How to recover from a tough workout. Six tips for maximizing your post-workout recovery to achieve the best results.
Alright, so you just finished a killer workout. I’m talking about a shaky muscle, flushed cheeks, heart-rate-still-elevated-even-after-you’ve-finished workout. Now what?
While killing it during your workout is essential for improving your fitness level, the real magic happens during rest and recovery. It is during the recovery period your muscles heal from your workout, making them stronger and ready to power your movement. If you’re looking to maximize your workout, here are six tips to help you recover.
Make sure you are properly fueling your body.
After completing your workout, it is important to refuel your body to aid in recovery. Many of us are familiar with the common idea of immediately following your workout with a protein shake. While that can be a good option depending on the intensity of your workout, the ingredients in your shake, and how much time you have, I don’t think chugging a protein shake is a one-size-fits-all approach that works for everyone. Ultimately, it is helpful to consume a serving of clean protein and carbohydrate in your next meal after your workout. But before reaching for a shake that is full of artificial ingredients and sugar, aim to consume as many whole, simple ingredients as possible. If you are short on time and can’t make a full meal, a smoothie packed with wholesome ingredients can be a good option.
De-stress with magnesium.
Exercise, especially high-intensity exercise, intentionally places stress on your body. While this is beneficial stress, calming your body down is still important for recovery. In addition to doing my favorite relaxing rituals (reading, journaling, diffusing lavender essential oils, etc.) I like supplementing with magnesium to help my body de-stress. Magnesium helps your relax your muscles and supports healthy blood flow – both of which are really helpful if you’re experiencing post-workout soreness. I love drinking Natural Calm before bed a few days a week to promote healthy magnesium levels (source).
Prioritize flexibility training.
Although it is often overlooked, flexibility training is an essential part of any successful fitness routine. The more flexible a muscle is, the greater strength potential it has. Stretching and foam rolling your muscles can help relieve tension and can help you achieve a greater range of motion to aid recovery and prevent injury. Aim to incorporate flexibility training (stretching, foam rolling or even yoga) into your routine at least two to three times per week.
Get a good night’s sleep.
By now, we all know how important quality sleep is for our overall health. But it bears repeating. Not only does your body repair tired muscles during sleep, but your motivation to continue exercising and make healthy choices significantly increases when you are well-rested. Get off Instagram and hit the sack!
While it is important to stay hydrated all the time, you want to pay special attention to replacing any fluids (i.e. sweat) you lost during your workout. Dehydration can lead to fatigue and can hinder performance during your workouts. Aim to drink at least half your bodyweight in ounces of water each day as a baseline. In addition, aim to drink seven to 10 ounces of fluid every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise to stay hydrated during your sweat sessions (source).
Last, but certainly not least, take account of how you feel. Do you feel strong? Wobbly? Out of breath? Reflect on how you feel post-workout, and thank your body for carrying you through. Chances are, you pushed yourself beyond what was comfortable for you, and that is something to be celebrated! Never forget to thank your body for all it does for you. Maintaining an attitude of gratitude towards your body for what it does for you is key to staying motivated to move and take care of yourself.
- How do you recover from tough workouts?
This post is in collaboration with Natural Vitality, makers of Natural Calm. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you so much for supporting brands that keep The Balanced Berry going <3.