Our activities following a workout are a vital aspect of yielding the very best results, whether we want to gain muscle or lose weight.
But there are other benefits too. Immediately after, it is common to experience sore muscles. This is often unavoidable – and we have provided advice on this is the past. But there are further things that can be done to not only reduce muscle soreness, gain muscle and fat loss, but also help you to maintain optimum energy levels as you restore your vitality, making it easier to stick to your fitness plan.
Hydrate and Eat a Healthy Snack
Rehydration is essential, especially after breaking a sweat. Replenishing your fluid levels improves muscle flexibility, builds strength, and prevents muscle soreness. But it is important to choose the right drink. Sugary or alcoholic drinks, as well as those that are high in caffeine, actually cause dehydration.
It is recommended that we drink at least 500 mL of water, or a range of health drinks. These include coconut water, green or black tea, and chocolate milk, or even a low-sugar sports drink. These drinks contain electrolytes – such as potassium and sodium – and can prevent muscle cramping.
We should also plan to eat a healthy snack or meal within 45 minutes of our workouts as it helps restore muscle energy and begin the recovery process.
As we have discussed before, foods that contain carbohydrates and protein are best for this; carbs help to restore glycogen levels so you can recharge your energy levels, whereas protein aids in muscle recovery and provides amino acids that help to repair and rebuild muscles.
Light Exercise and a Cool Down
Of course we need time to recover after an intense workout, but we can still do light exercise on recovery days. Nothing too taxing, but we should always stay active. Try walking, swimming, or yoga. This helps to prevent lactic acid build-up, remove toxins, and boost circulation. Varying your workouts can also help you target different muscle groups and use your muscles in different ways.
And, of course, always cool down. It allows your heart rate to gradually return to its normal rate, and stops blood grouping in the lower extremities which is when we get lightheaded or dizzy.
A proper cooldown can also help to relieve stress, prevent muscle soreness, and prevent injury. Consider wrapping it up with a short, five minute yoga session for overall wellbeing.