The Crucial Elements of Recovery
Recovery is arguably the most important part of a workout plan. It’s where growth occurs, as muscles rebuild themselves and adapt and strengthen for the next workout. Without recovery, muscles can be overworked and you may not see the results you want. In order to make the most of recovery, however, there are several crucial components to include. Without these components, you are leaving benefits on the table and not taking full advantage of your time off.
Without the proper macro- and micro-nutrients, muscles can’t recover properly. Arguably the most well-known of these is protein, but healthy carbs and fats, the other two sides of the macro-nutrient triad, are critical as well. They help keep other body processes running smoothly, give you energy, and play their own part in rebuilding muscle. However, including micro-nutrients such as branch-chain amino acids and magnesium can help your body synthesize proteins better, and can help to faster and more efficient muscle growth and repair.
Sleep is where your body does its recovering, so it follows that you want to get enough of it when you’re on a recovery period. While the amount of sleep each person needs varies, you probably require in the realm of 7-8 hours to feel rested and give your body time to rebuild muscle. While it may be difficult, strive to get a full night’s rest in order to recover from strenuous exercise.
It’s critical that you drink enough water throughout the day, as water has an effect on every single body process. This of course does not exclude muscular recovery, so getting enough water on recovery day is vital. It also helps rid your body of toxins and waste products that come from exercise, which can help you feel less sore.
- Stretching and Active Recovery
While you should stretch every day to keep your muscles and joints loose, it’s especially important to stretch out on recovery days. While you may be tempted to just sit all day, getting up and moving around can actually help you feel less pain and keep your muscles moving. It’s not critical that you keep movement to a minimum on recovery days, and indeed, getting some light exercise or stretching in can rid your body of the lactic acid that can inhibit muscle growth. Keep it light like walking, jogging, or maybe some body-weight exercises to make sure you’re not damaging your muscles further.
While there are plenty of ways to help your body recover, these are four of the simplest and most crucial parts of a successful recovery day. On your next scheduled off-day from the gym, make sure you hit these four elements to keep your body at max efficiency and help you get to your fitness goals.