There’s nothing worse than having a great workout and waking up the following day unable to move because of aches, pains and muscle soreness. While some aches are normal, you may secretly love the feeling of muscle tightness (because it means you’ve worked hard at the gym)? It’s essential to prioritise your recovery – before it starts to affect your motivation to work out.
Although it may be tempting to push through the pain to work out again, there’s evidence that recovery helps you regain energy and in turn helps with muscle building, fitness and weight loss.
Do you love working out, but skip recovery? Don’t worry, I’m here to help you create an easy three-step recovery routine that you can do even when motivation is lacking. Keep scrolling for three simple ways to help prevent post-workout aches…
1. Stretch After Your Workout
After a long workout, it can be tempting to hit the showers and go home, but it’s vital that you fit a stretch in before you finish your workout.
Stretching after a workout helps to eliminate the build of lactic acid in your muscles, the substance responsible for ‘DOMS’, AKA delayed muscle soreness.
As well as helping to prevent pain, it also helps with flexibility, boosts your energy, increases blood circulation and offers a moment of mindfulness, which is essential to destress – it allows you to become more aware of your body aches and pains.
Don’t know where to start? Watching videos online by fitness creators or brands is a great place to start. Here’s one from Adidas that you can follow along with:
2. Refuel Your Body
We’re told time and time again that we need to eat our 5 a day, but how many of us actually do? Busy lifestyles and long days mean that we reach for convenient foods that may not have the nutrition benefits our body needs after a workout. But, don’t worry I’ve got you covered, with a selection of easy tips that will help you decide the right food to fuel you in your bodies’ recovery.
Follow These 5 Simple Tips:
1) Choose foods that are high in protein to help you build muscle and to help to keep you fuller for longer. Examples of protein-rich foods are meats, fish, Quorn, eggs, dairy products, quinoa, tofu and cottage cheese.
2) After a workout consume carbohydrates as they are your body’s best source of energy as it’s a quick source of glucose. Examples of best post-workout carbohydrates are pasta, rice, bread, potatoes and oats.
Tip: the darker the berry the higher the content of antioxidants.
3) Incorporate nutrient-rich foods minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and trace nutrients like fruit, vegetables, milk and fish, peas, legumes and avocado.
4) Eat healthy fats help provide energy and help you to absorb vitamins from your food. Examples of foods with healthy fats are fatty fish like olives, flaxseeds, salmon, avocado, chia seeds and nuts.
5) Water is essential to every function in the body, especially recovery. The NHS’s recommended daily intake of water is 6 to 8 cups a day.
3. Make Time For Rest
When it comes to self-care, it can be tricky to know where to start especially as everyone does different things do things to relax. From a face mask (my choice is Elizabeth Arden’s Superstart sheet mask) to a slow walk in the park, there are so many simple ways to take care of yourself.
Rest days are more important than your workout as resting gives your muscles time to repair and help to manage those dreaded post-workout pains and aches. Giving your mind time to rest is equally as important so that you stay feeling energised and motivated for your next workout.
Finally, don’t forget, sleep. Sleep is essential for recovery, emotional regulation, reducing the risk of illness and managing your hunger levels, and should never be underestimated how critical your recommended seven to nine hours of sleep are to your body’s recovery.