How to maximize your recovery
We shed some light on some ways to maximize your recovery and prepare for the next day. Maximizing your recovery is specific to every individual; however, there are some common themes that can be identified to make the most of your fitness journey.
Sleep affects the whole body — including the brain, heart, lungs, metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance. Getting the proper amount of sleep after a tough workout might do more than you know to speed your body’s recovery.
✔︎Create a consistent schedule and stick to it.
✔︎ Create a bedtime ritual or routine to wind down.
✔︎ Make sure you aren’t hungry or stuffed when you go to bed.
✔︎ Cool air may improve your quality of sleep.
✔︎ Hours slept before midnight are usually higher quality than those following.
✔︎ Make sure the room is dark and quiet.
Eat something healthy within 40 minutes post-workout. After an intense workout, our energy levels become depleted and our muscles are looking for fuel to rebuild.
Aim to consume a healthy, recovery-focused meal within an hour of finishing your workout.
- High amount of lean protein
- 20 grams of protein after a strenuous workout is ideal. Research suggests that you can go up to 0.4 grams per kilogram of bodyweight in one meal, which would be about 25 grams of protein for a 135-pound person. You can also eat a bit less protein if you haven’t been sweating as hard.
- Moderate amount of complex carbs
- Consuming 0.5–0.7 grams of carbs per pound of body weight within 30 minutes after training
- Low amounts of healthy fats
- A 1:1:1 or 2:1:1 ratio of carbs to protein to fat is ideal, so aim for 20 grams of healthy fat on your plate.
According to the American Council on Exercise, you should drink 8 ounces of water 30 minutes after exercise and 16 to 24 ounces for every pound of body weight lost during exercise.
Restoring water and minerals lost during a workout is vital for the body’s recovery. Drinking water after working out not only cools and refreshes the body but also enables it to repair itself so that it’s ready and rejuvenated for your next session and to maximize your recovery.
Listen to your body. Your body is an incredibly intelligent machine, which relies on crucial resources such as water to maintain its balance. Fortunately, for the most part, your body will tell you what it needs. Thirst is the most obvious way your body can warn you it is not hydrated enough.
Stretch or make the foam roller your friend
Post-workout foam rolling increases blood flow to the tissues you just used can help speed up recovery time. Rolling out muscles with foam rollers or stretching the major muscle groups is one of the best ways to help minimize that lingering post-workout soreness. While not exactly noted for its comfort, the benefits of foam rolling and stretching are worth it.
The reason that mobility work is best done as part of a recovery routine is that our bodies are warm and loosened up and likely too tired to hold onto that muscle tension that foam rolling helps eliminate. Target trouble spots, or anywhere that just feels like it’s needed.
Rest your muscles
While many advocate two days between workouts involving the same muscle group, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for recovery time. Factors like age and fitness level are important in determining how much rest we really need between sessions to maximize your recovery.
If you notice your performance is deteriorating from workout to workout, that’s a sure sign to schedule in a few extra rest days.