better. It’s easy to forget, though, that you’ve got to allow yourself the opportunity for workout recovery from those intense exercise sessions.
You’ve likely heard this before, but it bears repeating: Amping up your workout several notches at once puts you at risk for injury. If you’re striving for improvement, increase your intensity gradually. For example, if you’re a runner, add mileage little by little, a mile at a time. But for those times when you do hit it hard, here are our tips for workout recovery.
Top Tips for Workout Recovery:
Get the Right Nutrition.
Within an hour after your workout, reach for protein. Lean meats, eggs, protein shakes, milk, and even chocolate milk are all good choices. Potassium lost during exercise can be replenished easily with such foods as bananas, berries, sweet potatoes and watermelon. And collagen protein supplements like Thrive Plus FORM can facilitate post-exercise recovery and repair.
Light stretching is most effective after a workout, when the muscles are still warm. Avoid deep or aggressive stretches on cold muscles.
The National Foundation of Sleep recommends that adults aim for between seven and eight hours a night. If you’re laughing, we understand. Eight hours is an ambitious goal for a lot of us. But consider that you may be so sleep deprived, you don’t even know how that deficit is affecting the quality of your life. Lack of sleep disrupts the appetite hormones and can actually make feel hungrier and less likely to be satisfied, leaving you vulnerable to weight gain. Try hitting the hay an hour earlier a few nights in a row. You just might be inspired to make it a new healthy habit.
Although hydration needs do vary based on Body Mass Index, gender, height, weight, exercise intensity, age and duration of exercise, the following guidelines will help prevent you from becoming dehydrated:
- Drink 17 to 20 ounces of water two to three hours before you start exercising;
- Then have 8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up;
- During exercise, drink 7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes; and
- Gulp down 8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise.
Schedule lower-impact exercise.
Your workouts don’t always have to be intense in order to be effective. Schedule a couple of lower-impact workouts each week. A yoga or Pilates session, a brisk walk or some good housecleaning get the heart pumping but don’t push you to the max.
A professional massage is always a nice treat, but they can be a drain on your budget if you want to make them a regular habit. So buy yourself a foam roller. They’re available in various sizes and textures and are designed to work out the knots in your tight, sore muscles. Regular foam rolling promotes blood flow and muscle recovery – and it feels fabulous.
Listen to your body.
Even for the most seasoned athlete, there will be days when you’re exhausted and just can’t muster the energy for a full-on workout. That’s OK. Try some active recovery or lower-impact exercises. You don’t have to be a superhero every day. As long as you’re moving, you’re winning.
Recovery can be downright hard for those of us who like to push hard all the time. Here’s the thing, though: Downshifting occasionally can actually help you dial it up during your next workout. Nobody can go all out all the time. Giving your body time to rest and giving it the nutrition it needs can help you stay in the game without burning out.