I love that post-workout ache. Don’t you? It makes me feel like I worked hard. If you can feel it, it’s working right? But sometimes it can prevent you from working out for a while if you overdo it on the exercise. Then you lose your momentum which in turn kills your motivation. So it’s great if you know how to avoid, or at least ease, that post-gym ache. This is especially helpful if you are starting a new routine and on a bit of a health kick this New Year. I thought I would share a few of my favourite muscle recovery tips tips to avoid excessive aching, so that you’re ready for your next session.
Here are my favourite muscle recovery tips:
- Get Moving. It can be so tempting to just smash a workout once and then lie on the sofa for a few days until you can walk (or squat on the loo!) again properly. It seems a bit silly to say but going for a walk or a quick jog often loosens up my muscles and makes me feel better almost immediately.
- BCAAs. I never used to have a clue what these things were, but a year ago I was sent some to review by Cardiff Sports Nutrition and the more I read about them, the more I realised that they are vital to my workout recovery plan. I now use BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids) during and after every workout. What are they? They are usually in powder form, which you add to water and come in a variety of flavours. (My current fave is watermelon.) They often just taste like a simple fruit squash and you can water them down if you don’t like a strong flavour to your water when working out. How do they work? Well essentially, BCAAs aid muscle recovery and prevent muscle damage and soreness. They also slow down muscle fatigue during workouts meaning it’s worth starting to sip on them during your workouts dot the full effect. This post on BreakingMuscle.com helps to explain the science bit behind this.
- Hydrate. Staying hydrated will make sure your body is functioning at its best at all times, so be sure to get your 2 litres a day – more if you do heavy cardio. I try to aim for 3 litres a day but in the winter, I don’t always hit that.
- Protein. Feed your muscles after you workout to ensure they grow in the way you want them to. I’m in no way an expert on protein but what I do always try to do is have a protein shake or eat a high protein meal within 30mins of working out in order to feed my muscles and my body. Because I try to avoid dairy, I am currently testing out different pea and vegan proteins. My current fave is MissFits Nutrition vanilla but I have run out so I need to get some more soon!
- Stretch. I do a lot of yoga which I believe really helps me a lot with flexibility and strength, but I also find it very important to stretch properly after every workout, because you really need to stretch out every muscle that you have worked. Stretching before a workout also helps your muscles warm up, which prevents injury and stops you getting stiff. I’m guilty of occasionally skipping this, but take the time, it’s worth it.
- Foam Rolling. It hurts like a b****, but it’s worth it so do it. I recently saw this video on Whitney Simmons’ Youtube channel and I love the tips she includes. Take a look and then take them on board.
How do you combat muscle soreness? Do you have any more muscle recovery tips for me? Let me know in the comments below!