To maintain long term muscle energy and strength, the body needs a recovery time. It really does not matter if you're an everyday fitness buff or just the average weekend warrior, the body needs time to recover to avoid weakness and the probability for injuries caused by damage to the muscles.
Here are some quick tips to remember:
Stay hydrated: As we talked about in the water section, the importance of staying hydrated (especially in this situation) cannot be underestimated. While working out, the body will begin to sweat. This in turn will cool your body down but your cells still need fluids to function properly.
A good rule of thumb is 20-24 ounces of water after the session but also remember that drinking water during the workout is equally important. Also to note, when you sweat, you are not just sweating out water but electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. This helps the cells retain their fluids.
I am a vast supporter of drinking water and only water during and after a workout. I do not buy into sports drinks even though they make up for lost electrolytes but are also loaded with refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and lots of other hazardous ingredients to your health.
Refuel the body: After a workout, your body will be drained of glycogen. What is glycogen? Essentially its sugar that's stored in your muscles. Your body must now replace these lost energy stores in order to function throughout your day and to get ready for your next workout. Immediately after exercise, your muscles are going to synthesize glycogen a lot more quickly. So it is vital to consume a well balanced snack or meal within 30 minutes of completing a workout.
So what is recommended to eat after a workout? Carbohydrates such as organic fruit or organic fruit juice-remember, nothing artificially processed and no sweeteners. In short, no energy drinks or energy bars. Your body breaks these types of carbohydrates down easily and converts them into energy. Adding in proteins is important as well because protein helps replenish overused muscles and helps with glycogen uptake.
Good meals include: Whole wheat sandwich with turkey, coconut milk based smoothie with flax seed, or avocado sandwich with turkey bacon.
· Carbohydrates: 50-100 grams
· Protein: 10-20 grams
· Sodium: 500 mg (To help with hydration)
Rest: In addition to draining energy stores, exercise tears muscle fibers, which can lead to pain, swelling, and some stiffness. This is ok after a workout because stressing your muscles to the limit will overall improve fitness. This is the time for some moist heat, whether in the form of a hot bath, Jacuzzi, sauna or heating pad.
But most of all, adequate sleep is crucial to help you replenish the body. 7-8 hours is highly recommended every night because it is during this time that the release of growth hormone occurs that will help trigger muscle growth and recovery. If you have issues with a bed or pillow that is preventing you from getting proper rest, it may be time to plunk down some green to get the right one.
Massage: If you have a hard time getting undressed and having someone touch you, get over it! Massage not only feels great but it helps the fatigued body by boosting circulation, flushing lactic acids out of the muscles and promoting nutrient flow. Studies have shown that massage helps in decreasing swelling after an injury and keeps the tissues pliable and strong.
For any questions on massage and types of massage, talk to our therapist Amy.
Finally, I will now recommend some supplements that I find are extremely useful in overcoming any muscle injuries due to your workout:
· Coenzyme Q10: great antioxidant that can help get rid of free radicals
· Glutamine: an amino acid that aids in muscle repair
· Magnesium: a key nutrient that is lost through sweating; also helps prevent soreness and cramping.
· Vitamin C: reduces soreness and increases muscle function.
As always, I am available for any questions or advice that you may have on this subject or anything else related to your workout routine.