Adhering to a workout routine is challenging. Making time to hit the gym, laborious routines and meeting your fitness goals are hard enough on their own without having to cope with the nuisance of post-workout soreness: a virtuous reminder of your perseverance.
As they say; “No pain, no gain,” muscle discomfort cannot be entirely eliminated but it can be controlled. A proper post-workout recovery protocol replenishes your muscles, thwarts burnout and prevents muscle soreness. Here’s what you can do to speed up recovery and prevent muscle soreness:
After finishing your workout routine, you have a maximum of two hours to fuel up your body with energy and aid repair. You need healthy fat for your muscles and joints, proteins for muscle repair and carbohydrates for energy. Most of the muscle damage is caused by free radicals and thus your post-workout diet should also incorporate plenty of antioxidant rich foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.
During long runs, you should consider stocking up on sports drinks as when your body runs low on glycogen, the muscles start breaking down their own proteins to provide an alternative form of energy. Another viable way to prevent muscle soreness is to consume plenty of proteins and amino acids before exercise to boost blood amino acid levels.
Warm Up Properly
A joint mobility warm-up helps the body prepare itself for a strenuous workout session and reduces the risk of muscle and connective tissue injury. It increases blood flow to the muscles and speeds up the flow of essential nutrients and oxygen to the muscle cells. It reduces the risk of soft tissue injuries by allowing your muscles and joints to move through a greater range of motion easily (and safely). Always start your workout routine with a warm-up session, working those parts of the body which are going to be targeted most and slowly build up to the desired intensity.
Dehydration is your biggest enemy when it comes to recuperation as your muscle cells require water. Aim to drink a 20oz bottle of water for each hour you work out. Check the color of your urine to determine if you are adequately hydrated.
Regulate Your Training Intensity
Work as hard as your body can bear but don’t overwork it. There’s nothing wrong or guilt inducing about skipping exercise altogether on recovery days after tough and taxing days of hard work. Your body needs time to recuperate and exercising regularly is going to wear you out and ultimately kill the enthusiasm. Stimulate your muscles, do not annihilate them. If you are new to a training routine, start off slowly and give your body time to adapt before taking the intensity up a notch.
Cooling down after a workout helps the contracting muscles squeeze out muscle soreness, generating liquid and remove tight knots from the muscles. Use a roller once a week and a massage at least once a month to ease your muscles and prevent muscle soreness.