Healing Sore Muscles Post Workout: Best Practices
When waking up regularly with stiff, sore muscles, change is necessary. Many people try to roll out their muscles and realize that this just isn’t enough.
Muscles need time to breathe, rest, and relax. They also need the right fuel.
So whether someone is an athlete training for the next marathon event or a person who hits the gym daily, everyone needs to focus on post-workout recovery. Keep reading for our full guide to the best recovery practices!
Why the Recovery Stage of Working Out Is Important
Having built-in rest days in anyone’s exercise schedule is important. Common signs of overtraining include fatigue, inability to sleep, sore muscles, and possible injuries.
Having a regular post-workout routine not only helps the body heal, but it can also help improve athletic abilities. When someone is taking on a new athletic challenge, they are pushing their body and exposing it to new stress. That might include new weightlifting routines, endurance training, or HIIT exercises.
Putting the body under new stress can enhance athletic skills. But when the stress is done, the body needs time to adjust and rest to avoid sore muscles. It’s important to allow the body time to adapt to the new training, both physically and mentally.
To avoid injury, everyone should incorporate “off days” when the athlete gives themselves time to rest. That will give muscles time to breathe and repair, making them stronger. That will also decrease the amount of soreness the athlete is feeling.
But everyone needs to do more than rest to help the body heal. So what does a good post-workout routine look like?
Aim for Proper Hydration
Hydration supports every nutrient transfer and metabolic function in the body, making athletes more efficient. When people are sweating during a workout, they must focus on replacing those fluids.
If someone’s muscles become dehydrated, that person is far more likely to get injured. People can also get cramps and spasms that will prevent them from continuing to exercise. Drinking water after exercising also helps to regain energy.
The exact fluids lost during exercise will vary depending on the person, activity, and weather. A baseline recommendation by the American Council on Exercise is to drink 17 to 20 ounces of water a few hours before exercise.
While someone is working out, he or she should aim for 7 ounces every 10 minutes. Once the workout is finished, drink another 8 ounces. This will not only help to rehydrate the body during the workout, but it will ensure that the athlete is remaining hydrated post workout.
It’s also recommended to hydrate more throughout the day. If a person is working out on a regular basis, he or she is also losing water during the day and at night. So staying hydrated will prevent feelings of dizziness and it will help alleviate sore muscles.
Rest and Sleeping
Everyone likely already knows how much sleep can affect performance, not just while exercising, but during everyday life. Everyone has woken up exhausted and struggled to function at work and home.
Sleep and rest affect your mood, brain, lungs, ability to fight off disease and injury, and more. That is why getting extra sleep and rest after training has a huge impact on the speed at which the body can recover.
Getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night consistently is the best way to keep up with the body’s need to rest.
Have Protein before Sleep and When You Wake Up
While sleep is essential, it also isn’t enough to give anyone’s body the fuel it needs to continue training. By exercising and learning new physical activities, muscles are straining and tearing. Anyone’s body then needs to heal these muscles and work to repair the tears.
The protein eaten will help the body to heal. Eating a light protein snack at night will give anyone’s body fuel to repair while sleeping.
In a similar vein, breakfast that is high in protein continues to help muscles rebuild throughout the day. Having enough protein early can also help to prevent craving unhealthy foods later in the day.
For breakfast, try having eggs with vegetables or a protein shake before you head off to work. If you’d rather have a sweeter meal, you can add protein powder to food like yogurt.
Have a Post Workout Snack
Just as eating protein at night and in the morning is helpful, so is a post-workout snack. That is a heightened time for your body to be rebuilding the muscle tissue.
Keeping the body consistently fueled with protein and healthy foods can be difficult, and even expensive. But having a protein bar or protein-filled drink on hand is an easy way to make sure every athlete is getting the nutrients needed for recovery.
When finishing a workout, whether the athlete is with a team or training on their own, they are probably excited to relax. That might mean reaching for a cold beer or pouring a glass of wine. But alcohol after exercise can make it difficult for the body to rehydrate properly.
Alcohol not only makes you urinate more, which reduces the body’s ability to hydrate, it also can affect your muscle recovery. It’s important that the body can synthesize protein after a workout, and alcohol can interfere with that process.
Take Time to Stretch
Stretching after any type of workout is one of the fastest and easiest ways to help muscles. But when desperate to get out of the gym or head home after a run, it can also be something people frequently skip.
Since muscles become tight during exercise, it’s important to stretch them out after and help prevent injuries. It is also an important part of preventing muscle soreness. Stretching allows muscles to relax the tension from exercise and prevent muscles from knotting.
Rolling muscles out with a foam roller is another tip to incorporate into a stretching routine. It may not be a comfortable activity, but it will help prevent muscle imbalances and soreness.
Try Active Recovery
Moving from a strenuous workout to light exercises can help increase blood flow. It also helps muscles to move into relaxation and can help to break up the lactic acid.
Having a build-up of lactic acid and other waste products that form during exercise can prevent proper muscle recovery. Low-intensity exercises like yoga, walking, or even swimming can improve your circulation and promote the circulation of nutrients in your body.
Get a Massage
Massages not only feel amazing, but they give muscles a chance to loosen and breathe, which increases blood flow. That is another great way to remove the build-up of lactic acid.
Use a Post-Workout Supplement
Adding a post-workout supplement into a routine can help boost the body’s natural recovery. Supplements like TB-500 have been linked to faster recovery times for muscle tissue. It also plays a role in blood circulation and new cell migration.
TB-500 is a potent recovery agent, so it can sometimes also offer pain relief for sore muscles. Other than its ability to enhance muscle recovery, it also works for reducing inflammation. It has also been known to have healing effects on tendons, ligaments, and skin.
It can be used for general healing repair and muscle growth, but people can use additional supplements for things like low levels of magnesium, and more.
Supplements after Endurance Workouts
Since TB-500 can be used for general muscle repair, anyone may want to also add other supplements to a routine for specific uses. As mentioned above, magnesium is a common supplement for athletes who do frequent endurance workouts.
Without proper levels of magnesium, muscles are more likely to cramp and spasm. That will certainly not help an athlete to run a marathon or continue to challenge a workout routine.
Also, protein supplements can be key for rebuilding muscle tissue. We’ve already gone into the importance of protein for the body to heal and restore, but consider adding a supplement to the mix. It can help the body to recover faster and can be added to drinks taken at the gym.
Supplements for Strength Training
Weight lifting puts a different strain on muscles than endurance training. If someone isn’t able to recover properly from weight lifting, that person is exposing themselves to a high chance of injury.
Workouts like deadlifts, bench presses, and rows cause injuries like back sprains and strains. Severe injuries can also lead to surgery, which could affect an athlete for their lifetime. It’s essential that people are able to get the nutrients needed both before and after working out.
Creatine is often used as a supplement for weightlifters. If someone chooses creatine to build your muscles, be sure to keep a close eye on your servings. Taking about 3 to 5 grams can be enough to help muscles.
Other supplements like whey protein can also help recovery. Whey contains essential amino acids that help muscles to grow and rebuild.
Inflammation is a large reason why a person might be waking up feeling muscle soreness. It can also slow down recovery time, even when resting at night. Anti-inflammatory supplements are often taken by athletes to speed up muscle recovery.
While drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin can help with this process, there are also more natural supplements on the market. Turmeric supplements and willow bark are natural anti-inflammatories.
Anyone who works out and trains like an athlete should still expect some muscle soreness in the process of building bigger muscles. But adding supplements to the day can decrease the pain and time it takes to heal.
Get Extra Rest and Try a Daytime Nap
While supplements can help aid recovery, they need to be added into a routine, along with additional care for the body. If resting at night isn’t enough to reduce muscle soreness, try a daytime nap.
Napping can make a person more alert during the day and improve performance. By giving the body extra time to rest, an athlete can also help prevent accidents while training. When noticing performance levels decreasing throughout the week, it’s important to recognize that this is a sign. It likely means more rest is needed.
Take an Ice Bath
In many sports movies, athletes painfully drop their bodies into a huge tub of ice water. It’s an effective tactic. Ice baths make blood vessels constrict. The cool temperature then pushes blood away from muscles.
When an athlete finishes an ice bath, he or she should warm up, which makes the blood vessels open, allowing the blood to flow back. It gives muscles the chance to breathe and take in more oxygen, enhancing recovery.
If someone also wants to make every training session and hit new workout goals, going through the brief pain of an ice bath can be worth it. This process allows the body to return to peak performance mode faster and helps to improve overall athletic abilities.
Consider Compression Gear
There’s a reason why many professional athletes on TV are wearing popular compression brands under their uniforms. It might be someone’s answer to how to get rid of sore muscles since it works for many professionals.
Many athletes need to immediately restore strength and gain the energy to continue their sport. Compression clothing helps to decrease the time it takes for muscles to recover between intense bouts of exercise.
Compression gear can also be worn to help prevent rashes and chafing. They are form-fitting and can be worn for nearly any sports activity.
Creating a Solid Post-Workout Routine Helps Build Strong Muscles
Recovering from intense workouts is no easy task. It requires dedication and a post-workout routine that is meant to help restore muscles and give it the nutrients necessary to repair. Take the time to rest, stretch, hydrate, and more after hitting the gym.
By following the guide above, every athlete will have more energy in the day to crush workout goals and reduce the chances of injury.
For more information about workout supplements and other aids to keep people moving, keep reading our blog!