“The real workout starts when you want it to stop.” But the truth is, the real workout actually starts after your workout. No matter how hard you train and push yourself, without proper nutrition, maintenance, and care, you will never achieve your peak fitness potential, or it will take a lot longer for you to achieve those goals. Fitness progress and success requires a lot more than just adding another mile to your run or an extra rep to your weight set. When you workout, you are essentially breaking down your body by depleting your stored energy, muscles and other tissues. Without proper recovery, this can lead to muscle fatigue, inflammation, and ultimately, not achieving #gains, as they say. Here are some of our go-to ways to fully recover from a workout.
While you should ideally be drinking water prior to and throughout your workout to replenish lost fluids, hydrating post-workout is another good way to boost recovery. Water is key for nutrient transfer and metabolic functions, so always staying hydrated ensures that your body is working as efficiently as possible. Plus, dehydration is no bueno and can decrease performance and delay recovery. PSA: The recommended minimum amount of fluid intake per day is 2.7 Liters/day for women, and 3.7 Liters/day for men.
Foam rolling or self-myofascial release (the fancy name for foam rolling) is the application of pressure to eliminate scar-tissue and soft-tissue adhesion through breaking up and relaxing tight muscles. This deep compression releases trigger points (AKA "knots") and increases blood circulation, making us less "tight." Two to three sets of foam rolling for 30-60 seconds (per muscle) is effective at reducing pain and improving flexibility. A good roll pre-workout will boost range of motion and performance, and a post-workout roll is good for preventing soreness. While it sometimes feels less than pleasurable, the benefits of foam roll rolling make the gain worth the pain.
No, we’re not encouraging a post-spin class burger, but a nutrient-dense clean protein is a great way to optimize recovery. After a workout, it’s important to digest some protein and carbohydrates in order to replenish glycogen levels, restore energy and bump up insulin levels AKA make you feel energized even after a tough workout. Protein is also important for lean muscle mass maintenance and development. We’re big fans of nutrient-dense smoothies that include complete proteins. One of our new go-to plant-based brands is SANO. This organic-forward brand puts the environment first by caring not only for our health with their premium plant-based proteins, but also the earth through their innovative sustainable and recyclable packaging solutions. Not only do they taste pretty darn good, but they come in single-serve convenient packets that are perfect for when you’re on-the-go (and when you’re not). SANO tastes great on its own (you can mix it with water or a non-dairy milk), but definitely check out their website for some smoothie recipes and more mouth-watering plant protein infused snacks like protein energy bites!
Compression garments (such as compression socks or arm sleeves) are extremely tight-fitting pieces of clothing designed to help tired and sore muscles recover. Because of gravity, feet and leg muscles often swell after a workout due to poor circulation. Muscle swelling causes pain, but by wearing tight garments like compression socks can help reduce swelling and muscle soreness, improve circulation, and minimize the feeling of lactic acid build up. Compression socks are also a game-changer for long flights and help reduce the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis).
If you want to get a little bit more experimental with your recovery, consider trying out cryotherapy! Cryotherapy is a treatment during which the body is exposed to freezing temperatures (colder than -200F) for 2-4 minutes. Boasting benefits like increased performance, improved circulation, pain management, and faster recovery time, cryo has become increasingly popular among athletes and workout fanatics. Check out this post on our experience at Icebox Cryotherapy in Atlanta, GA!