The recovery process is vital in a training program -- ultimately being the most beneficial way to enhance your overall gym performance. Overtraining also known as under-recovery can exhaust your muscles and build even more fatigue than what you're already feeling. Rest assured that with the right recovery tools in your arsenal you'll be ready to go in no time. Follow these tried and true methods for an optimal workout recovery. Your muscles will be thanking you.
Your performance in the gym is directly affected by how many Zzzs you're getting in. Getting a sufficient amount of sleep enhances the release of human growth hormone, which can aid in building muscle. It's been seen that 60-70 percent of HGH secretion takes place during the deepest sleep cycles. Lower energy consumption also takes place while we're sleeping, using the food that we ate during the day to build muscle. As for mental alertness, adenosine levels fall while we're sleeping -- allowing the brain to literally recharge. Adenosine is a neurotransmitter that creates ATP. After a good night's rest, adenosine levels will be at their highest, keeping us more alert during a workout. It's also important to discuss the issue of muscle catabolism while we sleep; this happens because we're in a fasted state. Consuming a casein protein shake prior to bed can help offset the damage that is done because casein is a slow-digesting protein -- ultimately trickle-feeding your muscles throughout the night.
To further enhance your sleep, set a sleep time and stick with it and remember to not workout within four hours prior to bedtime. It's also recommend to keep your room cool, around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Getting between cool sheets will help the body produce the sleep-inducing hormone, melatonin. And lastly, make sure to eliminate any light -- light will wake up your brain. If needed consider a sleep mask like CABEAU "Midnight Magic" sleep mask. It will help block out any light disturbances.
Hydration is needed for every day activities -- working out. It's recommended that women should consume 2.7 liters of liquid daily either through different beverages or food and men should consume 3.7 liters daily. But when you're hitting the gym daily, more hydration is going to be needed because the body can lose more than a quart of water within one hour of working out. If proper hydration is not maintained then muscle fatigue and loss of coordination can occur.
As for electrolyte -- sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, chloride, and phosphorus -- replacement depends on the amount of sweat that's created during a workout. Studies have also shown that a person who is of larger size may need more sodium because they sweat more during a workout. If you're an excessive sweater then consider replenishing your electrolytes post-workout. NuAquos is a sports drink that can help replenish your electrolytes while fueling your muscles with protein. Added bonus: NuAquos can be added to a post-workout protein shake.
Let food be medicine during and after an intense workout. Consuming a small snack that contains protein and some carbs can help give you the edge that you need in a workout.Rise Bar is a protein bar that's made with only four ingredients. One bar contains around 260 calories and 17 grams of protein. As for post-workout go for a shake that's rich in protein, it's recommend to consume around 25 grams of protein post-workout. Ingesting protein immediately after a workout will pull the trigger for muscle-protein synthesis, which will positively impact muscle growth and recovery. Also consider consuming a protein-rich meal that's coupled with essential pro-recovery fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants can help counteract any free-radical damage that took place from an intense workout -- ultimately expediting recovery time.
4. Self-Myofascial Release
Around your muscles is a thin, elastic type of tissue called fascia. Fascia can prevent injuries by hydrating muscle fibers and maintaining the muscle's place. Practicing self-myofascial release post-workout by using a foam roller like Trigger Point Grid Foam Roller can help relieve muscle tension -- ultimately keeping your muscles moving more readily. You'll be able to improve you mobility, ROM, and flexibility -- lessening your chances of an injury and total recovery time.
5. Recovery Workouts
The recovery process doesn't just entail rest but also scheduled recovery workouts. It's recommended every three to five weeks to plan a recovery week that contains all your main lifts, but you'll be lifting half the amount of reps and loads. This will help prevent overtraining, which will exhaust your muscles and potentially lead to physiological and chemical changes.