While your fitness goals and training might take over your thinking, paying attention for getting adequate rest and adhering to recovery techniques is as important as your workout itself.
Learn why recovery is needed, and some of the well-proven ways to speed up recovery.
Why is recovery important?
Preventing recovery from training won’t give the chance for your muscle tissues to rebuild and grow, or even worse; will cause your hard-earned muscles to break down; consequently decreasing your performance capacity, slowing down or preventing seeing positive results from your training, and eventually leading to overtraining syndrome.
Overtraining is a condition in which your body goes in catabolic state (break down of body tissues and cells) and cannot produce the necessary chemicals for anabolism (tissue growth and repair).
Signs of overtraining
Once you start feeling the sings of overtraining; you you’re most probably late and have gone far with both your training intensity and frequency; that’s why prevention should be your choice. Despite that, it is important to acknowledge signs of overtraining so you would take the necessary procedure if they happen.
- Chronic fatigue and tiredness
- Loss of body weight, especially muscles
- Increased frequency of illness and infections
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Psychological sluggishness
You can avoid going through overtraining by adhering to sensible and periodized workout plan, with proper distribution of training days, learn the basics of planning a personal workout program.
12 Ways to speed up training recovery
It is important to note that there is no one golden way for speeding up recovery, all of the next means work synergistically together to maximize results, my advice is to take what works best for you, and apply as many as possible.
1- Get enough sleep. Make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep at night, and if possible, get a 20-30 minutes nap during the day, sleep is crucial for doing all the maintenance necessary for growth.
2- Take casein supplements. Casein (protein derived from milk) is considered an ideal anti-catabolism to take at bed time, because it release slowly from stomach after digestion, providing continuous protein supply for muscle tissue during sleep.
3- Take aspirin (Only after consulting your doctor). Aspirin has been shown to improve blood flow, reduce swilling and inflammation, help flush lactic acid from tissues faster and reduce edema.
4- Elevate your legs for some time. Especially if you have a job that requires long hours of standing before going to your training session. This will help reduce edema which is considered to be the enemy of tissue recovery.
5- Move between sets. A common mistake done by trainees is sitting down and holding still between sets to do there “rest time”, but moving on the other hand, has been shown to aid circulation and reduce tissue swilling.
6- Rest between sets. This is not contradiction of the previous point, taking rest between sets is crucial for muscle recovery. One of the common ways to evaluate how much to rest is to wait until heart rate falls below 60% of maximum HR, but not complete rest as you see.
7- Have “light day”. Incorporate a light training day every couple of high intensity training days, this will help reduce muscle sourness and flush waste products from tissues.
8- Take contrast shower. Alternating between hot and cold water on your trunk or extremities will improve circulation of blood.
9- Get a massage and stretch out. Massaging and stretching muscles help in improving blood supply, and hence delivering more nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to that tissue.
10- Use cryokinetics. Or ice in zip-lock bag and apply it on your lumber spine or targeted muscles to reduce possible inflammation and swilling after exercises.
11- Hydrate, Hydrate and Hydrate! Before, during and after workout, water is the primary constitutes and medium for all body functions, any depletion in water will slow nutrient and oxygen delivery to tissues in need.
12- Consume protein rich foods after workout. Protein is the primary building block for muscle tissue, make sure to give your muscles what they need for growth and remodeling, concentrate on foods of high quality sources. Find some ideas in here.